Democrats Want to Sue Guns Out of Existence

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Democrats are once again pursuing legislation that would roll back the legal immunity gun manufacturers and dealers now enjoy. With this issue now spotlighted in the Democratic primaries, House lawmakers have proposed The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act to take advantage of a hot topic.

In an interview with The Hill, one of the bill’s sponsors – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) – said the legislation was overdue. “Congress passed a unique form of immunity for only one industry, and that is the gun industry,” said Schiff, echoing a line that Hillary Clinton has used several times on the campaign trail.

Repetition may be psychologically effective, but it doesn’t turn a lie into the truth. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act does provide tort immunity for the firearms industry, but that immunity is in no way unique. For instance, websites and internet service providers are immune from certain lawsuits claiming online defamation. Under the Communications Decency Act, these companies cannot be held legally responsible for failing to remove user-generated posts deemed offensive or defamatory. Manufacturers in both the airline and medical device industries enjoy similar tort protections.

“If you’re a carmaker and your airbags kill someone, you’re potentially liable,” Schiff told The Hill.

Indeed. And if you’re a gun manufacturer and your handgun blows up in the user’s face, you’re likewise liable. Contrary to what Democrats suggest, the PLCAA does not give the firearms industry immunity from any and all lawsuits. Like all American companies, gun manufacturers must produce a product that works as advertised.

The law does, however, give them immunity from lawsuits arising from the misuse of their products. Would Schiff support a bill that held carmakers responsible for psychos who plow into innocent pedestrians? From what possible perspective would General Motors face liability for such a tragedy? It’s so foolish that it barely deserves a laugh, yet it is no more ridiculous than holding Bushmaster responsible for what happened at Sandy Hook.

Supporters of the new bill say it would target gun dealers who sell to straw purchasers.

Again, though, if a gun dealer knowingly sells guns to a buyer who is going to commit a crime by re-selling those firearms on the street, he is already liable under the law. If he doesn’t do it knowingly, then how is there any standing to sue? That’s when we get into the murky area of “irresponsibility,” and the floodgates are opened for liberals to use the courts as a way to infringe on our Second Amendment rights.