General

NRA: Corporate Lawyers Muddying the Waters Around Gun Laws

infographic showing an arrows pointed in opposite directions

Whether or not you supported him as a candidate, we would all like to think the next President will defend our rights under the Second Amendment. Early indicators are positive, but that does not mean the threat is diminished. It simply means we have one less entity against us. The threat from the antis is alive and they are up to their old tricks. In an attempt to counter the efforts of the NRA-ILA, and groups such as the Second Amendment Foundation, the anti gunners have formed anti-Firearms Accountability Counsel Task Force.


Here is the full story from the NRA.

The newly formed anti-gun Firearms Accountability Counsel Task Force was featured in a National Public Radio interview with attorney Mike Schissel of Arnold & Porter, one of the big corporate law firms that has joined together with other firms to provide free legal services to anti-gun groups. Mr. Schissel openly bragged about the “collective talent and collective manpower” of his group and that “the brute force of the major law firms in this country” would use “novel and aggressive thinking … to put a full-court press on the gun lobby.” infographic showing an arrows pointed in opposite directions This “novel and aggressive thinking” clearly does not involve telling the truth about the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), since Mr. Schissel claimed “There’s no other law—no other law at all—that shields consumer products from safety regulation.” He further alleged that “there are state laws that literally immunize a gun seller of any liability even if that gun seller knows he’s selling a gun to a criminal.” Unfortunately for Mr. Schissel, literally every part of his claim is untrue. The firearms industry is not the only industry to enjoy the type of protection the PLCAA affords, and it most certainly does not provide blanket immunity from lawsuits. Any honest lawyer would also understand that it is a federal crime to knowingly sell a firearm to a criminal. There is no law which can immunize against this action in such cases.

The truth is that gun manufacturers have been found liable for defective firearms and gun dealers have been held both criminally and civilly liable for selling guns to prohibited persons. While spurious claims like the Connecticut suit against Remington Arms and the Brady Campaign’s lawsuit against Lucky Gunner were dismissed, Badger Arms was found liable for selling guns to an obvious straw purchaser—a case Brady Campaign attorneys were forced to leave after violating Wisconsin Supreme Court rules on pretrial publicity.

The truth about the PLCAA cannot be clearer. It was passed after anti-gun activists partnered with big-firm plaintiffs’ lawyers, big-city mayors, and the Clinton administration to bring an avalanche of lawsuits against the firearm industry and force them to either settle or go bankrupt from legal fees. The PLCAA only prohibits lawsuits for injuries “resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse” of firearms—the same way that car manufacturers and auto dealerships are not liable for injuries caused by drunk drivers.

Schissel’s other “novel and aggressive” strategy is to claim that state carry laws infringe on the rights of private property owners because they have to post “No Gun” signs to exclude people who are legally carrying a concealed firearm. Following this line of reasoning, business owners must be equally burdened by having to post signs to exclude other legal activity—like “No Smoking,” “No Pets,” and “No Shirt-No Shoes-No Service.” It is laughable to think that the effort to post these signs is so terrible and onerous that it can only be remedied by the courts.

In the final analysis, corporate law firms are giving away millions of dollars of free legal advice because they would recover many times that in legal fees if they could repeal the PLCAA. Indeed, Mr. Schissel and his law firm are already involved in a lawsuit against a firearm dealer—a lawsuit that has been made more complicated because of the PLCAA. This is not about reducing criminal violence or the public interest, but rather corporate lawyers who can’t tell the truth seeking new ways to wring money out of the court system.

What anti gun efforts are happening in your area? What do you think is the biggest threat to the Second Amendment for 2017? 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 (22)

  1. yea, and their sensible gun laws are a national registration. of course that is the first thing they do before confiscation. the move they are going for now is electronic money. if we allow it they will then have total control over everyone. this is getting crazy and the leites just want total control over us pee ons! ! F@@@en!!!

  2. With regard to corporate actions impacting our 2nd amendment rights, Nevada has just passed legislation very similar to that of Washington state. It is now a criminal offense to lend / borrow a firearm without completion of a background check thru a licensed dealer or individual with an FFL. This requirement is necessary on both the loan of the firearm and the return to the original owner (as well as associated fees to the dealer / FFL). These efforts are alleged to be initiated, backed and funded in large part by the Bloomberg organization. These state-by-state assaults by anti-gun advocates are typically supported by well-meaning voters who feel compelled to take some type of action against unnecessary mass shootings however, the impact of these legislative actions only serve to impose hardship and financial burdens on law-abiding gun owners and shooting enthusiasts. I cannot imagine any individual wishing to do harm following these laws. Our best course of action as responsible firearms owners is to educate our friends and neighbors and involve them in our sports of hunting and recreational shooting in an effort to heighten their level of comfort with firearms.

  3. Hello an hope all you had a great Christmas an I wish us the best in this upcoming new year.. but I do believe in commen sence gun laws, but to go after the manufacture is just nuts, people kill people it takes a human being to pull the trigger an take another person life, I have many firearms an guess what not one of them has ever gone off without me pulling the trigger… what we need to do is hold are politicians accountable they dems an Republican an banksters have done so much damage to the middle class an our country lets start holding them accountable for there actions!!!! Now a person on a no fly list an people with mental issues they really do not need to be in possession of a firearm… remember all it is going to take is another terror attack an once again we will watch our rights an freedoms being stripped away..

    1. Nero- ” a person on a no fly list … they really do not need to be in possession of a firearm” REALLY??? An essential tenet of our society is that “no person shall be deprived of life or liberty without due process of law.” No sane person wants a terrorist to get their hands on a gun, but we’re living in the real world.

      The no-fly list is broken in every way conceivable. Senator Ted Kennedy was on the no-fly list, as have been a large number of international news correspondents. Some estimates show at least 10% of the people on the no-fly list are there incorrectly I worked with a man for four years who was on the no-fly list because he shared the same name (which was ridiculously stereotypically Irish) as an IRA bomb maker, even though the actual threat was sitting in a British prison with a multi-decade sentence.

      If the no-fly list can be used to revoke a person’s 2A rights, a bureaucrat can simply type your name into a text box and turn you into a felon. The proposed “no-fly, no-buy” legislation added persons on the no-fly list as a prohibited category under federal law. It is a felony for someone in a prohibited category to possess or purchase (or attempt to purchase) a firearm. When put on the no-fly list, you aren’t notified. No matter how many FOIA requests you file, you’ll never be told whether or not you are on the list. Since you won’t be told that you’re on the list, there’s no way to demand your day in court to have your rights restored. That is unequivocally unconstitutional.

      The only way my coworker discovered that he was on the no-fly list is that he had to fly frequently for his job. Every time he checked in at an airport, he was escorted by armed TSA agents to a small room, where he was locked in and forced to wait for an hour or more while they called D.C. so he could be cleared to fly. He and the company we worked for spent more than $25,000 in attorney fees trying to get him taken off of the no-fly list, or at the least get some process by which he could get cleared faster. When I left the company, he hadn’t taken a single step forward, even after years of fighting.

      I, like the vast majority of thoughtful Americans, don’t want to give any bureaucrat, serving any politician, the power to revoke the rights of any American without due process. How many conservative groups were targeted by the IRS during the current administration? What punishment was doled out for this? None.

  4. Why the hell are corporate lawyers sticking their nose into 2nd amendment rights issues? Maybe the NRA should start poking their nos into corporate law? I guess the anti-gun/anti-2nd amendment crowd are getting more desperate every day…reason to keep a close eye on them. Thanks for this informative article.

  5. Down in Tucson, Arizona the City of Tucson is choosing which laws it will abide by regarding firearms. Arizona state law requires firearms seized by law enforcement or the government to be disposed of by public auction to FFLs, provided that the guns are not defaced or otherwise non-transferrable. Tucson has been destroying seized guns instead. Now the matter is tied up in court and the City stands to lose more than $100 million in shared revenue payments.

  6. I have been a steadfast, outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment as long as I can remember. The following statement may appear to be illogical, but it also may be a factor in producing apathy amongst our fellow gun rights supporters. The number of fake second amendment support groups has reached a peak that apparently knows no bounds. Every day, I get panic e-mails from a number of these groups, begging for donations and claiming that the anti-gun apocalypse is just around the corner. The only ones that seem ready to submit a financial report are the NRA-ILA and the SAF.

    How can I know if a donation is going to be used for the purpose of defending our rights if the only presence I know of is a flood of e-mails that beg for money? Some of these people won’t even unsubscribe me from their lists.

  7. 1. This guy is a trial lawyer in NYC (which, btw, is very different from being a “corporate lawyer”). He is bound, on that basis alone, to be full of it on gun-rights issues and to deal loosely with the facts. And, indeed, his comments fit that bill.
    2. For every NYC wacko like this guy in that law firm’s NYC office, there are probably 2 lawyers in the Arnold & Porter Texas headquarters who think the NYC clown if full of it on gun-rights issues and is dealing loosely with the facts.
    3. His side lost the election. No stacking of the Supreme Court. No legislation in Congress. Wrong on the law. Wrong on the politics.

  8. I presume the lead to this story was written by Mr. Dolbee, so I address this to him. Whilst I am in agreement with the gist of the story, I am forced to wonder whether or not you have taken any class in logic and/or syntax when I read the following: “Whether or not you supported him as a candidate, we would all like to think the next President will defend our rights under the Second Amendment. Early indicators are positive, but that does not mean the threat is diminished. It simply means we have one less entity against us.”
    Now actual word definitions and logic tell us that reducing the number of entities against us by any number, even one, has, in fact “diminished” the opposition to our position– that’s what ‘diminished’ actually means. Had you said that “[it] does not mean the threat is eliminated…” it would have been accurate and logical.
    This may seem like nit-picking — and it really is — the fact remains that an inaccurate or illogical statement in a story’s lead can, and often does, cast the entire story in a questionable light.

    1. Bob,
      I have taken classes in logic as well as many other subjects. In fact, I have several college degrees. Several pieces of paper on the wall from institutions of higher learning does not guarantee you are smart (However, the cost will guarantee your pauper status for decades). That being said, I cannot walk on water, so I am fallible. I read your post with interest and then the story in question once again. I think you are confusing (or, if wrong, I am confusing) the number of opponents with level of the threat. We only have to lose one major battle and the Second Amendment as we know it would be changed forever; it would not be worth the parchment it was written on. Therefore, the number of anti gunners seeking to take away our rights is not as same as the level of the threat to the Second Amendment. The threat to our rights is just as dire regardless the number of people seeking to diminish that right. Perhaps a cogent argument could be made that the President, as the head of the Executive branch of government, is more powerful than a single person and thus more of a threat. However, your argument was simply about numbers and not the power of the Presidency.

      As I said, I am far from perfect. So, I will make you honorary editor for a day. After reading this rebuttal, if you still believe I am wrong, please let me know and I will happily change the story. The last thing The Shooter’s Log wants is a story about the threat from the anti gunners being cast in a questionable light because of a simple error. ~Respectfully, Dave Dolbee

    2. Hi Dave,
      First of all let me please apologise for the harsh tone of my opening comments in my earlier reply to your post. It pushed a “hot button” for me and reading online posts in general has rubbed that particular sore spot raw.

      Next I want to make it clear that we are both on the same side regarding so-called “gun control” legislation. I’m against it.

      Good point about higher education guaranteeing not much other than a lowered bank balance.

      Well, the passage I cited from your original post specifically refers to “…one less enemy among us” which seems to me to be a reference to the numberof opponents rather than the threat level (the old ‘fewer” vs. “more” debate). That’s basically my only complaint with your article. I like to be just as accurate with my words as I am with my firearms (or even moreso nowadays, given that my eyes are nearly 74 years old) because any inaccuracy in a statement on the subject of firearms law will be pounced upon by the anti-gun folks — and to be fair we do the same when they make their all too common faux pas.

      I do not consider the error, if it be one, to be so serious as to require post-publishing correction. I believe that neither of us is perfect, but your writing is seen by many more people than mine is, and so it deserves more careful scrutiny, if only to make it better. That being said, I welcome correction whenever I post something in error.

    3. Bob,

      I was not offended in the least. I welcome a challenge to what I write. Too often it may be clear to the author, but taken in a different tone by the reader We welcome input from the readers, and the more eyes, the better message we can deliver. I agree wholeheartedly with your point, and do not wish to give the antis any ammunition to use against us(The Shooter’s Log‘s audience can be tough enough – LOL). That is why I offered to let you make the call—no strings attached. We value your opinion, and that of every reader looking not to tear down, but to genuinely, and altruistically, support the Second Amendment.

      Also, if you are ever interested in trying your hand, we are interested in taking a look and making your voice heard. I would welcome an article from any reader on matters regarding the Second Amendment, equipment reviews, shooting drills, hunting etc. There are requirements of course; I cannot publish any or everything (and keep my job) and we reserve the right to edit to our guidlines, but please feel free to reach out if you are interested. That goes to any of The Shooter’s Log‘s readers as well. I will gladly send my email to anyone interested in sending a query. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! ~Dave Dolbee

    4. let me first apologize for my english. it was my worst subject. this election was the most important election in my life and i am certainly an old fart now. the supreme court is 4 to 4 vote that the second amendment is an individual right. now that is scary. 4 believe we do not have a right to even own a gun if the government decides we should not have them.. so the most important thing for trump is to put a pro gun person in the supreme court. if hillawitch666 would have won we would have lost the right. we are all in this together and i would rather not see it go to a civil war. no matter what our country decides,THEY CANNOT HAVE MY GUNS..

      I GUESS THE FIRST THING WE NEED THESE ANTI GUN LOSER DO IS TO PROSECUTE THOSE SELLING GUNS TO CRIMINALS ILLEGALLY let see, fast and furious, gee we need to throw obumbum and holder in jail. plus, we need to throw those in the ATFE that over saw that scheme that has killed over a thousand folks. my bet is those involved, at least some have been promoted by now.. i think it is time for a lot of folks breaking the law and having the end justify the means to be put in jail. if we put all those criminal anti’s in jail, well we certainly would not have much competition would we?

    5. Dave,

      If you are serious I would love to have your email to send you an email or two, even if it went no further than a good discussion between the two of us. I am an Army vet (Army Intelligence and yes I know that is a contradiction) and a huge 2nd Amendment supporter. I love ready your articles and those of others on this site but there are some things that have not been brought up that I would enjoy discussing with you.

    6. I sent an email to the address you supplied. Please respond to let me know it came through. ~Dave Dolbee

  9. As long as Trump keeps his word to honor the 2nd Amendment, these cases should be thrown out or legislation passed to keep from being infringed on toward any eligible citizen. I just get tired of the “antis” thinking they could come take our guns, which will NEVER happen.
    If these Liberals hate guns some much, hate Trump so much, hate our Flag, hate,hate ,hate everything, WHY DON’T THEY LEAVE?. That’s the million dollar question!

  10. Copy of email I just sent to Michael Schissel:

    Michael,

    Heard the interview with you on NPR. I have to say your “ambulance chasing” skills are exceeded only by your contempt for the Constitution. You are truly egregiously unskilled given your ignorance of Constitutional law let alone Common law. Fortunately, the Firm and yourself will more than likely lose money given the current mood in the country. I’d bet a gentleman’s $1 with you that, at the end of all of your Second Amendment and related litigation, the Balance Sheet of your battle will show a loss (less $ received from billionaire coffers which would render you a political tool rather than a bonified attorney).

    Sincerely

    XXxX. Xxxxxxx.

    1. True. However, I subscribe to the time honored saying of “Talk softly but carry a big stick” The wise choice now given the political winds of change of late, require me to talk softly in lieu of brandishing a big stick. Just as a postscript, I won’t ever voluntarily give up that big stick.

  11. As I have commented before, the “anti-Second Amendment” and “anti-gun” folks will never, ever quit their campaign to disarm America. As a young Army officer in my late 20s in the mid-1960s, I fought against the enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA68), writing countless letters to my senators and representatives…..all to no avail. Since those dark days that saw the birth of the BATFE, the ATF Form 4473, and numerous prohibitions and encumbrances against the acquisition of any and all firearms by commonly practiced means, we have certainly made some very heartening strides in recognition that We The People as law abiding citizens really do have a right to keep and bear arms…..even though there remain some onerous restrictions. Because we have come such a long way, it may be easy to feel comfortable with our current regimen of ownership and use of firearms, but we cannot become comfortable or complacent. There are constant and consistent reminders extant that there are people who wish to deny us of our rights. Many of those people are well funded and enjoy the backing of some prominent members of government, but we cannot…..we must not relax our vigilance, for to do so is to surrender to those forces who seek nothing less than confiscation and total disarmament of American citizens.

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