Gun Liability Control


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Legionnaire
July 27, 2005, 10:35 AM
Gun Liability Control
The NRA meets the trial bar at high noon.

Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, July 27, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

If we recall correctly, it was Shakespeare who wrote "the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." That's going too far, but the Senate can do the metaphoric equivalent this week by voting to protect gun makers from lawsuits designed to put them out of business.

Senate Republicans say they have 60 votes to pass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which would protect gun makers from lawsuits claiming they are responsible for crimes committed with their products. The support includes at least 10 Democrats, which speaks volumes about the political shift against "gun control" in recent years.

The "assault weapons ban" expired with a whimper last year. State legislatures have been rolling back firearm laws because the restrictions were both ineffectual and unpopular. Gun-controllers have responded by avoiding legislatures and going to court, teaming with trial lawyers and big city mayors to file lawsuits blaming gun makers for murder. Companies have been hit with at least 25 major lawsuits, from the likes of Boston, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago and Cleveland. A couple of the larger suits (New York and Washington, D.C.) are sitting in front of highly creative judges and could drag on for years.

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Which seems to be part of the point. The plaintiffs have asked judges to impose the sort of "remedies" that Congress has refused to impose, such as trigger locks or tougher restrictions on gun sales. Some mayors no doubt also hope for a big payday. But short of that, the gun-control lobby's goal seems to be keep the suits going long enough to drain profit from the low-margin gun industry.

Gun makers have yet to lose a case, but these victories have cost more than $200 million in legal bills. This is a huge sum for an industry collectively smaller than any Fortune 500 company and that supports 20,000 jobs at most. Publicly listed companies such as Smith & Wesson have seen the legal uncertainty reflected in their share price. Money for legal fees could be better spent creating new jobs, researching ways to make guns safer, or returning profits to shareholders.

Congress has every right to stop this abuse of the legal system, all the more so because it amounts to an end-run around its legislative authority. A single state judge imposing blanket regulations on a gun maker would effectively limit the Second Amendment rights of gun buyers across the nation. Liability legislation would also send a message that Congress won't stand by as the tort bar and special interests try to put an entirely lawful business into Chapter 11.

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The gun makers aren't seeking immunity from all liability; they would continue to face civil suits for defective products or for violating sales regulations. The Senate proposal would merely prevent a gun maker from being pillaged because a criminal used one of its products to perform his felony. Murder can be committed with all kinds of everyday products, from kitchen knives to autos, but no one thinks GM is to blame because a drunk driver kills a pedestrian. (On the other hand, give the lawyers time.) To adapt a familiar line, guns don't kill industries; lawyers do.

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Legionnaire
July 27, 2005, 10:37 AM
Love the last line. It would make a good t-shirt/bumper sticker/sig line!

Guns don't kill industries; lawyers do.

dolanp
July 27, 2005, 10:46 AM
Wow I'm surprised to read such a pro-gun, pro-2A article in such a major publication like the WSJ. Kudos!

Sawdust
July 27, 2005, 10:53 AM
Yes, what a pleasure it was to open the WSJ this morning and find this editorial.

Now, if the WSJ would pull its head from its nether region regarding its position on illegal immigration, I wouldn't be hesitating to renew my subscription.

Sawdust

GEM
July 27, 2005, 11:01 AM
Let's see if it makes it this time and can fight off amendments which GWB supports. :D

Father Knows Best
July 27, 2005, 11:26 AM
guns don't kill industries; lawyers do.

:banghead:

I realize that lawyer-bashing is in vogue, but that statement is just not true. Lawyers are like guns. They are tools. In every lawsuit, there is a lawyer on both sides. Behind every lawyer is a client. As the old saying goes -- Guns don't kill people; people do. Similarly, lawyers don't sue people; clients do. The lawyer just does the client's bidding, just as the gun does the bidding of the person wielding it. Just as guns can be used in self-defense, lawyers are used in self-defense. For every lawyer whose client is suing the firearms industry, there are dozens or hundreds of lawyers opposing them. And while there are a handful of "creative" judges (to use the article's euphemism) who have let these cases stand in some places, there are dozens more judges who have done the right thing and thrown these lawsuits out. As the article points out, the firearms industry hasn't lost one of these cases yet. Even better, the majority of your Congressmen (most of whom are lawyers) SUPPORT the legislation that would end these lawsuits forever.

Lawyers are not anti-gun, or anti-Second Amendment. The vast majority of the people that want to deprive us of our Second Amendment rights, and our God-given right to life and liberty, are not lawyers. Yes, there are some lawyers among them. There are lawyers on the other side, also. I'm one of them, and there are many, many more of us.

:cuss:

[rant=off]

AZ Jeff
July 27, 2005, 01:57 PM
I realize that lawyer-bashing is in vogue, but that statement is just not true. Lawyers are like guns. They are tools. In every lawsuit, there is a lawyer on both sides. ...... And while there are a handful of "creative" judges (to use the article's euphemism) who have let these cases stand in some places, there are dozens more judges who have done the right thing and thrown these lawsuits out.
So what do you suggest be done to prevent the use of judicial fiat to enact that which the legislature(s) won't do?

Father Knows Best
July 27, 2005, 02:09 PM
That's a problem. I wholeheartedly agree with you there. The solution is to remove those Judges. That's a political process.

Keep in mind that for every bad Judge, there are dozens of good ones. Yes, some Judges have legislated from the bench. Many others uphold our Constitution and protect our rights every day by holding the authorities to the limits of their powers, and striking down legislation that runs afoul of the Constitution.

El Tejon
July 27, 2005, 02:26 PM
So, FKB, you're saying that being an informed citizen is a good way to defend our Constitutional rights rather than being angry at an entire class of people? :scrutiny:

Well, O.K., I'll try it, but bashing-lawyers is far easier! :D

Father Knows Best
July 27, 2005, 03:22 PM
More fun, too!

Q: What do you call a mentally retarded lawyer?

A: "Your Honor."

:neener:

pcf
July 27, 2005, 04:53 PM
Some lawyers are like guns in that they are tools. Other lawyers are tools.

I've never had a gun get up and shoot me. I've never had a gun run off and terrorize the neighborhood. I lied, my buddy's Barret runs off all the time causing trouble.

Some lawyers chase ambulances, other file suits and hope to settle on harassment value. Some take the Thomas Edison approach to the legal system, a success after 40 failures is a success. Some take a business approach, high risk investments, invest now hope for payoffs later. The latter two are what got the tobacco industry. States weren't the big drive behind suing "big tobacco", lawyers looking for money were.

scout26
July 27, 2005, 05:21 PM
In addition to S397, there also needs to be "Loser Pays" to stop frivilous lawsuits.

And now back to Lawyer Bashing (tm)
Guy goes to his doctor, Doc tells him he has brain cancer, but thanks to new discoveries and medical advances the doc can do a transplant and he has a good chance of living a normal life.

But different brains cost different amounts:
Garbage Collector - $10.00/oz
Teacher - $200.00/oz
Scientist - $1000.00/oz
Lawyer - $50,000,000.00/oz


Guy: "Why so much for a lawyers brain ???"
Doc: "Do you know how many lawyers you have to kill to get an ounce of brains ???"


(as told by my sister the lawyer)

Legionnaire
July 27, 2005, 06:37 PM
Sorry, guys 'n gals. Much as I like the quote, it wasn't my intention to turn this into a lawyer-bashing thread. Original article poked at the lawyers involved in the lawsuites that attempt to accomplish what has not been done by legislation.

I'm ... working ... hard ... to ... stifle ... my ... own ... lawyer joke ...

countertop
July 27, 2005, 06:57 PM
In law school I ran a lawyer joke of the day list. . . send one out every day for 3 years to over 10,000 people at its conclusion. Never repeated one either (though many were somewhat similar.

My favorite:

Whats black and brown and looks good on a lawyer?

A Rottweiller

torpid
July 27, 2005, 07:01 PM
Lawyers are like guns. They are tools.

I think many folks would agree with that statement.
;)

Father Knows Best
July 27, 2005, 07:11 PM
I am already regretting my poor choice of words....

Standing Wolf
July 27, 2005, 07:57 PM
Lawyers are like guns. They are tools.

Once upon a time, lawyers were supposed to have principles.

Now you know why I frequently refer to them as "assault lawyers."

P95Carry
July 27, 2005, 10:44 PM
Steady folks - be nice to FKB! :)

SteveS
July 27, 2005, 11:20 PM
Congress has every right to stop this abuse of the legal system, all the more so because it amounts to an end-run around its legislative authority. A single state judge imposing blanket regulations on a gun maker would effectively limit the Second Amendment rights of gun buyers across the nation. Liability legislation would also send a message that Congress won't stand by as the tort bar and special interests try to put an entirely lawful business into Chapter 11

So, congress is going to step up and stop abuse...protect our rights...uphold the second amendment? While there are activist judges and bad lawyers, I would have to say that congress is probably the biggest usurper of our rights. Maybe they will start taking their oath to the Constitution seriously, but probably not.

Legionnaire
July 28, 2005, 02:02 AM
Actually, I've given up telling lawyer jokes.

Lawyers don't think they're funny ... :fire:

... and nobody else thinks they are jokes!

:neener:

P95Carry
July 28, 2005, 12:26 PM
You mean Ken - a sorta ''lose-lose'' situation! :D

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