Publication Date
July 11, 2016
David B. Kopel
gun control, treating guns like cars, gun safety, right to arms
This article examines the implications of treating guns like consumer products. First, it compares the regulatory treatment of guns to that of two other consumer products associated with a large number of deaths: automobiles and alcohol. The article suggests that, statistically speaking, automobiles and alcohol are at least as dangerous as guns. Yet were we to treat guns like automobiles or alcohol, we would have to remove most gun restrictions because guns are already regulated much more strictly than automobiles or alcohol.

Next, the article examines several particular proposals for “treating guns like consumer products.” These proposals include censoring gun advertising, imposing certain design modifications on firearms (including “smart gun” mandates), and banning handguns -- actions to be accomplished by administrative decree rather than by legislative choice. The articles suggests that the censorship proposals aim simply to silence one side of a controversial policy debate; that the proposed design modifications would increase firearms accidents and impair life-saving defensive firearms uses; and that banning handguns is too momentous a decision to be undertaken by unelected administrators. Finally, the article argues that firearms should be treated like other consumer products, such as newspapers and books, which are all protected by the Bill of Rights and by state constitutions.
Recommended Citation
Kopel, David B. and Kopel, David B., Treating Guns Like Consumer Products (April 11, 2000). University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 148, No. 4, 2000, Available at SSRN:

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