WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — Gun violence prevention advocates joined Democratic lawmakers at the Capitol Tuesday to push for a change in US laws that now protect the gun industry from liability.
Connecticut’s US Senators along with members of Congress from Pennsylvania, California, Florida, and Colorado introduced the Equal Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act – which would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
The PLCAA, which Congress passed in 2005, provides special immunity for gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealer — protecting them from most negligence and product liability lawsuits.
“Congress passed PLCAA to create a special carve-out for the gun industry,” California Congressman Adam Schiff said. “[Our] bill would repeal the liability immunity shield enshrined in PLCAA. It will ensure that victims of gun violence can have their day in court.”
Schiff called the PLCAA a deeply destructive bill that protects manufacturers from any responsibility for how their products are used, even when they’re used to commit a crime.
A sentiment with which Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., agreed.
“A child’s toy gun is subject to greater liability protections for a purchaser than the owner of an actual gun,” Murphy said.
However, groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation said the proposal is just another attempt by Democratic lawmakers to demonize Constitutionally protected products.
“This would be akin to suing GM or Ford or Toyota for the criminal misuse of a vehicle for drunk driving accidents… with a vehicle they manufacture. It is completely wrong,” the Foundation said in a statement.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said lawmakers will be judged harshly if they fail to pass the measure.
“The gun industry, manufacturers, and sellers should be held to the same standard of reasonable care that applies to any other industry,” Blumenthal said.