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Run for Cover! Debate Is Going Great Guns

April 01, 1999|ART BUCHWALD

My big decision this week is whether to sue the gun manufacturers. For the first time in history, the courts have decreed that guns are a dangerous product, and if you get hit by a bullet, you can sue the maker of the gun.

Like the tobacco victims, people are suing with the argument that people don't kill people, guns kill people.

This is a hard pill for the manufacturers and importers to swallow. For years the party line of the gun lovers has been that guns kill only squirrels, rabbits and soup cans.

Now the states and cities are maintaining that guns are costing millions of dollars in hospital fees and other destruction.

The gun lobby has gone into high gear, trying to avoid a financial debacle such as the one afflicting the cigarette producers.

Charlton Moses, president of Guns-R-Us, is sounding the alarm.

"The founding fathers, when they wrote the 2nd Amendment, never intended for anyone to go to court over the damage small arms could do to another person."

I asked him, "Isn't it possible that if you pump another person full of lead, the manufacturer could have some responsibility?"

"It's ridiculous. We assume that anyone who buys a gun will want it for target practice. Our other goal is to provide a way for a lead pellet to stop someone from breaking into your home. If we thought that guns would endanger people, do you think we'd make them?"

It was a good question. "How do you intend to prevent every state from passing a law that the citizens can ask for damages if they get hurt by a gun?"

"We'll fight the anti-gun politicians in the streets and in the air and at the polls. If that doesn't work, we will follow Shakespeare's advice--and first kill all the lawyers."

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