“Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling, and Guns: The Synergistic Constitutional Effects” [David Kopel (Independence Institute/Denver U.) and Trevor Burrus (Cato), Albany Government Law Review/SSRN]
I’ve got a guest column up at the widely read PowerLine blog, my first there, countering misleading criticisms of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in the Washington Post and elsewhere. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is trying to rally efforts to gut or repeal PLCAA in line with the critics’ charges, but his efforts have picked up little traction thus far.
P.S. Thanks to Eugene Volokh for the link and kind words (“I generally quite agree with it, except that the title (‘six myths about the law that bans gun lawsuits’ is imprecise — the law bans many lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers, but by no means all,” citing the law’s sec. 4(5)(A).)
What could be more perfect than the tale of the Maryland 7 year old suspended from school for nibbling his breakfast pastry into the form of a gun? This: the school is now offering counseling to any students traumatized by the incident. [Lowering the Bar]
“Liability insurance” may be a misnomer, since some of the proposals would require the purchase of bonds against both intentional acts commonly excluded from ordinary liability coverage, and also misadventures for which owners would not presently be held legally responsible (such as third party criminal use of a gun following a theft not occasioned by owner negligence.) [Reuters, Nelson Lund/GMU, Jessica Chasmar/Washington Times, New York Times via Fed Soc, Taranto/WSJ, Josh Blackman]
Would a mandatory insurance scheme survive judicial scrutiny if it were motivated by a desire to burden the exercise of a constitutional right? David Rifkin and Andrew Grossman, WSJ:
Several states… are considering gun-insurance mandates modeled after those for automobile insurance. There is no conceivable public-safety benefit: Insurance policies cover accidents, not intentional crimes, and criminals with illegal guns will just evade the requirement. The real purpose is to make guns less affordable for law-abiding citizens and thereby reduce private gun ownership. Identical constitutionally suspect logic explains proposals to tax the sale of bullets at excessive rates.
The courts, however, are no more likely to allow government to undermine the Second Amendment than to undermine the First. A state cannot circumvent the right to a free press by requiring that an unfriendly newspaper carry millions in libel insurance or pay a thousand-dollar tax on barrels of ink—the real motive, in either case, would be transparent and the regulation struck down. How could the result be any different for the right to keep and bear arms?
(& slightly expanded/adapted version at Cato; The Hill “Blog Briefing Room”)
P.S. The American Insurance Association is opposed to the more ambitious versions of the idea, at least: “Property and casualty insurance does not and cannot cover gun crimes.”
From Cato Institute chairman Robert Levy, who was co-counsel in the landmark D.C. v. Heller case. [National Law Journal] More: Trevor Burrus, The Blaze. And the New York Times takes up the topic of guns and suicide, but with some pretty big omissions [Tom Maguire, Ira Stoll/SmarterTimes]
Further: “Senate Judiciary Committee Hears from Cato on Gun Policy” [Ilya Shapiro, citing contributions by David Kopel, Randy Barnett, etc.] And while Bing’s real-time reaction tracker isn’t a scientific voter survey (though the sample size is large, and there’s a partisan breakdown) it seems I was not alone in being put off by President Obama’s demagogic “they deserve a vote” State of the Union wind-up on gun control. [Mediaite]
Maybe it’s not just as simple as passing a new law. [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
…but Mayor Bloomberg of New York, one of the nation’s most famously anti-gun politicos, has a dispensation for armed bodyguards from his own NYPD. [NY Times via Instapundit]
“The agenda includes mostly measures that will have little or no effect on the problems they are supposed to address. They are Potemkin remedies—presentable facades with empty space behind them. … The assault weapons ban was irrelevant to fighting crime before, which is no reason it can’t be irrelevant again.” [Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune/syndicated] The Washington Post interviews Bob Levy, chairman of the Cato Institute and a key mover of the Heller v. D.C. individual-rights litigation, on what types of gun controls he sees as consistent with the Second Amendment as explicated in Heller. And don’t assume the gun debate breaks down along lines of urban vs. rural, liberal vs. conservative, or individualist vs. communitarian; it often doesn’t [David Kopel, NYT "Room for Debate"]
More from Cato: Tim Lynch on what happened to gun crime in D.C. after Heller, and on the civil rights history of “Deacons for Defense”; Trevor Burrus on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s move to toughen the state’s already widely evaded gun laws; video with Tim Lynch and Caleb Brown on the Obama gun agenda. And from Damon Root, commenting on an Akhil Amar article, some surprising (and at times Cato-mediated) connections between gun rights and gay rights [Reason]
“…Video game consumption is not correlated with gun violence” [Maggie Koerth-Baker, BoingBoing]
Also: on which same general subject, a helpful reminder that Ralph Nader is still an idiot [Erik Kain, Forbes; Gamespot]