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How Not To Legislate

Saturday, March 27, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

First off, say a prayer for the recovery of Gunnar Sandberg, a junior at Marin Catholic High School in northern California, who was struck by a line drive during a baseball game and is in critical but stable condition.

In the aftermath of his injury, a California assemblyman called for a ban on aluminum bats, arguing that they hit balls too hard.

This is an old debate, with good arguments on both sides. (Full disclosure: My law firm represents many manufacturers of sporting goods in product liability lawsuits, and we may even represent the manufacturer of the bat, which isn’t named in the articles I have read.)

What the debate doesn’t need is the interjection of a politician’s two cents and a draft bill.

Private associations such as those noted in the article can weight the pros and cons of a ban. Parents, coaches and yes, even players, can assess the risks and the benefits of aluminum bats. Tort law exists if negligence was part of the manufacture of the bat.

But the vast and growing government doesn’t have to weigh in. Even though the politician pushing for the ban —Jared Huffman–is a lawyer and an athlete, it doesn’t make him an expert of aluminum v. wood bats, and the government ought not to rush to the scene of every tragedy with the roll out of a new law that proposes to remove the risks from life.


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