GUN CONTROL: ONE OPINION

 

There is no single "egalitarian" opinion about gun control, but I (John Spritzler, the editor of this website and of the text below) have written an article dealing with this issue, titled "Guns and the Working Class."

 

If you would like to have your view expressed here, and it is consistent with egalitarian values, please send it to me and I will post it here.

 

Recently the Boston Globe endorsed Hillary Clinton and one of its arguments against Bernie Sanders was that Sanders had voted against a bill that would have made gun manufacturers liable for harm suffered by people shot unlawfully or accidentally by a fire arm they manufactured. Why do I mention this? It's not to defend Bernie Sanders (I don't advocate voting for anybody). It's to illustrate how, when egalitarianism is not advocated (no American politician or newspaper advocates it) the result is that whatever the issue is the debate about it is what I call a phony debate. The phony debate in this gun issue case goes like this:

 

Side A: It's terrible that when people are injured by a gun that they cannot obtain financial compensation. Often the person who owned the gun doesn't have enough money to compensate the inured person even if they are successfully sued, and sometimes the injured person is the one who owned (maybe even fired) the gun. So we need to allow these injured people to sue the gun manufacturer for damages. If the gun manufacturer hadn't manufactured the gun then the injured person wouldn't have been injured.

 

Side B: Making gun manufacturers liable for injuries due to their legally manufactured and sold product is both crazy and unfair. It's as crazy as making kitchen knife manufacturers liable for injuries caused by kitchen knives, or writing pen manufacturers liable for mistakes (which could cost a person lots of money in some cases) made when writing. And it is unfair because the gun manufacturer cannot control what a customer does, any more than a bicycle manufacturer can prevent a child from riding in front of a speeding truck.

 

This kind of phony debate is designed to pit good people against each other. In an egalitarian society with a sharing economy there would be no need for anybody to sue anybody to get financial compensation for a gun (or any other kind of) injury. If the injured person was a member in good standing of the sharing economy then he/she would have free access to whatever he/she reasonably needed to deal with the injury and to live as comfortably and as well as anybody else, with no need to sue anybody for this. At the same time, if the egalitarians of the society democratically decide that the people who manufactured the gun should change what they are doing in some regard, then that decision will be enforced, without confusing the issue with nonsense about "liability."

 

Note the word "reasonably" emphasized in the above paragraph. In an egalitarian society it is the local assembly of egalitarians who decide what is reasonable. How many products and services anybody may reasonably take for free when they are a member in good standing of the sharing economy (i.e., when they contribute reasonably to it in some manner) is a judgement made by the local assembly of egalitarians, taking into account all relevant circumstances.

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