Gun Manufacturers and Responsibility
John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo shot and killed 13 people in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. They used a semiautomatic assault rifle manufactured by Bushmaster Firearms, Inc. The two killers bought the rifle from Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply, a gunshop in Tacoma, Washington, although federal law prohibited the shop from selling the gun to either Muhammad, who had a record of domestic battery, or to Malvo, who was a minor.
Survivors of the victims have claimed that although Muhammad and Malvo were directly responsible for the deaths of the victims, both Bushmaster Firearms, Inc., and Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply (and their owners) also “should be held responsible.” Audits by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
showed that Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply had “lost” guns (238 in a 3-year period) or “lost” documentationincluding its records of the Muhammad–Malvo sale—yet Bushmaster Firearms continued to sell its guns to the shop. Survivors of the victims claimed that Bushmaster Firearms had an obligation not to create an unreasonable risk of foreseeable harm from the distribution of its guns. The company, they claimed, failed to adequately investigate or screen this dealer’s record of weapons handling, failed to adequately monitor and supervise how its dealer was selling its guns, and failed to provide training or incentives for its dealer to comply with gun laws.
If Bull’s Eye and Bushmaster had acted as they had an obligation to act, Muhammad and Malvo would have been prevented from obtaining the assault rifle they needed to kill their victims since federal
laws prohibited both from buying guns. Bull’s Eye and Bushmaster helped cause the deaths, the wife of a victim claimed, and so “they share the responsibility for my husband’s death and many others.”
Answer the following questions:
In your opinion are Bull’s Eye and Bushmaster morally
responsible for the Washington, D.C. victims’ deaths? Why or why not?
Are manufacturers ever morally responsible for deaths caused by the use of their
products? Why or why not?
|Due By (Pacific Time)
||05/31/2015 06:31 pm