Tag Archives: gun nuts

What The NRA Hath Wrought…

When I saw this headline, “Owner of stolen handgun not liable for child’s death even when weapon is kept loaded and visible on car seat,” I couldn’t believe a court would rule this way on so obvious a case of negligence.

When I read the article, I understood.

Matthew Kendall, 16, of Huntingburg, died July 22, 2016, after he was shot in the head with a Glock 9 mm handgun that was taken earlier that day by a 15-year-old boy who was showing the weapon to Kendall when it discharged, according to court records.

Kendall’s mother, Shelley Nicholson, sued Christopher Lee, of Huntingburg, seeking damages for negligence in connection with Lee leaving his loaded handgun visible through the windows of Lee’s unlocked and unattended truck.

However, both the Dubois Circuit Court and a unanimous three-judge Court of Appeals panel said Nicholson’s case cannot proceed because Indiana law immunizes gun owners from civil liability for any subsequent use of their stolen firearms.

The court quoted the law as providing immunity from civil liability based on “an act or omission” of the owner, if the weapon was stolen and later used to commit a crime or harm someone.

Judge John Baker, writing for the Court of Appeals, said the plain language of House Enrolled Act 1349 required the court rule in favor of Lee, because regardless of how Lee stores his handgun, if the handgun is stolen, he is statutorily immune from liability for any resulting harm.

The Judge considered himself bound by what he called “the clear intent of the General Assembly,” which was to shield gun owners from liability even in situations like this, when an owner failed to take even the most minimal precautions to safely store his gun.

It’s hard to imagine anything more negligent than leaving a loaded gun on the passenger seat of an unlocked car. Absent the statute enacted by the Indiana legislature–undoubtedly under the influence of the NRA–the owner would be liable for his own careless behavior, as he should be.

Americans who own homes or other properties are routinely sued by folks who fall on steps or sidewalks that have been negligently maintained, or who are harmed by other obvious hazards that a normal person knows or should know are capable of  causing harm to a visitor. Laws that punish us for our own neglect or irresponsibility are there for a reason: to remind us that we have a duty of care, and should avoid negligent behaviors that can cause harm to innocent others.

It is absolutely scandalous that lawmakers (presumably in thrall to the clout of the NRA’s gun nut lobby) decided that a standard of behavior that has informed tort law pretty much forever just needn’t apply to people who might be careless with an inherently dangerous possession–a weapon that has one use and one use only–to injure or kill.

If you have a tree with a loose limb in your yard, you need to take care that it doesn’t fall and hurt someone who might sue you. But if you have a loaded gun available to whoever walks by, no worries.

The Indiana General Assembly has protected you. And gerrymandering protects them.

Sauce for the Goose, Sauce for the Gander

I love political theater.

First: In the wake of the Supreme Court’s poorly-thought-out Hobby Lobby decision, the Satanic Temple–based in New York, but evidently with congregations (covens?) elsewhere around the country–has sued for an exemption from “informed consent” laws.

According to ABC, Satanists believe in a woman’s right to get an abortion without having to listen to information its members see (correctly) as non-scientific. This is rooted in the group’s belief in a “scientific understanding of the world,” according to the press release.

Fair is fair–if devout Christian employers can’t be required to abide by neutral laws requiring them to provide their employees with birth control coverage, “devout” Satanists shouldn’t have to abide by laws that violate their beliefs.

Second: Texas has been the epicenter of “open carry” braggadocio. A group of inventive women–apparently tired of running into paranoid jerks carrying long guns on the streets and into the local Target–decided to make the point that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

And it’s apparently legal to go topless in Austin, Texas.

So when Open Carry Texas did one of its many open-carry “events,” the gun nuts were met with middle aged, almost-bare-naked ladies shouting “Boobs for peace!” (One of them also carried a sign reading “You realize that everyone thinks you’re overcompensating for your teeny tiny ‘gun,’ right?”)

Goose, meet gander…..