Saturday, March 24, 2018

Anti-NRA protests. And it's time to lower the voting age to 16.

It's great to see so many young people coming out on Saturday to protest gun proliferation and the NRA, which is the main lobby group promoting it. Maybe 50 years ago, the NRA was more of a gun safety and hobbyist group. But it's long since become a firearms industry lobby in the form of a fanatical rightwing group that uses apocalyptic death-cult rhetoric to promote unlimited small-arms proliferation.

This Bloomberg Businessweek articles focuses on a problem that is rarely mentioned in the gun proliferation debate, the pitifully defective laws on basic product safety for handguns, Michael Smith and Polly Mosenoz, How Defective Guns Became the Only Product That Can’t Be Recalled 02/28/2018 (print version: "The Most Dangerous Gun" 03/05/2018 issue) It's about the Taurus handgun, manufactured in Brazil, which relatively inexpensive at retail prices in the US. A sidebar notes, "The Taurus 85 is the top-selling revolver in the U.S., according to Gun Genius."

The article talks about safety issues that have arisen with Taurus guns which caused the safeties on the pistols to fail, resulting in death and injury.
“I couldn’t believe that no one had warned us that those guns were bad,” Bud says. “Why didn’t Taurus warn us? Why did the government let them sell those guns?”

The simple answer is that no government entity has the power to police defective firearms or ammunition in America - or even force gunmakers to warn consumers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission can order the recall and repair of thousands of things, from toasters to teddy bears. If a defective car needs fixing, the U.S. Department of Transportation can make it happen. The Food and Drug Administration deals with food, drugs, and cosmetics. Only one product is beyond the government’s reach when it comes to defects and safety: firearms. Not even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can get defective guns off the market. If a gunmaker chooses to ignore a safety concern, there’s no one to stop it.

To understand how firearms makers escaped government oversight of the safety of their pistols, revolvers, and rifles, you need to go back to 1972, when Congress created the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Four years earlier, President Lyndon B. Johnson had signed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, which regulated several aspects of firearm sales, and advocates of gun control hoped to give this new agency oversight of defective weapons. Representative John Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan and a hunter with an A-plus rating from the ascendant NRA, blocked them. In 1975 he did it again, when a colleague introduced a bill making a second run at giving the CPSC firearms authority. “We put in there an express prohibition against them getting their nose into the business of regulating firearms and ammunition,” Dingell said in debate in Congress. That second bill was crushed, 339-80, and the issue has never been seriously considered again. [my emphasis]
So it seems that even n 1938, the NRA's actual commitment to gun safety was questionable!

Smith and Moseno also report:
In 2013, Taurus stopped selling the nine gun models alleged to be defective in the U.S.: the PT-111 Millennium, PT-132 Millennium, PT-138 Millennium, PT-140 Millennium, PT-145 Millennium, PT-745 Millennium, PT-24/7, PT-609, and PT-640.

There are allegations, however, of a new kind of defect in at least one popular revolver that Taurus still sells in America. This time, the gun didn’t misfire; it blew apart, according to a lawsuit filed in September in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, N.C.
They describe the suit in more detail. It was apparently unresolved at the time of the article.

Here is a PBS Newshour report on Saturday's anti-gun proliferation and anti-NRA protests, Youth voices take center stage at March for Our Lives 03/24/2018

Also, it's time to lower the national voting age to 16.

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