General|Legal|News

Anti-PLCAA Bills Introduced in Congress

Adam Schiff talking at a podium about the PLCAA

Dual bills were introduced by gun control advocates in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) and subject firearms businesses to frivolous lawsuits by crime victims who seek action against the firearms industry rather than criminals. The NSSF is vigorously opposing this legislation—you should be too!

Adam Schiff talking at a podium about the PLCAA
This isn’t the first time a measure to repeal liability protections for the gun industry has been pursued. Schiff’s first measure was introduced in 2013, and has been repeated at least twice since. None of the measures passed.

Gun control advocates are are emboldened due to what looks like a race by certain political candidates to “out gun control” each other. While they play political games, gun manufacturers face extinction and become victimized. What other industry faces similar punishment for merely being manufacturing a product?

Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act

Sponsors: Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (DCT)


Sale ends July 28, 2019


Sale ends July 28, 2019


Background:

In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which provides immunity in both state and federal court from civil liability for licensed manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of firearms, as well as their trade associations, in most negligence and product liability actions. At the time PLCAA was passed, supporters of the legislation stated it was necessary to protect the gun industry from frivolous lawsuits and that victims of gun violence would not be shut out of the courts. Senator Larry Craig, the sponsor of the legislation, stated during debate on the Senate floor that “This bill will not prevent a single victim from obtaining relief for wrongs done to them by anyone in the gun industry.”

This assurance has proven to be false. Numerous cases across the United States have been dismissed on the basis of PLCAA even when the gun makers and sellers acted in a fashion that would qualify as negligent if it involved any other product, and many additional cases have likely not been brought because of the chilling effect of PLCAA’s blanket immunity. PLCAA immunizes the gun industry from their fundamental duty to act with reasonable care towards public safety, empowering the worst actors to act with impunity.

Legislation:

The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act will repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. It will allow civil cases to go forward against irresponsible actors in state and federal courts, just as they would if they involved any other product. Letting courts hear these cases would provide victims of gun violence their day in court. Additionally, the bill would incentivize responsible business practices that would reduce gun injuries and deaths.

Section-by-Section:

Sec. 1 – Short Title
Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act

Sec. 2 – Repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

  • Repeals PLCAA’s prohibition on bringing qualified civil liability actions against gun makers, distributors, sellers, or trade associations in state or federal court.
  • The version of PLCAA that was signed into law included two additional sections added through amendment which are not repealed by this bill – Section 5 pertaining to gun storage and safety devices, and Section 6 pertaining to penalties for use of armor piercing ammunition.

Sec. 3 –Discovery and Admissibility of Relevant Gun Trace Data

  • Legislative riders on the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Bill prohibit the discovery and introduction into evidence of ATF gun trace data as part of civil proceedings in state and federal courts. Section 4 repeals this provision so that plaintiffs can subpoena and introduce gun trace data relevant to their case, for example to establish a pattern of negligent behavior on the part of a firearm maker or dealer.

“Responsible actors in the gun industry don’t need this limitation on liability. And the irresponsible ones don’t deserve it,” California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said at a press conference Tuesday.

“All we’re doing through this proposal is giving victims of gun violence their day in court,” said Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, co-sponsor of the bill’s Senate version.

The NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) oppose the bill.

“It’s like blaming Ford or General Motors for the negligent use of their cars,” said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of government affairs for the NSSF. “It is wrong to hold the gun or any other industry liable for the criminal misuse of non-defective products sold lawfully.”

This isn’t the first time a measure to repeal liability protections for the gun industry has been pursued. Schiff’s first measure was introduced in 2013, and has been repeated at least twice since. None of the measures passed.

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was passed in 2005 and former President George W. Bush signed, blocked civil actions against ammunition and firearm dealers, builders, or trade groups when a firearm is used to commit a crime.

Existing law hasn’t stopped victim advocates from trying to hold gun makers responsible for gun crimes. Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled in March that Sandy Hook shooting victims’ families could sue Remington Arms. Remington is appealing the ruling.

Will this latest round of gun control measures against the PLCAA in the House and Senate pass? How can we stop this kind of irresponsible legislation attempts? Share your answers in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (10)

  1. The GREATEST threat to America and the Constitution are Democrats and the news media. China, Russia, North Korea, Illegal Immigration and global warming (?) are a very very distant second. Prepare accordingly.

  2. Let’s say someone is injured or killed by a drunk driver. So now why can’t the injured person or the families of the deceased sue the automobile manufacturer, the company that made the alcoholic beverage, the bartender that served the alcoholic beverage and so on. Whatever happened to limitation of liability? Repealing the PLCAA will only bankrupt the firearm industry and tie them up in court which is the ulterior motive of the gun grabbers. No more guns equals no more murders and no more crime, unless of course you are a criminal in the first place that doesn’t care about the carnage they create. Repealing the PLCAA is nothing more than a despite act towards eliminating the firearms industry, however, all of the politicians that want to eliminate the PLACC are probably protected by armed security 24,7,365. What a bunch of hypocrites.

  3. Just a hint of what would happen if the demo-socialists regain control of the Senate and presidency. Their intention is clear, Make gun ownership outrageously expensive, Put manufactures out of business, repeal the Second Amendment if possible, and if they thought they could get away with it, have the military go house to house and seize all firearms.

    It should be obvious that Adam Schiff is a liar at best. Recall he went on the news almost every evening news promising he had incontrovertible proof that Trump “colluded.” He didn’t offer it to Mueller, or anyone else. The man does not care about the division of truth from fiction. How could anyone trust legislation he is behind?

  4. How stupid, if this is the case it’ll be cars, cell phones that are killing people left and right, muslims, the Clinton’s, and the list goes for ever. Leave the 2nd amendment and Constitution along !!

  5. This wld be like someone crashing into me on the road & suing my car manufacturer for how I drove they’re car. It’s bullspit !

  6. I can imagine lawsuits against a product that failed to function as designed, not frivolous misuse by individuals.

  7. I have often wondered what Democrats like Adam Schiff and others would say if presented with the following argument that was eluded to above: it is necessary to hold the automobile industry or in this hypothetical scenario Ford Motors responsible for a drunk driver killing a victim using a Ford 150 just as it’s necessary to hold the gun industry or again in this hypothetical instance, Remington responsible for the killing of a victim using a Remington 1911, as hypothetical examples. There is no difference in logic or persuasion in both examples. But why stop there? If a murder is committed using a Bowie knife than by the same Schiff reasoning, we must hold Bowie responsible for the killing. Or since Cain killed Abel with a rock than we have no other choice but to blame God for creating the rock in the first place. Where does it stop? What happened to placing blame squarely on the person responsible for the criminal act instead of trying to divert responsibility on others?

  8. I being a US citizen, believe I and other law-abiding citizens have the right to protect my family, myself and my property against an intruder. If the Constitution Of The United States, allows me to carry a gun legally than I in my own heart do not believe the “gun” kills people intentionally, it is the person who the Constitution is permitting to carry legally not illegally, the offender makes the choice to cross the line. As far as having too many guns circulating, If we are to blame the gun for all the wrongful intentional killing than we should hold the Tobacco companies liable for killing intentionally because they know,(its been scientifically proven) cigarettes are cancer causing. It too is open for debate due to the fact that if we don’t pick up a cigaret than we don’t kill ourselves if we don’t intentionally pick up a gun to harm someone with malice and not for protection, then its the person who commits the crime, not the gun.

  9. Stop electing the idiots that think up all of these ignorant laws that have ZERO effect on criminals and puts ALL of the onus on law-abiding citizens and industries!!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit exceeded. Please click the reload button and complete the captcha once again.

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.