No idea how this will play out, but it's an approach I've thought about for years. Gun violence is considered by many to be a public health issue; cigarette companies are constrained in how and to whom they advertise. Should gun manufacturers be exempt? What constitutes an incitement to violence? What are a manufacturer's responsibilities vis a vis recommended use of a product, either explicit or implied?

No interest in rehashing the pro v con gun debate, but the broader legal questions raised by this approach are pretty interesting.


This bothers me, although we should be careful not to overstate the legal implications.

As for the idea itself, I don't really get it. I mean, are we going to say that a company that makes rat poison can only go so far when it talks about how deadly it is? In the case of firearms specifically, what exactly is the line for advertising? Are we going to blame a car manufacturer that runs an ad about how its car is really fast if some teenager wrecks because they were speeding? Wouldn't that be the kind of advertising that "resonated with disturbed young men who could be induced" to drive irresponsibly?

But more generally, I think it's wrong to try to blame the companies for what Adam Lanza did. To me it's scapegoating, and it trivializes his decisions and the failure of those around him to do anything. Blaming the companies lets us feel like we're doing something without looking much deeper at our society than we're apparently willing to.

posted by ghostoffuffle: 213 days ago