More Anti-Gun Media Bias


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general
May 8, 2003, 09:32 AM
The Denver Post Online (http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36%257E23827%257E1368524,00.html?search=filter)
Article Published: Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 12:00:00 AM MST

NRA aims for ban on lawsuits
Sellers, manufacturers would be protected
By Anne C. Mulkern, Denver Post Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Landscaper James Buchanan died while mowing a lawn on a bright October morning, gunned down by a sniper who fired a rifle from a nearby car.
Special / Linda Spillers
Vickie Snider’s brother, James Buchanan, was slain in the D.C.-area sniper attacks. Snider, of Rockville, Md., and her family are suing the manufacturer and dealer who furnished the gun used in the slayings.


The bullet struck the 39-year-old in the back, blew a hole through his chest and severed a major artery. He staggered 50 yards and collapsed.

"Sonny" Buchanan, as he was known, was the second victim of the serial killer whose random attacks terrorized the Washington, D.C., region last year.

Now he's an emblem in a political war.

Buchanan's family and other relatives of those killed in the sniper attacks have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer and dealer that furnished the Bushmaster rifle police say was used in the killings. The weapon was one of 228 that disappeared from Bull's Eye Shooter Supply in Tacoma, Wash., over a three-year period, a lack of record-keeping the families say was negligent.

CONTRIBUTION TALLY
In the Senate, 52 co-sponsors have signed on to a bill that would ban most lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers. Many of the co-sponsors were among the top recipients of campaign contributions from gun-rights organizations. Here is how much the top-recipient co-sponsors received in the last campaign.

Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. $12,900
Wayne Allard, R-Colo. $11,900
Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. $11,200
Michael Enzi, R-Wyo. $9,500
Pat Roberts, R-Kan. $8,950
Susan Collins, R-Maine $8,900
Pete Domenici, R-N.M. $7,000
Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. $6,500
Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. $5,250
Thad Cochran, R-Miss. $5,000
Ted Stevens, R-Alaska $4,950
Ben Nelson, D-Neb. $4,000
Max Baucus, D-Mont. $3,950
Tim Johnson, D-S.D. $3,500
Sam Brownback, R-Kan. $3,500
Judd Gregg, R-N.H. $3,000
Michael Crapo, R-Idaho $3,000

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

* Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is a co-sponsor, but had received $1,000 from gun- control organizations.

Figures are based on 2002 contributions of $200 or more from PACs and individuals to federal candidates, as reported to the Federal Election Commission.


Their lawsuit and others like it would be prohibited if legislation pushed by the gun-rights lobby passes the Senate in the next few months.

The National Rifle Association wants a federal law banning most lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers. The House in March passed such legislation on a 285-140 vote.

A similar version of that bill is now in the Senate with 52 co-sponsors, enough to pass barring a filibuster. President Bush supports it.

The gun industry says it needs the federal law to end frivolous suits intended to put gunmakers and dealers out of business and disarm gun owners. Such suits have cost $100 million to date, according to the NRA. Gunmakers shouldn't be punished, they say, because someone uses their product illegally. The gun-rights lobby hopes to rely on the precedent set in states such as Colorado, which has passed a law similar to the proposed federal legislation.

"We feel it's common-sense legislation," said Andrew Arulanandam, NRA spokesman. "These lawsuits are designed not to be successful but rather to bleed the gun industry."

Gun-control groups claim the law would give the gun industry unprecedented liability protection, would infringe on states' rights and take away individual rights to seek civil recompense.

As written, the bill would halt lawsuits currently in the courts.

"People think it's a frivolous lawsuit, but it's not about the money. That's not our ultimate goal," said Vickie Snider, 42, Buchanan's older sister. "I want people to know the irresponsibility of the gun shop. I don't want to see this happen to another family."

The push by the gun industry is not new.

Restrictions on lawsuits against gun dealers and manufacturers exist in 32 states, though gun-control groups say most are not as expansive as those this federal law would enact. Most existing state laws ban suits by municipalities or government agencies, but not from individuals, said Dennis Henigan, legal director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Colorado law bans almost all suits and is one of about five states with a law similar to the proposed legislation. Colorado's statute is among the most restrictive in the nation, Henigan said.

Industry faces many suits

Nevertheless, the gun industry considers itself under fire, facing suits from nearly 30 cities and counties.

There is also a claim from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that accuses gunmakers and dealers of harming African-Americans by negligently supplying criminals with firearms.

And there are several high-profile suits from individuals. Two New Jersey police officers recently sued a West Virginia pawnshop that sold the weapon used to shoot them at an Orange, N.J., gas station. The officers claim the pawnshop knowingly sold weapons to a felon - a violation of federal law - through an intermediary, a straw purchase.

The federal bill proposes banning all suits with a few exceptions: when a gunmaker or seller knowingly violates state or federal law applying to the sale of that product and someone is directly harmed by that sale; injuries resulting from product defects when the gun is used as intended; and when a dealer knowingly sells to someone he knows is likely to use the gun to harm someone.

"If there's a design flaw, etc., the gunmakers will still be held liable," the NRA's Arulanandam said. "If a criminal uses a gun to hurt someone, you go after the criminal, you don't go after the gunmaker."


But the sniper victims' families would not be able to sue, the Brady Center's Henigan said, because the gun dealer claims the gun was stolen, which means there was no violation of law and that the dealer did not knowingly turn over the gun to someone he knew would cause harm. The Brady Center says the Tacoma shop owner should have tracked the whereabouts of its weapons better and reported the 228 missing guns.

The federal legislation first came up last year just as the sniper shootings began. The House majority leader then pulled the issue, saying the timing was wrong.

It resurfaced quietly during the Iraq war and passed the House. Among the Colorado delegation, the vote was split along party lines: Republicans Scott McInnis, Marilyn Musgrave, Joel Hefley, Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez voted for the measure, with Democrats Mark Udall and Diana DeGette against.

Getting the legislation through the Senate isn't guaranteed, although those opposing the bill concede that 52 co-sponsors "is a bad place to start from."

Sen. Harry Reed, D-R.I., said he plans to lead a filibuster to keep the issue from coming to a vote.

"This is unprecedented," Reed said, a contention echoed by other opponents of the legislation. "We've never given this type of immunity to any industry."

To overcome a Democratic filibuster, backers of the law need 60 votes in the Senate, and are working furiously to collect eight more supporters. Both Colorado senators have agreed to support the legislation.

"If you apply the logic that a manufacturer can be held responsible for something he produces, why can't you apply that to cars or baseball bats or steak knives or anything?" said Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., who is a gun owner. "Anything can be used as a weapon."

Campbell said most gun lawsuits go after manufacturers and dealers because they have money, as opposed to the criminals who use the guns and are in prison or otherwise unable to pay.

He said he was not concerned about voting for the law given that he represents the state where 12 students and a teacher were killed in the shootings at Columbine High School, where the killers used at least one weapon purchased at a gun show.

"I think most people in Colorado recognize the tragedy of Columbine happened once at Columbine," Campbell said. "To imply that guns ought to be taken away from people or that manufacturers ought to be held liable for something that happened once in Colorado, I think that's stretching it."

Sen. Wayne Allard's spokesman, Dick Wadhams, said Allard favors the bill because he believes too many lawsuits are filed.

"He is always seeking to reduce the number of lawsuits we have in this society," Wadhams said.

Wadhams said Allard had no qualms about voting for such legislation after Columbine, and pointed out that in the November 2002 election, Allard's Democratic opponent - like Allard - opposed further gun controls, an indication of the state's attitudes about guns.

Law's details unclear

Some lawmakers who are co- signers are unclear about the details of the proposed law. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said last week she did not realize the bill limited lawsuits against gun dealers. She said she was more concerned about limiting lawsuits against manufacturers, and might consider offering an amendment to narrow the bill.

As the gun-rights lobby tried to secure eight more votes, gun-control groups are working just as hard. Buchanan's sister, Vickie Snider, and Denise Johnson, the wife of sniper victim and bus driver Conrad Johnson, are lobbying senators to oppose the bill, as are the two wounded New Jersey cops.

The issue is fraught with political peril for lawmakers. The gun- rights lobby is known to target politicians who do not vote the industry's agenda. The industry primarily supports Republicans, giving 93 percent of its $2.7 million in political contributions in the 2002 election cycle to that party.

From 1990 to the present, gun- rights supporters have given $17 million. Gun-control groups gave $1.6 million during the same period, with 94 percent of that money going to Democrats.

"They (gun-rights groups) have a lot of political clout from that," said Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which studies the interaction of money and politics. "The other thing they have is the ability to mobilize the grassroots. They have a lot of committed supporters."

The gun lobby plans to bring the bill to a vote only when it has enough votes to overcome a filibuster. It's now pushing uncommitted lawmakers to simply agree to vote to stop the filibuster, even if they don't want to ultimately vote for the bill.

The eight Republicans who haven't signed on as co-sponsors of the bill are Arizona's John McCain; Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island; Maine's Olympia Snowe; Ohio's Mike DeWine and George Voinovich; Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois; John Warner of Virginia; and Larry Craig of Idaho.

Spokesmen for Chafee and Fitzgerald said they hadn't decided on the bill but had some concerns. McCain said he hadn't yet read the bill. The other senators did not respond to inquiries about their positions.
:fire:
What they didn't say was how much the Anti's were funding -
From the same source: The Center for Responsive Politics:
Anti-Gun $ recipients
Rank Candidate Office Amount

1 Bradbury, Bill (D-OR) Senate $9,025
2 Carnahan, Jean (D-MO) Senate $8,500
3 Strickland, Tom (D-CO) Senate $8,000
3 Luther, Bill (D-MN) House $8,000
5 Clark, Martha Fuller (D-NH) House $7,500
6 Wellstone, Paul (D-MN) Senate $7,000
7 Kelley, Kevin (D-MI) House $5,500
7 Jacques, Cheryl A (D-MA) House $5,500
9 Cardoza, Dennis (D-CA) House $5,000
9 Torricelli, Robert G (D-NJ) Senate $5,000
9 Fink, Jeffrey John (R-AL) House $5,000
9 Feeley, Mike (D-CO) House $5,000
13 Gephardt, Richard A (D-MO) House $4,000
13 Sumers, Anne (D-NJ) House $4,000
15 Moore, Dennis (D-KS) House $3,500
16 Fink, David Howard (D-MI) House $2,500
16 Rivers, Lynn N (D-MI) House $2,500
16 Lucas, L Louise (D-VA) House $2,500
19 Helmke, Paul (R-IN) House $2,000
19 Romero, Richard M (D-NM) House $2,000
19 Pingree, Chellie (D-ME) Senate $2,000
19 Reed, Jack (D-RI) Senate $2,000
I guess I'm going to have to point this obvious bias out to them AGAIN!:fire: :banghead: :cuss:

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Jack T.
May 8, 2003, 09:48 AM
WooHoo! One of my Senators is at the top of the "CONTRIBUTION TALLY" list. :D

general
May 8, 2003, 09:55 AM
To letters to the editior The Denver Post:
What Anne C. Mulkern failed to mention in her obviously biased article was how much the Anti-gun lobby funding the politicians. It must have been an oversight, like her journalistic integrity.
From the same source: The Center for Responsive Politics:
Anti-Gun money recipients
Rank Candidate Office Amount

1 Bradbury, Bill (D-OR) Senate $9,025
2 Carnahan, Jean (D-MO) Senate $8,500
3 Strickland, Tom (D-CO) Senate $8,000
3 Luther, Bill (D-MN) House $8,000
5 Clark, Martha Fuller (D-NH) House $7,500
6 Wellstone, Paul (D-MN) Senate $7,000
7 Kelley, Kevin (D-MI) House $5,500
7 Jacques, Cheryl A (D-MA) House $5,500
9 Cardoza, Dennis (D-CA) House $5,000
9 Torricelli, Robert G (D-NJ) Senate $5,000
9 Fink, Jeffrey John (R-AL) House $5,000
9 Feeley, Mike (D-CO) House $5,000
13 Gephardt, Richard A (D-MO) House $4,000
13 Sumers, Anne (D-NJ) House $4,000
15 Moore, Dennis (D-KS) House $3,500
16 Fink, David Howard (D-MI) House $2,500
16 Rivers, Lynn N (D-MI) House $2,500
16 Lucas, L Louise (D-VA) House $2,500
19 Helmke, Paul (R-IN) House $2,000
19 Romero, Richard M (D-NM) House $2,000
19 Pingree, Chellie (D-ME) Senate $2,000
19 Reed, Jack (D-RI) Senate $2,000

I'm sure this is information you hope your readers will never see, unlike your obvious bias, which is all too plain.
Thank you,
:barf:
And to Anne C. Mulkern:
However, in your rush on this obviously biased piece, you failed to mention the Anti-gun rights top money recipients....
I'm sure it was an oversight - like your lack of journalistic integrity.

With the same attachment.:fire:

Ol' Badger
May 8, 2003, 10:03 AM
You know its not the gun makers that should be sued. It should be DuPont and all the Chemical manufactures that should get hammered! They made the powder and bullet that came out of the evil gun. Maybe we should sue the state where the lead came from too.
Stupid stupid stupid. I hate people sometimes (Well most often now):banghead: :banghead:

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