Covid Andy's Junk Gun Laws and Lawsuits

New York governor Andrew "COVID Andy" Cuomo said he intends to address gun violence the same way he addressed the COVID-19 epidemic.  This is hardly reassuring because his directive for nursing homes to readmit COVID-positive patients may well have killed thousands of senior citizens in 2020.  While there is controversy as to the extent that the directive in question caused most of the deaths, common sense says you do not put people with a highly communicable and lethal disease in a setting with the people who are most vulnerable to dying from it along with their caregivers.  The FBI is apparently investigating "whether the governor and his senior aides provided false data on resident deaths to the Justice Department" as well.

Jurors Should Trash-Can Junk Gun Lawsuits

It is astounding that, while COVID Andy enacted legislation to shield nursing homes from liability for COVID-19 deaths, he also signed legislation to allow junk lawsuits against gun manufacturers.  The fact that these junk lawsuits are now legal in New York does not mean, however, that jurors need to respect them or those who file them.  It is illegal to discuss a case with a juror after he has been selected, which means we need to pre-educate all potential jurors (i.e., all citizens) before they are even called.  I would need less than five minutes to judge a case in which a criminal used a firearm to harm another person, and I would need witnesses to answer exactly two questions: (1) Did the manufacturer sell the firearm to a federally licensed, and therefore federally supervised, gun dealer? (2) Did the gun dealer perform the required background check on the buyer?  If the answer to both questions is yes, then I would award the gun manufacturer legal fees and, if possible, punitive damages for a totally meritless junk lawsuit.  These should be levied ideally against the attorney who brought the lawsuit rather than the probably grief-stricken plaintiff who relied on the attorney's advice.  The judge can probably overturn the award, but I would make it anyway, and then maybe the defendant's lawyer could appeal.

Remember that nobody even thought of suing Dodge because white supremacist James Fields used a Challenger to run over Heather Heyer, although Fields himself got a well-deserved life sentence.  Any car manufacturer would indeed be liable for an actual defect that resulted in a braking or steering failure and consequent accident, but not for reckless or criminal use of the product.  This is pretty much all the jury needs to know.

The fact that COVID Andy promoted these junk lawsuits while HUD secretary, and also tried to equate the Second Amendment to a nonexistent right to hunt ("no one needs ten bullets to kill a deer"), meanwhile, tells us everything we need to know about his character and his ethics.  He is right: it is illegal to hunt with a high-capacity magazine, and no ethical hunter would take a shot if he needed more than one bullet to kill a deer humanely.  When I last heard, however, not one single article in the NRA's Armed Citizen feature includes deer among the aggressors.  Aggressive dogsbears, and mountain lions as well as violent criminals have indeed been shot in self-defense, but Bambi is not on the list.

COVID Andy's Leadership Lessons: What Not to Do

COVID Andy has meanwhile signed a $5-million book deal for American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.  I don't need to read the book to know that you do not put people with a virulent contagious disease into nursing homes with vulnerable senior citizens.  OSHA had, in the same March 2020 time frame, issued guidance to the effect that sick employees should be sent home and not allowed to mingle with uninfected ones.  "Move potentially infectious people to a location away from workers, customers, and other visitors."  (OSHA has subsequently issued new guidance that expands on what it had in March 2020, and nothing in this American Thinker article constitutes workplace safety advice.)

The Book of Leviticus said pretty much the same thing several thousand years ago, long before anybody knew what bacteria or viruses were.  "As long as they have the disease they remain unclean.  They must live alone; they must live outside the camp."  COVID Andy did exactly the opposite: "No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.  NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission."  This happened while just about everybody else was doing his best to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms before letting them into buildings, and practically begging for screening test kits in the bargain.

Jurors Can Trash-Can New York's Gun Laws

While I cannot give legal advice, nothing seems to prevent jurors from nullifying New York's gun laws that require a license to purchase and own a handgun, and the same goes for similar laws in other states.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Murdock v. Pennsylvania that a state cannot license a right.  While the context involved the First Amendment, the decision added, "A State may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the Federal Constitution."  This is probably why poll taxes (taxes or fees on the right to vote) are illegal and why states that require voter ID must issue it for free to people who do not have driver's licenses.

States can charge fees for the latter because driving is a privilege rather than a right.  Very significantly, the same goes for hunting licenses; there is no Second Amendment right to hunt despite COVID Andy's and Shotgun Joe's implications to the contrary.  "Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun."  When I last heard, however, nobody has ever had to shoot a duck in self-defense, either.  A state could argue that it is a licensable privilege to carry a firearm in public, and certainly that it is a licensable privilege to hunt, but it is difficult to see how possession of a firearm in one's own home is anything but a right.  This is by no means a recommendation that anybody should violate a gun law.  I am saying only how I would, as a juror, view permit-to-own laws along with N.Y.'s SAFE Act, which also has no legitimate public safety purpose.

Governor Andrew "COVID Andy" Cuomo is an ideal poster child for the anti–Second Amendment movement, and he should be used as such.  He would be funny, except there is nothing humorous about thousands of dead senior citizens in his state's nursing homes.

Civis Americanus is the pen name of a contributor who remembers the lessons of history and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way. The author is remaining anonymous due to the likely prospect of being subjected to "cancel culture" for exposing the Big Lie behind Black Lives Matter.

Image: Pat Arnow via Flickr.

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