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NAT’L – INDUSTRY INSIDER – Protecting Gun Manufacturers from Frivolous Lawsuits

In 2005, Congress passed the bipartisan Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) by a nearly two-thirds margin. PLCAA’s purpose was to curb efforts by gun-control advocates to circumvent state legislatures and attack Second Amendment rights through a never-ending series of lawsuits against manufacturers and retailers of firearms to hold them financially responsible for crimes committed using the weapons they make and sell. Although the dubious legal theories behind these lawsuits only rarely resulted in verdicts against manufacturers and retailers, the mounting costs of the lawsuits began to run gun makers and sellers out of business. Litigation-induced bankruptcy, it turned out, was an effective way of restricting Americans’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Congress passed PLCAA to end that abuse of the judicial system, providing firearm manufacturers and retailers with immunity against legal claims resulting from the criminal use of their products. PLCAA is a common-sense law. Product liability suits are usually focused on actual manufacturing defects. A good backyard grill effectively grills meat, but if it blows up due to a manufacturing defect, then a tort suit is warranted. A good gun shoots reliably and accurately and doesn’t blow up in your hands. While gun manufacturers should and are liable for guns that malfunction, they shouldn’t be liable for making reliable and accurate guns that can be used for mayhem, of course, but can also be used for self-defense and sporting purposes. Similarly, a swimming pool would be a bad pool if it failed to effectively hold water, but if it is a good swimming pool that holds water it also inevitably increases the risk of drowning. Like a swimming pool, a gun’s good qualities are inexorably tied to the dangerous ones.  [full article]

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