Congress passes lawsuit shield


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Fat_46
October 20, 2005, 01:57 PM
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CONGRESS_GUNS?SITE=DEWIL&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&SECTION=HOME



Congress OKs law to shield gun industry from crime victim suits
Associated Press
Last update: October 20, 2005 at 12:17 PM
WASHINGTON Congress gave the gun lobby its top legislative priority Thursday, passing a bill protecting the firearms industry from massive crime-victim lawsuits. President Bush said he will sign it.

"Our laws should punish criminals who use guns to commit crimes, not law-abiding manufacturers of lawful products,'' Bush said in a statement.

The House voted 283-144 to send the bill to the president after supporters, led by the National Rifle Association, proclaimed it vital to protect the industry from being bankrupted by huge jury awards. Opponents, waging a tough battle against growing public support for the legislation, called it proof of the gun lobby's power over the Republican-controlled Congress.

"This legislation will make the unregulated gun industry the most pampered industry in America,'' said Kristen Rand, director of the Violence Policy Center.

Under the measure, as many as 20 pending lawsuits by local governments against the industry would be dismissed. The Senate passed the bill in July.

The bill's passage was the NRA's top legislative priority and would give Bush and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill a rare victory at a time when some top GOP leaders are under indictment or investigation.

"Lawsuits seeking to hold the firearms industry responsible for the criminal and unlawful use of its products are brazen attempts to accomplish through litigation what has not been achieved by legislation and the democratic process,'' House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., told his colleagues.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, did not vote. He is in Texas in connection with his indictment in an alleged scheme to violate state election law.

Propelled by GOP election gains and the incidents of lawlessness associated with the passing of Hurricane Katrina, support for the bill has grown since a similar measure passed the House last year and was killed in the Senate.

Horrific images of people without the protection of public safety in New Orleans made a particular impression on viewers who had never before felt unsafe, according to the gun lobby.

"Americans saw a complete collapse of the government's ability to protect them,'' said Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president.

"That burnt in, those pictures of people standing there defending their lives and defending their property and their family,'' he added, "where the one source of comfort was a firearm.''

With support from four new Republicans this session of Congress, the bill passed the Senate for the first time in July. House passage never was in doubt because it had 257 co-sponsors, far more than the 218 needed to pass.

The bill's authors say it still would allow civil suits against individual parties who have been found guilty of criminal wrongdoing by the courts.

Opponents say the strength of the bill's support is testament to the influence of the gun lobby. If the bill had been law when the relatives of six victims of convicted Washington-area snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo sued the gun dealer from which they obtained their rifle, the dealer would not have agreed to pay the families and victims $2.5 million.

"It is shameful that Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that guarantees their gun-dealing cronies receive special treatment and are above the law,'' said Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Calif.

Bush has said he supports the bill, which would prohibit lawsuits against the firearms industry for damages resulting from the unlawful use of a firearm or ammunition. Gun makers and dealers still would be subject to product liability, negligence or breach of contract suits, the bill's authors say.

Democrats and Republicans alike court the NRA at election time, and the bill has garnered bipartisan support. But the firearms industry still gave 88 percent of its campaign contributions, or $1.2 million, to Republicans in the 2004 election cycle.

Gun control advocates, meanwhile, gave 98 percent of their contributions, or $93,700, to Democrats that cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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Standing Wolf
October 20, 2005, 02:14 PM
Democrats and Republicans alike court the NRA at election time...

Yeah, and forget us before they've been in office ten minutes. This legislation is a solid decade overdue.

Werewolf
October 20, 2005, 02:37 PM
Anyone know if the house version had the silly amendments in it the Senate version did?

Does the bill go to conference or did the house just pass the Senate version?

Yanus
October 20, 2005, 02:39 PM
Yep........

The House passed the Senate version S. 397, so no conference committee. It goes straight to W's desk.

Yanus

TexasRifleman
October 20, 2005, 02:46 PM
Yep........

The House passed the Senate version S. 397, so no conference committee. It goes straight to W's desk.

Yanus


And yes, the House version did not have any of these weird add-ons, but we got what we got I guess.

parsec
October 20, 2005, 02:50 PM
"This legislation will make the unregulated gun industry the most pampered industry in America,'' said Kristen Rand, director of the Violence Policy Center.

The gun industry is actually the most regulated industry in the country. I don't know what's more disgusting. The fact that Kristen Rand just told a bald face lie, that the author just accepted it as fact, or that 99% of the readers will accept it as fact.

MountainPeak
October 21, 2005, 08:25 PM
Overall, this is a huge win for gun owners. It will help hold down future gun price increases, and it is a BIG blow to "gun control by lawsuit"! I'm surprised more people don't realize how BIG it really is. The anti-gunners seem to!!!! :) I'm loving all the whining.

Lone_Gunman
October 21, 2005, 08:29 PM
It will help hold down future gun price increases

Theoretically, anyway. However, tort reform has not resulted in a decrease in consumer prices for other things, so I doubt it will for guns either.

Tropical Z
October 21, 2005, 08:37 PM
The house bill was the one that should have passed and could have passed.The senate version could screw us down the road.It was all about Republicans appeasing the DemoRATS.

MountainPeak
October 21, 2005, 08:43 PM
Theoretically, anyway. However, tort reform has not resulted in a decrease in consumer prices for other things, so I doubt it will for guns either. Who do you think has been paying for these lawsuits? You know, all the suits, dozens of them, costing millions of dollars to manufacturers? My post said: "help hold down future gun price increases". The bill, without a doubt, will do that! IT'S GOOD NEWS for all of us.

MountainPeak
October 21, 2005, 08:46 PM
The house bill was the one that should have passed and could have passed.The senate version could screw us down the road.It was all about Republicans appeasing the DemoRATS. Actually a bunch of Dems., appeased various gun groups, and a Republican bill. They like their jobs in D.C.!

Crosshair
October 21, 2005, 08:47 PM
*Happy Dance*:cool:

Lone_Gunman
October 21, 2005, 08:47 PM
MountainPeak, it is good news, I agree. I realize we have all been paying for these lawsuits, but do not expect manufacturers to pass the savings on to consumers when they are free of these lawsuits.

Adventurer_96
October 22, 2005, 12:33 AM
One small issue that I haven't had explained to me is the Armor Piercing Ammunition clause. It seems that a few posters on other boards seem to think it's too broad-based of a clause, and that it might allow for the ban on many kinds of milsurp ammo.

Overall, I'm very happy, I just want this part explained to me a bit more.

/internet_discussion_forum_paranoia_off/

TexasRifleman
October 22, 2005, 09:03 AM
Everything I've read from the watchdog groups says that this is the exact same wording regarding AP ammo that is already statute, just restated here for the "feel good" effect.

Same thing with the locks, manufacturers already include locks in nearly all cases because so many states require it anyway, so it's redundant here.

Now, that is our sides spin on it, so who knows.

We can spin things as good as they can sometimes........

MountainPeak
October 23, 2005, 07:46 PM
MountainPeak, it is good news, I agree. I realize we have all been paying for these lawsuits, but do not expect manufacturers to pass the savings on to consumers when they are free of these lawsuits. I happen to have a little more faith in capitalism. When the costs of these suits disappear, I do believe, "it will help hold down future gun price increases". A LOT of prices WERE driven up by the expensive defense of frivolous suits. This bill stops a bunch of them!

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