Thursday, June 29, 2006

You have to hand it to them.

By them, I mean the NRA. I disagree with many of their positions on gun ownership and what the government can do to regulate it (even though I seem to recall that the Second Amendment states something about a "well regulated militia" being part of the right to bear arms). But they have managed to sneak in another win.

Some may remember that the gun industry was recently immunized from lawsuits by a statue called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The law has two major components. The first is
To prohibit causes of action against manufacturers,
distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or ammunition
products, and their trade associations, for the harm solely
caused by the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearm products
or ammunition products by others when the product functioned
as designed and intended.
The second was to ensure that all handguns sold be provided with a safety lock.

Apparently, this child lock was onerous to an industry, which is now immune from lawsuits to an extent few if any industries have ever been in this country, that the gun lobby just had to overturn it.

Apparently, they have passed the first hurdle to ending this abomination against lawful gun owners everywhere. Today, the House of Representatives passed a spending bill with an amendment deleting the safety lock provisions of the act.

The argument made by one of the bill's sponsors, Marilyn Musgrave, is that the gun locks do not stop accidental shootings. According to the CDC, there were 3,894 deaths between 1999 and 2003 which were caused by accidental shootings. Of those who died during that period, 787 were children. Opposing viewpoints can be found here (very simple site, but I have to say I like his reasoning) and here.

According to the bill's sponsor's arguments, gun owners are having to pay too high a price for not enough return. So what is the cost of a child safety lock? According to, a Washington State campaign to encourage the use of safety locks, the cost can range from $5 to $35 for a trigger lock or $40 to $400 for lock box. Apparently this is more expensive than the life of a person. Or as one study found, 52 people who would have survived had there been a safety lock on the weapon. So good of the Gun Lobby to look out for our pocket books that way.

Incidentally, I was unable to find out how much it costs the unintentional shootings is to the tax payer. According the Journal of the American Medical Association, the cost per admission of a gunshot wound was $17,000. When they looked at lifetime costs associated with the gunshot injuries, they found that more the costs rose to more than 2 billion dollars. Of the more than 2 billion dollars, 49% of that was paid for by the public. Thanks NRA and Congresswoman Musgrave for watching out for someone's pocketbook.

(Hat tip to Greedy Trial Lawyer.)

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