U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen, a Democrat, is Mr. Gerrymander. He first gained national office in 2003 in large part due to the gerrymandering of Maryland's 8th Congressional District. The reshaping of the 8th District was done by Maryland Democrats with the intent of eliminating Republican Connie Morella, who had held that seat for about 16 years.
On Jan. 28, the Times ran an article titled, "Van Hollen seeks repeal of gun industry shield," that revealed that Van Hollen is joining other Senate Democrats "to announce legislation to ensure the gun industry and gun sellers would be held accountable in violent gun crimes." Boiling it down, if Van Hollen and his cronies are successful, those who legally manufacture guns and those who legally sell them will be held responsible for crimes committed by others. Twisted? This is the logic of the man who wants to take Barbara Mikulski's seat in the U.S. Senate.
The article goes on to say that "a 10-year-old law [currently exists] that protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed" by others — unrelated third parties. This old law seems to be grounded in logic that somehow escapes Van Hollen. He and other Democrats want it repealed.
This "10-year-old law" does not "shield manufacturers from damages resulting from defective products." This is as it should be. Of course manufacturers of any product should be responsible for damage caused by their defective products and/or oversights. But to be responsible for the actions of others? Seriously, Mr. Van Hollen?
The current law was originally enacted to protect the manufacturers and sellers of legal products from frivolous and unsupportable lawsuits. Some of our elected federal officeholders seem to support frivolous lawsuits and those attorneys who pursue them.
One of Van Hollen's fellow supporters of the legislation, Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said, "where we require and expect of every other industry, whether car makers or drug companies, to act with reasonable care for the safety of the public … ." Think about that. He's equating cars with guns. Let's follow that to its logical conclusion. We've all read of people going nuts and driving their cars into crowds of people injuring and killing many. The only defect is the crazy person behind the wheel. When has the car manufacturer been held liable for such? What is the difference between a car or a firearm being used to intentionally kill? What rational person can possibly fault a law-abiding manufacturer for the evil intent of another? Apparently Van Hollen and company can.
This proposed legislation is just one more backdoor method to remove legal firearms, legally manufactured, from the hands of people who abide by the law.
Now, let's bring in U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. He and some cronies want "immediate funding" to research gun violence at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I mentioned logic and common sense earlier. Where's the logic in studying gun violence at the CDC? Cardin is quoted as saying, "When you have an epidemic, you look for ways to treat and cure the disease." And "Gun violence is an epidemic." Come on folks, Cardin is either playing with or is ignorant of the word "epidemic." "Epidemic" does not automatically imply the presence of disease. If gun violence were a disease, it is not a treatable one. Shame on Cardin, and shame on the CDC if they follow his lead. Don't they have enough real disease to fight?
There's another Democrat who twists words — State Sen. Edward Kasemeyer of Baltimore County is promoting a matching program in which the state will "match" funds contributed by taxpayers for education and/or retirement. One sentence, reported in the Times, headlined "Md. Democrats to push college plan, retirement," read, "… people who earn under $100,000 would only have to put in $25 to get a $250 match." According to the paper, folks, he actually said that. Contribute $25 get $250 is a "match?" Since when is that a match? It's a giveaway — more free stuff at the expense of those of us who pay taxes. More word games.
I will vote, every time, for common sense laws and those who support them. I will not vote for any politician who plays the word game. By the way, a thought on term limits. Van Hollen has been in Congress since 2003 — 13 years. A six-year term in the Senate (if he replaces Mikulski) will give him 19. If you believe in term limits and you've voted for Van Hollen (or Mikulski), can you spell contradiction?
The people mentioned above are people whom voters have chosen to represent us. Consider. Beware!
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Rick Blatchford writes from Mount Airy. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.