On October 26, 2005, President Bush signed into law S. 397, the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” a bill that prohibits victims of the gun industry’s negligent practices from filing lawsuits in America’s courts. No other industry in the country benefits from such special legal protection.
For years, the negligent practices of some gun makers and sellers have contributed to countless gun deaths and injuries. Beginning in the 1990s, courts began to hold gun sellers and manufacturers responsible for their behavior. Courts found that gun dealers irresponsibly sold to criminals, and that negligent gun makers failed to take basic steps to prevent illegal firearms trafficking by “bad apple” distributors and dealers.
While the National Rifle Association, representing the gun industry, has tried to silence legislators on issues of gun safety, the courts have always been there to stand up for victims of gun violence. Regrettably, the gun lobby was able to close the courthouse door on these victims with S. 397. Because guns are the only consumer product in America not subject to any safety-related regulatory oversight, gun industry immunity has eliminated the only existing check on their unscrupulous actions.
The gun industry immunity law prevents justice for gun victims who are injured in cases like the following, even if the plaintiffs aren’t asking for any money:
Ed Fund Report: Justice Denied: The Case Against Gun Industry Immunity
Editorial: Let Shooting Victims Sue