NEWS: New Bill Allows Shooting Victims To Sue Gun Industry

House and Senate Democrats introduced legislation Tuesday they say will allow victims of gun violence to have their day in court.

The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act aims to repeal federal protections blocking firearm and ammunition manufacturers, dealers and trade groups from most civil lawsuits when a firearm is used unlawfully or in a crime.

Those protections date to 2005, with the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

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Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said since PLCAA became law, state and federal courts have “dismissed numerous cases against the gun industry,” adding that other cases were likely not brought at all.

Schiff, surrounded by members of gun violence prevention groups including Moms Demand Action, Brady and March For Our Lives, said the purpose of the legislation was to “correct the error Congress made” nearly a decade and a half ago.

“Responsible actors in the gun industry don’t need this limitation on liability. And the irresponsible ones don’t deserve it,” Schiff told reporters at the announcement of the bill.

PLCAA was signed into law by then-President George W. Bush and championed by the gun industry, including the National Rifle Association.

Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms trade association, told NPR his organization “will certainly oppose this legislation.” He called the bill to repeal PLCAA “fundamentally unfair.”

“You would no more charge or blame Ford or General Motors for drunk driving accidents,” Keane said, adding that the current law is “working exactly how Congress intended it.”

Keane and other supporters of the current law say it was passed as a way to ensure that manufacturers, dealers and distributors had protections from what they call “frivolous” lawsuits intended to bankrupt the gun industry.

“All we’re doing through this proposal is giving victims of gun violence their day in court,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. “Every other industry has to pay punitive damages if it intentionally and purposefully violates [a] standard of care” toward the community.

“That will provide a powerful incentive as it has done in tobacco, in automobiles, in pharmaceutical drugs, for safer products,” Blumenthal added.

In March, the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision, ruling that Remington Arms could be sued under state law by the families of victims from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The court said that Remington, the manufacturer of the rifle that was used in the 2012 attacks in Newtown, Conn., could be sued on the basis of how the company marketed the military-style weapon to civilians.

Blumenthal on Tuesday called it a “narrow victory for the Sandy Hook victims,” adding that it allows families to “go back to the trial court and seek to prove their case. It was by no means a total victory for them.”

The effort to repeal PLCAA by Democrats on Capitol Hill is not new.

Schiff first introduced the measure in 2013, and it has been reintroduced at least two other times without gaining traction.

For full, original story, visit: npr.org

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Comment (0)

  1. Since the government isn’t succeeding taking our guns, they’re going after the gun makers. Sooner or later they want to disable our rights to protect our selves.

  2. so, this means we need to sue anhauser busch & chrysler or GM for drunk driving accidents. We need to sue paint companies whenever some dumb kid dies from inhaling. We should sue Louisville Slugger co. whenever someone is beaten with a baseball bat.
    We should actually be suing the places that ban firearms whenever someone is shot at that place. They were deprived of the right to protect themselves.

    What a bunch of idiots. Who was ignorant enough to vote for them?

  3. These kinds of bills ultimately get shot down in higher courts. I think even the furthest left progressive judges understand what a slippery slope this kind of legislation is. Should this philosophy be adopted, simply release the murderer and imprison the gun.

  4. If the Democrats are ever able to pull this off gun owners are screwed. It wouldn’t be long before only the police and military are allowed to have firearms. We know what happens after that.

  5. Yes – it means we study the techniques of the Maquis from the Second World War, to prepare for the possible installation of a Socialist government. With the leftists moving ever more to the left, and current Democratic candidates going so far as to change their previously stated positions to make themselves more palatable and supportable by the left, I have a real fear of what will happen the next time the Democrats/Leftists/Socialists take control of our government. It’s as though 1945-1990 never happened, and current Venezuela is a worker’s paradise…

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