More NY Times garbage on S. 659...


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onerifle
February 16, 2004, 04:23 AM
Bratton teams up with the Brady Bunch...

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/16/national/16GUNS.html?ex=1077512400&en=b247c898ede5eac9&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE

Police Chiefs Campaign to Fight Senate Bill That Would Protect Gun Dealers
By FOX BUTTERFIELD

Published: February 16, 2004A large number of police chiefs and other law enforcement officials have joined gun control advocates in a campaign to defeat a Senate bill that would grant gun makers and dealers almost total immunity from lawsuits.

The bill, which is strongly supported by the National Rifle Association, is scheduled for a Senate vote in early March but could come up for a vote even sooner. As many as 59 senators have signed on as sponsors, only one vote shy of the number needed to defeat any attempt at a filibuster. A similar bill passed easily in the House last fall.

The police officials' campaign began last week when Chief William J. Bratton of the Los Angeles Police Department held a news conference there denouncing the bill. Chief Bratton and 80 other police officials then signed a letter to the Senate expressing their opposition. At the same time, a full-page advertisement featuring a photograph of Chief Bratton and paid for by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence appeared in The Washington Post.

The advertisement is expected to appear soon in other major newspapers and on television, and Chief Bratton, the former New York City police commissioner, said he would go to Washington to lobby senators.

The campaign is supported by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which represents the chiefs of police in the 50 largest cities.

"To give gun manufacturers and dealers immunity from lawsuits is crazy," Chief Bratton said in a telephone interview.

"If you give them immunity," he added, "what incentive do they have to make guns with safer designs, or what incentive do the handful of bad dealers have to follow the law when they sell guns?"

"This is not about doing away with guns, but about trying to ensure the safety of police officers and the American public," said Chief Bratton, who was police commissioner in New York City in the early 1990's when there was a sharp drop in homicides, as there was last year in Los Angeles under Chief Bratton.

But a spokesman for the N.R.A., Andrew Arulanandam, said most rank-and-file police officers supported the bill, and he dismissed Chief Bratton's criticism as ill informed.

"My response is, Chief Bratton ought to hire better lawyers," Mr. Arulanandam said.

Mr. Arulanandam said the bill "would not grant blanket immunity to every dealer and manufacturer," because in cases where a dealer or gun maker violated a state or federal law, a person could still sue.

Both Chief Bratton and lawyers familiar with the bill challenged Mr. Arulanandam's interpretation of the legislation, saying it does bestow immunity on the gun industry.

The wording is important, because the N.R.A. began pushing the bill to thwart lawsuits against the gun industry brought by nearly two dozen cities and counties. Of the 23 original lawsuits, 14 have been dismissed by courts, but 9 are pending, including suits in Cleveland; Chicago; Gary, Ind.; St. Louis; New York; Los Angeles; and San Francisco.

One lawsuit that could be jeopardized by the immunity bill has been brought by the families of eight of the people killed in the Washington-area sniper shootings. That suit, filed against Bull's Eye Shooter Supply, the gun shop in Tacoma, Wash., where the snipers' Bushmaster XM-15 rifle originated, and against the manufacturer, is scheduled for trial this fall.

According to an opinion written by Lloyd N. Cutler, a Washington lawyer who was just named by President Bush to the panel that will investigate intelligence failures before the war in Iraq, "The bill, if enacted, would require dismissal."

Mr. Cutler's opinion was sought by the Brady Campaign and a copy of it was provided to The New York Times.

Mr. Cutler said the bill would lead to dismissal of the suit because neither Bull's Eye nor Bushmaster violated a federal or state law in connection with the rifle, as would be required by the immunity bill. Although Bull's Eye was found by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to have lost 238 guns from its inventory, with no record of them being sold, the only evidence about how the snipers got the rifle was a statement by one, Lee Malvo, that he shoplifted the gun.

Both snipers, John A. Muhammad and Mr. Malvo, were prohibited by law from buying the gun — Mr. Muhammad because he was under a domestic restraining order and Mr. Malvo because he was a juvenile. But since there was no record the store sold them the gun, it cannot be charged with a violation of the gun laws, Mr. Cutler said.

Instead of charging the store with a legal violation, the lawsuit alleges negligence in the store's handling of its inventory, a claim made under common law doctrine, Mr. Cutler said. Yet negligence is not a violation of law, so the bill would force dismissal of the suit, he said.

Gil Kerlikowske, the police commissioner of Seattle, said he would go to lobby the Senate because his experience as a police officer had taught him that "civil lawsuits are the only way to ensure accountability" in the gun industry.

When he was police commissioner of Buffalo, Mr. Kerlikowske said, his officers found that most guns used in killings there came from a single store just outside the city limits. Data from the A.T.F. have shown that just 1 percent of dealers supply almost 60 percent of the guns recovered in crimes, Mr. Kerlikowske said, and this dealer was part of that tiny fraction of corrupt dealers.

Despite a decade of efforts, he said, the A.T.F. has been unable to shut that dealer down because of weak federal gun laws.

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Gray Peterson
February 16, 2004, 07:18 AM
"If you give them immunity," he added, "what incentive do they have to make guns with safer designs, or what incentive do the handful of bad dealers have to follow the law when they sell guns?"

Safer designs are not in fact safer designs.

As for what incentive do they have to follow the law, the bad dealers, how about prison time?

Tropical Z
February 16, 2004, 12:06 PM
Of course top LEO's want the bill to be shot down.It gives them more power!:cuss:

El Tejon
February 16, 2004, 12:17 PM
Rubbish!

Chief Wiggum, if "safer guns" is your goal, then why is law enforcement exempt from "safe gun" proposals? Why will the police not boldly step forward and carry "safe gun" junk?

When, oh, when will the gun dealers and makers band together and refuse to sell firearms or ammunitiong to law enforcement?

fix
February 16, 2004, 12:32 PM
The "us vs. them" theory seems to be morphing into more than just a theory.

Bruce H
February 16, 2004, 12:38 PM
Chiefs of police have very little to do with police and lots to do with political butt kissing. You can bet that Chief William J. Bratton is expecting to get a large winfall from Senators Feinstein and Boxer for his position.

Mulliga
February 16, 2004, 12:52 PM
I don't know about protecting dealers who are negligent, but manufacturers certainly deserve protection. I mean, the "snipers" happened to use a Bushmaster rifle - does Bushmaster really deserve to get sued? Why doesn't the family of the victim sue the manufacturer of the car that the killers used?

idd
February 16, 2004, 11:55 PM
February 16, 2004 A large number of police chiefs and other law enforcement officials have joined gun control advocates in a campaign to defeat a Senate bill that would grant gun makers and dealers almost total immunity from lawsuits.

I know that the byline says Fox Butterifled, but did The New York Times hire back Jayson Blair to co-write this story?

"Grant gun makers and dealers almost total immunity from lawsuits"? Not even close. The bill would prohibit only suits which seeks damages "resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the person or a third party," according to the plaintext of the bill as it appears on the US Congress legislation website. The bill specifically does not prohibit the following types of lawsuits:

(i) an action brought against a transferor convicted under section 924(h) of title 18, United States Code, or a comparable or identical State felony law, by a party directly harmed by the conduct of which the transferee is so convicted;

(ii) an action brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se;

(iii) an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly and willfully violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought;

(iv) an action for breach of contract or warranty in connection with the purchase of the product; or

(v) an action for physical injuries or property damage resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of the product, when used as intended.

Time and again The Times gets it wrong whenever the subject is gun.

Regards,

Idd


P.S. Does old man Sulzberger still have his concealed handgun permit?

bjengs
February 17, 2004, 02:48 AM
Why are we even worried? President Bush is a Republican, and therefore he will veto this bill.

HBK
February 17, 2004, 03:27 AM
The Times is no better than the National Enquirer these days. :rolleyes:

fallingblock
February 17, 2004, 04:44 AM
"The Times is no better than the National Enquirer these days."
************************************************************

The trouble is that so many people don't realize that fact.:eek:

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