View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Monday, July 21, 2003

NAACP Gun Lawsuit

The NAACP has lost its lawsuit against the gun manufacturers, thank goodness. The judge's decision, as reported by the AP, is a little peculiar. The judge agrees that black suffered more from handgun violence, but that that suffering wasn't different in kind from that suffered by others. There's a princple called "disparate impact," meaning that race-neutral policies can have a greater effect on one race (blacks) than another (anyone else). The judge didn't rely on that, and it sounds like the plaintiffs didn't, either.

At the same time, the judge said that the gun manufacturers, while not criminally negligent, were "careless," what ever that means. He suggested that they might require retailers to limit sales to one buyer. There are about 14 things wrong with this, beginning with the growing legislative move to limit purchases to 1 a month. I can always go to another dealer. How can a manufacturer limit sales by secondary retailers? Illegal guns aren't bought at stores, they're bought on the street. Thank goodness this suit was dismissed, but I'm afraid that there's enough leeway for an appellate court, possibly a State Supreme Court, to make mischief.

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