2 Democrats Seek to Take Gunmakers’ Liability Shield (New York Times)
With little path for significant gun control legislation this year, two Democrats are pursuing another uphill battle that they hope will have more resonance: removing gunmakers’ protection from liability in cases of gun violence.
Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, are circulating a bill that would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005 and which for the most part shields gun manufacturers from liability after gun crimes. The law has been a feature on the campaign trail as well, as Hillary Clinton has criticized Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont over his vote for the bill.
The goal of the law, its supporters said, was to protect the gun industry from frivolous lawsuits. One unintended consequence, Mr. Schiff said, was that so-called straw purchasers, or traffickers who buy guns and sell them to people who cannot pass a background check, have also ended up protected. (Mr. Sanders has said he is for closing this loophole.)
“We lost a police officer in Burbank who was killed with a gun purchased by straw purchaser,” Mr. Schiff said on Tuesday. “Guns are the only industry that is immune to liability, and I don’t think it should be. Good actors don’t need immunity, and bad actors don’t deserve it.”
Mr. Schiff and Mr. Blumenthal concede this proposal, the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, will face difficulties getting time on the Republican-controlled Congress and that they will most likely try to slap it on an appropriations bill this year. “It’s much the same as any gun violence prevention bill,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “But it’s profoundly important.”
Source: New York Times
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