by Max Brantley
The New York Times has unearthed testimony in past lawsuits that shows just how little gunmakers care about anything but the bottom line. Selling more guns. To whomever.
The world’s firearms manufacturers have been largely silent in the debate over gun violence. But their voices emerge from thousands of pages of depositions in a series of liability lawsuits a decade ago, before Congress passed a law shielding them from such suits in 2005, and the only time many of them were forced to answer such questions.
Much of the testimony was marked confidential, and transcripts were packed away in archives at law firms and courthouses around the country. But a review of the documents, which were obtained by The New York Times, shows the industry’s leaders arguing, often with detachment and defiance, that their companies bear little responsibility, beyond what the law requires, for monitoring the distributors and dealers who sell their guns to the public.
The executives claimed not to know if their guns had ever been used in a crime. They eschewed voluntary measures to lessen the risk of them falling into the wrong hands. And they denied that common danger signs — like a single person buying many guns at once or numerous “crime guns” that are traced to the same dealer — necessarily meant anything at all.