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May 1, 2023

Automakers, Welcome to the Theater of the Absurd

By Larry Keane

The same antigun politicians who want to sue members of the firearm industry for crimes they didn’t commit are now trying to blame automakers for when the cars they make are stolen.

Welcome to bizarro-land, where commonsense and logic don’t apply. In the inverted world these politicians concoct, criminals aren’t responsible for their crimes. Gun makers should have predicted that the firearms they produced would be stolen, illegally sold on the black market, traded among convicted felons and used in subsequent crimes. Now, these same politicians say automakers should have expected their cars would be stolen by criminals and that’s the fault of the automakers.

Not criminals. Not those who actually steal the property of others and victimize innocent people. Those individuals couldn’t possibly be at fault. Just ask Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

AG Ellison blamed Kia and Hyundai for a spike in car thefts and even opened an investigation to determine if those companies didn’t include “industry-standard, anti-theft technology” in their cars’ designs.

“Kia and Hyundai vehicles might as well have a giant bumper sticker that says ‘steal me’ on them,” AG Ellison said in early March.

Alliance for Automotive Innovation is the automaker trade association and to them, all we can say is welcome to our world, where politicians blame you for the crimes committed by others, seek to destroy your industry through frivolous litigation and oh yeah… their rules are all made up.

Been There. Done That.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new for the firearm industry. Politicians refusing to hold criminals accountable for their crimes have been hellbent on blaming the firearm industry instead. It started back in the mid-1990s when gun control politicians thought that abusing the courts would be a way to impose gun control they wanted.

Former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich infamously called this “regulation through litigation” and said these frivolous lawsuits sacrifice democracy by using the courts as an end-around legislative bodies like Congress to force a special-interest agenda. Professor Victor Schwartz, the nation’s leading scholar on tort law and a former law school dean, wrote in The Washington Examiner, the idea then – as it is now – is to sue a politically-disfavored industry out of existence because someone else committed a crime or force them to settle and accept gun control regulations in the form of a consent order.

States are now trying to resurrect these lawsuits by passing laws encouraging them. So far, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, California and Washington have passed public nuisance laws within the past year. NSSF is challenging those laws. Michigan is considering its own law. Don’t forget the government of Mexico. They’re trying it too.

Automakers need to be wary. The attacks against the industry start as passing swipes but soon turn damaging. Before long, these same politicians that refuse to hold criminals accountable are dragging down an entire industry to grind it out of existence with frivolous lawsuits. AG Ellison will point out that Kia and Hyundai thefts skyrocketed 840 percent in Minneapolis from 2022 and 600 percent in St. Paul in the same timeframe.

The Washington Times noted that those stolen cars were used in other crimes, including five murders, more than a dozen criminal shootings, 35 robberies and 265 car accidents.

Veiled Threats

Based on the logic politicians use to sue firearm manufacturers for the criminal misuse of lawfully sold firearms, Kia and Hyundai could be facing their own public nuisance lawsuits.

That would be a ridiculous notion, except for those like AG Ellison and California Attorney General Robert who led a letter with 22 other attorneys general that warned Kia and Hyundai for not installing “anti-theft immobilizers,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“Your companies’ decisions not to install anti-theft immobilizers as standard equipment on certain vehicles sold in the United States has caused ongoing consumer harm and undermined public safety in communities across the country,” they wrote. “It is well past time that you acknowledge your companies’ role and take swift and comprehensive action to remedy it.”

That sounds strangely like a veiled threat of legal action.

If that wasn’t enough, AG Bonta and 17 other attorneys general sent a letter to the federal government demanding it issue a recall of millions of vehicles. That’s a similar tactic AG Bonta, AG Ellison and others have taken with the firearm industry. Knuckle under or we’ll bring the weight of the federal government down on you.

“Hyundai and Kia’s failure to meet federal safety standards for theft protection, or to install simple, commonsense antitheft features on their vehicles have made these vehicles disproportionately targeted for theft,” an AG Bonta spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

Still, Just Consider…

Here’s another thought. Maybe the automakers could insist that these attorneys general and their district attorneys actually lock up the car thieves.

That’s the same thing the firearm industry has been saying all along to politicians who want to sue firearm manufacturers for the criminal misuse of guns. Lock up the criminal.

In bizarro-land, where commonsense and logic don’t apply, the inmates are running the asylum. They will carjack the law and run over commonsense and personal responsibility to advance their political agenda.

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