This one was a few weeks ago at my alma mater, featuring John Culhane, Professor of Law and Director of the Health and Law Institute at Widener University School of Law. I had worried about Drexel starting a law school and buying a medical school. Such things inevitably brings politics on campus. When I went back in the early-to-mid 90s, it was mostly an engineering school. Most of us didn’t have the time to join the PC brigade, or engage in other perpetual outrages. That was for Penn students.
I thought I had remembered Professor Culhane from somewhere, and I managed to dig up exactly where I heard of him. He’s been peddling the idea that we can just tax those evil gun manufactures and make them pay:
But there is a simple and direct way to make them accountable for the harm their products cause. For every gun sold, those who manufacture or import it should pay a tax. The money should then be used to create a compensation fund for innocent victims of gun violence.
I’d say he gets an A for creativity, but this isn’t a new idea. It’s also likely unconstitutional. The courts have generally looked down upon taxing schemes designed to create a burden on the exercise of a right. (See Volokh, Implementing the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, pg.1542-1544). Â It was unfortunate I was not able to attend, because it would have been fun to throw some abortion rights cases at him, which used substantial burden analysis, and argue that his proposal is akin to what right-to-life groups have tried to impose on abortion, in terms of raising its costs.