The families are trying to get around the protection of the PLCAA by claiming that the marketing of AR-15 rifles is itself a negligent entrustment by appealing to disaffected white young men. One supposed example of this is the ad campaign by Bushmaster telling buyers to consider their man cards reissued. The small print of the ad states, “If it’s good enough for the professional, it’s good enough for you.”
I’ll agree that the marketing was silly. Attempts to force manhood into stereotypes—either traditional or metrosexual—fail to make sense when exposed to analysis, but advertisers are rarely worried about logic or evidence, and appeals to masculinity must work, or money wouldn’t be spent on ad campaigns that do just that.
The question before the court, though, is whether a marketing strategy can be considered an act of negligence. There is a basic error here, an attempt to distribute blame as widely as possible. The grief that the Sandy Hook families have endured is something that no one should have to go through, but that doesn’t justify lashing out at gun makers and sellers who followed the law. Advertisements make many kinds of promises, most of them ridiculous. Men are told that women will be drawn to us if we buy the right set of tires, that life and health are to be found in a variety of pills, or that we’ll be more authentic men if we wear a particular suit. And it’s all nonsense.
If the standard of advertising is to be that it can never set off some unhinged loser, we might as well give up on television, print magazines, and the Internet. We’d also have to surrender the public space to such people. A free society is built for good people who respect each other’s rights, and that’s predicated on accepting the risks of freedom. Curtailing rights won’t make us safe and won’t make us free, and nuisance suits are no answer to the problems of violence in America.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.
We got in two of our best-selling Turkish imports from Landor Arms – the AR-style LND-117 shotgun and the bullpup BPX 902 – to give them a whirl on the range and see if the reliability could be paired with the affordable price.