What do computers, books, toy guns, Sudafed, and lawn darts have in common? According to anti-gun politicians and pundits, they’re all more heavily regulated and difficult to obtain in the United States than a firearm.
False comparisons between firearms and other consumer products are debunked every time they’re made, but facts and common sense didn’t stop Spartacus from leading a #socialjustice rebellion, and it’s not going to stop Cory Booker, either!
The Democratic presidential hopeful and sitting U.S. Senator has stated repeatedly that toy guns are more heavily regulated in the United States than real guns. Spartacus, Jr., made the same claim in his 15-point gun-control policy platform last week, but today the Washington Post’s fact-checkers rated his statements as “mostly false.”
The Washington (com)Post hasn’t been a friend to gun owners, but this time they nailed it.
“The Consumer Product Safety Commission does not regulate guns, but it does regulate toy guns. That does not mean there are ‘more regulations’ of toy guns than real ones,” the Post concluded. “Firearms, at just about every level, are highly regulated in the United States. Booker is calling for another level of regulation, but he can’t suggest toy guns are even more highly regulated.”
SEE ALSO: Cory Booker Wants Nationalized Gun Licensing, One-Gun-a-Month, Universal Background Checks
Booker’s argument rests on the fact that the Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t ensure that guns are made using “safe” designs. In that sense, he’s right: unlike they do with toasters, bureaucrats in Washington don’t review every Remington bolt-action rifle to ensure it won’t burn down your house.
But the senator’s proposal is what you might call a solution in search of a problem.
“My sense is, this is something that is not a material factor in the gun debate,” Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA, told the Post. “Certain products are unsafe because of design. Others can be unsafe from misuse.”
Guns manufacturers aren’t reinventing the wheel. Even the newest firearm designs have been around for decades, and many of these designs have undergone extensive military testing. We don’t need federal regulators to review Mossberg shotguns to ensure they won’t spontaneously combust.
What’s more, gunmakers are still subject to lawsuits if their products are defective. Contrary to what anti-gun politicians would have you believe, firearms manufacturers are not exempt from being held accountable for bringing a defective product to market. The Post notes, for example, that Remington in 2018 settled a lawsuit from owners who claimed that a defective trigger mechanism allowed the gun to be fired without the trigger being pulled.
The truth is, firearms are one of the most heavily regulated products in the United States.
“No other industry is regulated at the federal, state and local level to the extent our industry is regulated, which include design and performance standards,” Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the Post. “The federal agencies that regulate the industry include ATF, FBI, State Department, Commerce Department, IRS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
Calling for consumer oversight of firearms isn’t about protecting Americans. It’s about regulating firearms out of existence. As this 1999 New York Times article pointed out, “Any rational regulator with that authority would ban handguns.” Regulators could also, as they did in California, require manufacturers to include “safety” features that don’t actually exist, like microstamping and “smart guns.”
Toy guns aren’t more heavily regulated than firearms, but if Booker gets his way, firearms won’t need any regulation because they won’t exist in the consumer marketplace.