So as I start putting down some thoughts on the Supreme Court when I read an oped in LA Times that reminds me of how stupendously different a world their Editorial Board lives in from the one I occupy.
Dean Esmay Kevin D links to the column – which proposes a kind of ‘cap and trade’ be applied to gun deaths, with the gun manufacturers held responsible for the deaths.
In other words, rather than telling gun makers what to do, performance-based regulation would tell them what outcome they must achieve: Reduce deaths by guns. Companies that achieve the target outcomes might receive large financial bonuses; companies that don’t would face severe financial penalties. Put simply, gun makers — whose products kill even when used as directed — would have to take responsibility for curbing the consequent public health toll.
I’ll ignore for a moment the interesting notion that artifacts – rather than those who wield them – are responsible for what is done with them, I’ll suggest that my response as a gun manufacturer would be simple: if you want to solve the problem of crime with guns, arm those who aren’t criminals.
So, let’s embrace their proposal. Let’s hand over gun regulation to the folks from Colt, Springfield Arms – but why limit it to the manufacturers – let’s take all the industry and turn the problem over to them. The management of Gunsite and folks like Massad Ayoob can sit down with the gun manufacturers can devise the new policies and programs around firearms regulation. Mandatory firearms training. Must-carry laws. Castle doctrines widely applied. Re-activation of the Civilian Marksmanship Program in schools.
Let’s give them a decade or two to see how the policies work – after all we’ve let folks like Jeffrey Fagan and Stephen Sugarman set the policies for the last 40 years. Fagan testified against the death penalty to the New York Legislature, and also opposed life without parole for juvenile murderers. Sugarman is a Boalt law professor who believes in applying performance-based regulation to, among other things, salt in prepared food and to fast food with the intent of managing childhood obesity.
No, I don’t seriously envision turning over firearms regulation to the NRA. But it’s honestly just as sensible as the proposal in the Times. More so, possibly.
I’m chuckling just thinking of the look on the Times Editorial staff as the new regulations are announced.