March 17 2000 - Litigation is not Legislation!

Today was a big hustle day for the sat kids at Fox. At 1130 the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that at noon they would be making a major announcement regarding their lawsuit against the makers of handguns. The gist of the suit was that since handguns are used in a lot of murders in the inner city, and HUD deals alot with the inner city, why not sue the maker of the guns. A dubious position at best. More on that later.

After a HUGE hustle, we had a signal on the air and were actually waiting for the press conference to begin. The announcement was that Smith & Wesson, one of the most legendary makers of American Firearms, had come to a settlement in the lawsuit. The terms of the settlement are not important to this discussion.

Now, I am a gun owner. In fact, I own several of them. But they are all at my parents house in Minnesota. I haven't gotten around to bringing them out east, and frankly, I haven't had any need for them out here. I think every American has the right to own a weapon, to be practiced in its use, and to discharge that firearm under reasonable and appropriate conditions. In my book, that ranges all the way from target practice to justified homicide in self defense to having that very thing the Constitution ennumerates "a well armed militia."

I also think that it is reasonable to set standards on who should not be able to own a firearm. Namely, that the standard should be if you can't vote, you can't pack. The thing that distrubs me about this settlement is not in it's impact on the second ammendment, but rather on the fourth and fifth. Not to mention a few entire articles that come before all those ammendments.

At the core of my anger here is the very fact that this lawsuit came about in the first place, and that it found it's home in HUD. The government has an entire department whose sole job revolves around the law, it's enforcement, and it's prosecution. We know it as the Justice Department. HUD has no place filing such a lawsuit. Perhaps they did so because DOJ wouldn't take it.

And why should they? Smith & Wesson broke no laws. While some of their actions could be argued as IRRESPONSIBLE, that is a far cry from ILLEGAL! What the lawsuit ammounted to, then, was the equivilent of a civil lawsuit seeking damages from the negligent actions of a corporation. Not the purview of Government.

Faced with the onslaught of scores of government attorneys with unlimited resources, Smith & Wesson was faced with a difficult decision - settle with HUD, or file for bankruptcy. They have become, as I hope to show, another victim of the Clinton Administration's lack of policy making, and policy enactment skills.

This is what the situation has come to. Legislation through litigation. Since Clinton could not break the stalemate on the Hill over gun safety legislation, he plainly bullied private enterprise to kotow to the whims of the liberal elite.

The process of American govenment has been slyly superceeded. The matter never even had the chance to fall upon the safety nets of the courts. The defendant decided that such a fall, while having a chance of meeting justice, would also ruin the company. My friends, this is not how business is done in America. This is the manner of socialist government.

And what little is there for the common citizen like you and me to do? To whom do we appeal to when public policy is taken from the public? The courts have no recourse, congress has no say. And what care could this administration have for the voices of the opposition?

Be wary, and be wise countrymen. This is the very reason the second ammendment was written to begin with.

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