A few years ago, unable to eliminate firearms by vote, anti-gunners hit on a brilliant way to get the same result-they filed in municipal courts and sued gun companies for liability for crimes committed with guns. These suits have been thrown out in 24 cities, but they have damaged the firearms industry nonetheless by forcing it to pay $120 million in legal costs. Anti-gunners are rejoicing, because if the lawyers’ fees mount high enough, gun makers can go out of business.
The remedy for this was S. 659-The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act-which would have prevented just this type of lawsuit. (It would not, reports to the contrary, have eliminated a manufacturer’s liability for defective guns, or for guns that are sold illegally.) It passed in the House, but on February 2, its opponents succeeded in attaching two measures that had already passed the Senate, but were anathema to gun owners. One extended the Clinton “assault weapons ban” for another ten years; the other required sellers at gun shows to run background checks on their customers.
Rather than see these two measures passed into law, the NRA asked supporters of S.695 to reverse their vote and kill the measure. So we now have a standoff, but the fight is not over. In order for the firearms industry to survive, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act must become law. Don’t forget it. And, in an election year, don’t let the people who want your vote forget it, either.