Gopnik tosses off this statistic:
In fact, cars kill tens of thousands of people per year, more than guns do, even when adding in suicides. Both car makers and gun makers are immune unless the death was due to a manufacturing defect.
Gopnik also advances this argument in favor of suing gun makers:
Gopnik likes this description so much that he uses it more than once. But here's the thing, the class of semi-automatic rifles in question, the ak-15, is the most popular long gun in the US. There are hundreds of thousands of these, possibly millions. If it's only purpose is to kill a lot of people in a very short time then you would expect millions of deaths by these guns annually. Instead long guns are responsible for only a tiny number of annual deaths. Instead these guns are used for target shooting and small-game hunting. That's why the assault weapon's ban in the 1990s was ineffective. They were banning weapons that are seldom used offensively.
The New Yorker ran a column about a Newtown-related lawsuit against the maker of the gun used. The column is big on invective but lacking any solid footing.The author, Adam Gopnik, boils his argument down to this description:
[...] the gun manufacturer is guilty of having sold a weapon whose only purpose was killing a lot of people in a very short time.
If a carmaker made a car that was known to be wildly unsafe, and then advertised it as unsafe, liabilities would result. The gun lobby is, or believes itself to be, immune.
The underlying politics of gun control has always been the same: the majority of Americans agree that there should be limits and controls on the manufacture and sale and ownership of weapons intended only to kill en masse, while a small minority feels, with a fanatic passion, that there shouldn't.
This was never true. Right after Newtown a majority supported increased gun control but the opposition was never tiny. The most current polls show that more than 50% of the population is against additional gun laws.
Gopnik makes a moral case comparing gun control to gay marriage and sexual assault on campus. This argument is hit and miss. Gay marriage is becoming accepted but the latest figures on sexual assaults on campus indicate that the problem is overstated.
No honest or scrupulous person can any longer reject the evidence that gun control controls gun violence. It can be rejected only by rage and hysteria and denial and with the Second Amendment invoked, not as a document with a specific and surprising history, but as a semi-theological dogma.
Actually, an honest, scrupulous person would be aware that the cities with the most gun control are the most violent - places like Chicago and Washington DC. In the rest of the country, gun violence has been going down for decades even as the number of guns in circulation is at an all-time high.
All of this amounts to a feel-good column designed to cheer up gun control proponents from the funk that their failures must have them in.