Colorado Democrats introduced a sweeping package of gun laws Tuesday that would hold manufacturers of “assault-style weapons” responsible for any damage caused by the weapon.
Democratic leaders touted the legislative goals as a “comprehensive” package of gun bills. They made the announcement at a completely unoriginal news conference where they were flanked by survivors of shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Columbine High and Sandy Hook Elementary.
“We are taking a measured approach that respects the rights of hunters and sportsmen,” said House Speaker Mark Ferrandino. “The legislation we introduce today will not bring all gun violence in Colorado to a halt, but it will reduce gun violence.”
One Democrat criticized the bill, calling it “extreme.”
“To me, that [liability proposal] appears to be very overreaching,” Sen. Cheri Jahn said. “I think that could be on the extreme side.”
Republicans, not surprisingly, blasted the package, calling it a de facto ban on semiautomatic rifles.
“It bans the legal sale of semiautomatic guns in Colorado,” said state Sen. Greg Brophy. “It’s the most extreme anti-gun measure I think we’ve seen. … This is the equivalent of holding Coors, the distributor and the 7-Eleven from which the 12-pack of beer was stolen responsible for the drunk-driving accident.”
Among placing liability on manufacturers, the proposal would ban magazines with more than 10 rounds, limit people with protection orders or domestic violence convictions from buying weapons, impose fees for gun background checks, require in-person training for concealed weapons licenses, require universal background checks on all gun sales, and ban concealed weapons on college campuses.
But of course, the most controversial provision of all would be to place blame on the manufacturer of a weapon by no fault of its own for the misuse by a purchaser. Forget suing McDonald’s for making people fat or tobacco companies for killing people. This bill would be the equivalent of suing Office Max because some whack job decided to kill someone using one of their box cutters. Or suing Ford because a scorned lover decided to run over her cheating ex. Not to mention the thousands of deaths per year for huffing perfectly legal keyboard duster. Better yet, let’s sue all liquor companies for deaths due to over-consumption of their products.
If a maniac is going to be a maniac, he’s going to use whatever device he can find to cause destruction. Manufacturers can in no way foresee if their product is going to inflict harm, nor should they have to. This isn’t just an attack on rights, it’s an attack on business.