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Let Freedom Ring for Nation's Gun Makers

Discussion in 'Legal' started by JG, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. JG

    JG Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    This one's a real treat - JG

    Let Freedom Ring for Nation's Gun Makers: Ann Woolner (Correct)
    2005-08-05 08:35 (New York)

    Commentary. Ann Woolner is a columnist for Bloomberg News. The
    opinions expressed are her own.)

    By Ann Woolner
    Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- If I were an industry, I would hire
    lobbyists and hand out lots and lots of campaign money to
    politicians. Then, I would persuade them to pass a law to keep
    people from suing me.
    If I were really good at this, the law would force judges to
    toss out lawsuits already filed against me, no matter how worthy,
    no matter which court.
    First, I would blame those greedy plaintiffs' lawyers for
    trying to bleed good industries like me dry. I would point to the
    craziest lawsuits I could find (is the McDonald's hot coffee case
    overused?) to distract people from the solid cases, the ones
    filed because my carelessness did hurt people.
    If I could do all that, I would be the gun industry.
    Getting a special pass from legal principles that hold every
    other business accountable for their actions is the latest thing
    in lobbying. Morticians in Indiana did it. So did coconut-tossing
    Mardis Gras float riders in Louisiana.
    There is much competition for the Audacious Lobbying Award,
    given to the industry that wins the most sweeping protection in
    the largest number of courthouses. And yet it clearly goes to gun
    makers, distributors and sellers and their chums at the National
    Rifle Association. Last week they got a bill through the Senate that gives them
    protection other industries can hardly imagine.

    Headed for Passage

    ``Freedom prevailed,'' declared NRA leaders on the group's
    Web site.
    The bill will get blessed by the House, which previously
    passed a similar one, and then go to President George W. Bush, an
    outspoken fan of the historic bill.
    ``No other industry enjoys or has ever enjoyed such a
    blanket freedom from responsibility,'' University of Michigan law
    professor Sherman Clark said in a letter to Congress.
    When the law goes into effect, no longer will gun businesses
    be considered liable for negligence that contributes to a
    shooting death or injury. (They still could be sued for guns that
    ``This bill says go after the criminal, don't go after the
    law-abiding gun manufacturer or the law-abiding gun seller,'' the
    bill's chief sponsor, Senator Larry Craig, Republican of Idaho,
    told his colleagues last week.
    That's one way to put it. Here's another.
    The bill is so broad it would protect gun sellers who ``park
    an unguarded pickup truck full of loaded assault rifles on a city
    street corner, leave it there for a week,'' Clark said in the
    letter, signed by 79 other law professors.

    Murder Weapon

    When one of those guns turns up as a murder weapon, only the
    killer could be held responsible, not anyone careless enough to
    leave a truck full of firearms.
    If you think that's how it should be, then lobby Congress to
    do the same for every other business. All it has to do is wipe
    out decades of state and federal case law.
    ``Because it strikes down basic negligence claims, it
    overrides the laws of virtually every state in the country,''
    says Daniel Vice, a staff attorney for the Brady Campaign to
    Prevent Gun Violence.
    For what this means in real life, consider these cases, from
    the Brady Campaign's files.
    A man and a woman walk into a West Virginia pawn shop. He
    picks out a dozen semi-automatic handguns. She pays cash for
    them, clears a background check and the couple totes them off.
    This is exactly how a typical gun trafficker behaves. Can we
    guess his customer base?

    Suspected Robber

    Sure enough, one of those guns turns up in the hands of a
    suspected armed robber in Orange, New Jersey, who shoots a couple
    of cops, seriously wounding them and ending their careers,
    according to Brady spokesman Peter Hamm.
    Was the shooter responsible? Sure. Was the pawn shop? Under
    standard negligence principles, most likely. It settled for $1
    million and established a one-gun-per-customer-per-month rule.
    That is the sort of case that will be tossed out when the
    Senate bill becomes law. Let freedom ring.
    Here's another one. Brian Borgelt, former owner of Bull's
    Eye Shooter Supply in Tacoma, Washington, was so lax with his
    guns and books that he lost track of 238 weapons and belatedly
    reported them stolen.
    Gee, who in the world would steal a gun?

    Shoplifted Rifle

    An under-aged customer named Lee Boyd Malvo later told
    police he shoplifted a Bushmaster rifle from that store. Indeed,
    that is the weapon police confiscated when they arrested him and
    his companion, John Allen Muhammad, after a shooting spree that
    killed 10 people, mostly in metropolitan Washington, in 2002.
    Victims and their families sued Bull's Eye and Bushmaster,
    which considered Borgelt's store one of its top suppliers, sloppy
    management notwithstanding. They settled last year for $2.5
    And then there are the lawsuits, which are the main targets
    of the bill, brought by cities against the industry. Most have
    been kicked out of court, in large part because of immunity bills
    passed by state legislatures. Four remain, according to Vice.
    They were brought by New York City; Washington; Gary, Indiana;
    and Cleveland, Ohio.
    They may sound ridiculous, but consider this statistic. Of
    the traceable guns used in crimes nationwide, 57 percent came
    from 1.2 percent of the nation's gun dealers, according to a 2000
    report by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and

    Holding Dealers Accountable

    Is it ridiculous to hold those dealers accountable, or the
    gun makers and distributors who send their wares to these places?
    If so, why should hoteliers be sued when they fail to repair
    perpetually broken locks and their guests get robbed and raped?
    Let freedom prevail for them, too.
    Give immunity to polluters, while you're at it. That almost
    happened last month when the energy bill was making its way
    through the Senate.
    And give the pharmaceutical companies freedom, too. The
    House made a stab at it last week by voting to disallow punitive
    awards for plaintiffs suing drug companies because a federally
    approved medicine turned out to be dangerous.
    ``Every legislative session in the states and, to a lesser
    extent in Congress, there are dozens of immunity bills,'' says
    Carlton Carl, spokesman for the American Trial Lawyers
    Pass them all, I say.
    And while you're at it, how about giving me a little
    immunity from libel suits?
  2. LawDog

    LawDog Moderator Emeritus cum Laude

    Dec 20, 2002
    Holy sheep dip, Batman! The impudence of it all, to actually hold the killer responsible for the murder! Civilization will fall down around our ears! Hottentots at the gates, Philistines rampaging through the streets, dogs and cats living together, I...I...feel an attack of the vapours coming on.

    Oh, wait. I'm not a liberal.

    Never mind.

  3. Fletchette

    Fletchette Senior Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    The utter illogic of her politics is discombulating.

    ...and it is liberals like her that are shocked when the Red States refuse to follow them?!?

    Note to Ann: this is why we voted for Bush (...or against Kerry).
  4. Fletchette

    Fletchette Senior Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    My quick e-mail:


    Respectfully, you have flawed logic. None of your analogies are comparable. A more proper analogy is to prohibit an automobile manufacturer from getting sued if one of the cars he made is used in vehicular homicide.

    Holding the murderer responsible for his crime is justice.

    Really, the first thing that entered my mind after reading your angry commentary was utter astonishment at how liberals can be shocked at Bush's re-election. The attitude expressed in your commentary is why Democrats are not getting elected.


  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    Well said, Fletchette!
  6. DeseoUnTaco

    DeseoUnTaco Member

    Jun 26, 2005
    I really think this immunity bill was a mistake. The NRA has a limited amount of political capital, and I would rather see them using it to fight for our rights, not for industry protections.
  7. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    All the rights in the world aren't going to do us any good if a.) there are no firearms makers left in business, or b.) they're still in business, but the price of any given pistol is pumped up $100 to cover the manufacturer's legal costs.

    Are you sure the N.R.A. had to expend political capital? Seems to me it just gained capital.
  8. shermacman

    shermacman Senior Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Where did you find her email address? Not that she would read it, I suppose.
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Well as is usually the case, the lady commentator, miss the principal point:

    If a manufacturer is negligent does that mean that everyone else in the industry can be sued too simply because they make a similar product?

    If a newspaper prints a libelous article does that mean that the injured party or parties can sue all of the other newspapers in the country, charging that they are equally guilty because they are also newspapers?

    All this present bill really says is that if a manufacturer, distributor or dealer really does do something negligent or illegal the injured party(s) can sue.

    But they can't sue everyone else simply because they happen to be part of the same industry.

    Such as for example, happened in New York where a young man was shot accidentally by someone else while both of them were looking at guns being sold by an illegal gunrunner out of the back of his truck. When the victim(?) couldn't identify what the make and model of gun was used, lawyers representing some gun-grabber organizations proceeded to sue every known handgun manufacturer.

    This is what the new law will stop, and the Democrats and Leftists don't like that one bit. Neither does the liberal news media. But strike out the words “gun maker,” and replace it with “news media,” and see what they say.
  10. Al Norris

    Al Norris Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Rupert, ID.
    It's a done deal and not only are they still twisting what the bill does, but they're moaning about how unfair life is...

    Just like Kerry's unelection...

    or more importantly, how Bush stole the election of 2000 from, um, what's-his-face!

    :neener: :neener: :neener: :neener:
  11. Derby FALs

    Derby FALs Member In Memoriam

    Jul 29, 2004
    Louisville, KY
    The bill is flawed and the Senate version will be too. :banghead:

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