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house Bill H.R. 4399

Should it be Easier to Sue Gun Manufacturers and Distributors When People Misuse Guns?

Argument in favor

Existing legal protections for the firearm industry mainly benefit the worst behaving companies. Removing that immunity would encourage them to take steps to prevent guns from being sold and used in crimes.

Steven's Opinion
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02/29/2016
When they oppose legislation to better screen gun buyers so that people who commit mass shootings are less likely to get they're hands on one. All for the sake of making a profit, then let the "buck" stop with the manufacturer if we can't hold the consumer accountable.
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Mark's Opinion
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02/18/2016
I don't see this as any different than the tobacco companies.
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04/12/2016
I don't think it should be easier to sue them, but I also don't believe they deserve a no sue clause like that. No one deserves that kind of special treatment. We all know that a suit of gun makers by victims of violence will go nowhere. It would have no merit and be thrown out of court. Like if someone brought suit to a car manufacturer because a drunk driver killed their family. Not gonna fly, but preventing any company from being sued is just not right either. If someone has a legitimate reason to sue them, then they should be able to. Yes, I agree, our system is overly suing gung ho, but no one should be above the law!
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Argument opposed

Businesses in the gun industry that responsibly make, distribute, or sell properly functioning firearms shouldn’t be held responsible for individuals choosing to criminally misuse a gun that they’re purchased.

BernieSanders's Opinion
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04/12/2016
“What people are saying is that if somebody who is crazy or a criminal or a horrible person goes around shooting people, the manufacturer of that gun should be held liable... If that is the case, your position is that there should not be any guns in America, period.” [huffingtonpost.com]
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BTSundra's Opinion
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02/18/2016
It's not the gun manufacturer's fault what happens with the gun after its purchase (unless it's a malfunction, of course). Weapons can be use in crimes that aren't guns, too.
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AndrewGVN's Opinion
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02/18/2016
Gun manufacturers shouldn't be liable for the actions of others. It's like saying you are going to prosecute Microsoft for someone hacking into a government website while using Windows for an OS. The only people that should be liable is the person that did the crime.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4399?

This bill would repeal portions of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that provide manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of firearms, as well as their trade associations, with immunity from civil liability in negligence and product liability suits. Repealing those protections from civil liability would allow businesses connected with the firearm industry to be sued by the victims of gun violence.

The Firearm Trace System database that is maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) could be subpoenaed or otherwise used as evidence during legal proceedings in civil actions, federal court, or administrative proceedings.

Impact

Gun buyers, sellers, distributors, and manufacturers; victims of gun violence; civil and federal courts, as well as administrative hearings.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4399

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced this legislation to ensure that negligent gun companies can be held accountable for their actions:

“Good gun companies don’t need special immunity from the law, and bad gun companies certainly don’t deserve it. Other industries across our country like automotive manufacturers, pharmaceutical firms and even cigarette companies don’t enjoy special protection under the law, and there is no reason to give the gun industry the right to act negligently. As part of our larger effort to stop gun violence in the country, everyone — including gun companies — should be held accountable for their actions.”

This bill currently has 42 cosponsors in the House, all of whom are Democrats.


Of Note: Adam Winkler, a professor of law at UCLA, noted to NPR that under the PLCAA firearm companies aren’t completely immune from liability over product design flaws:

“The 2005 law does not prevent gun makers from being held liable for defects in their design. Like car makers, gun makers can be sued for selling a defective product. The problem is that gun violence victims often want to hold gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of a properly functioning product.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Screenshot from Flickr user Internet Archive Book)

AKA

Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act

Official Title

To repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, and provide for the discoverability and admissibility of gun trace information in civil proceedings.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedFebruary 1st, 2016
    When they oppose legislation to better screen gun buyers so that people who commit mass shootings are less likely to get they're hands on one. All for the sake of making a profit, then let the "buck" stop with the manufacturer if we can't hold the consumer accountable.
    Like (37)
    Follow
    Share
    “What people are saying is that if somebody who is crazy or a criminal or a horrible person goes around shooting people, the manufacturer of that gun should be held liable... If that is the case, your position is that there should not be any guns in America, period.” [huffingtonpost.com]
    Like (461)
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    It's not the gun manufacturer's fault what happens with the gun after its purchase (unless it's a malfunction, of course). Weapons can be use in crimes that aren't guns, too.
    Like (124)
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    Gun manufacturers shouldn't be liable for the actions of others. It's like saying you are going to prosecute Microsoft for someone hacking into a government website while using Windows for an OS. The only people that should be liable is the person that did the crime.
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    Stop blaming the manufacturers and dealers. If someone chokes on a carrot you don't sue the farmer.
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    Really? So you are going to sue GM or Ford if you get hurt by a vehicle? Sue the local city if you trip on a sidewalk and break your leg? The litigious society we live in has to stop.
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    I don't see this as any different than the tobacco companies.
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    People should be responsible for their own actions.
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    I don't think it should be easier to sue them, but I also don't believe they deserve a no sue clause like that. No one deserves that kind of special treatment. We all know that a suit of gun makers by victims of violence will go nowhere. It would have no merit and be thrown out of court. Like if someone brought suit to a car manufacturer because a drunk driver killed their family. Not gonna fly, but preventing any company from being sued is just not right either. If someone has a legitimate reason to sue them, then they should be able to. Yes, I agree, our system is overly suing gung ho, but no one should be above the law!
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    Knife makers, car manufacturers, chicken farmers whose bones choke dogs - when does the crazy end?
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    Right now those businesses are heavily funding the NRA and defeating every reasonable attempt at gun control legislation. So, let's make them directly liable for the carnage their business causes. Or let them help craft reasonable gun control legislation to protect the community, and themselves, in the process.
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    Absolutely NOT! That is punishing them for the actions of others in most cases! This is just another assault on our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms! It won't do a THING to keep weapons out of the hands of the bad guys. How are you going to keep the federal government from gun running?! Are we going to sue the manufacturers and dealers who made and sold the weapons that end up in the hands of people like El Chapo or ISIL?! In such cases, why doesn't the buck stop at the Oval Office?!
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    You don't sue car manufactures when a drunk driver kills someone while driving their car. The same goes for gun manufactures. Unless the manufacture made a design error that leads to injury there is no reason to sue them.
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    Really? By the same logic, should we be able to sue car manufacturers for the actions of a drunk driver? People get murdered with kitchens knives, do we sue the knife manufacturers? When does the stupidity end? Prosecute person doing the criminal act, not the makers of the inanimate object.
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    Are we going to start holding knife manufactures liable? How about craftsman tools, for selling bolt cutters and hammers both can and are used in violent crime
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    This idea reeks of the intellectual integrity of a goat. This is the equivalent of a person wanting to sue Apple because a hacker used a MacBook to bring down a website. Are we going to start suing Ford when a driver gets drunk and injures another driver in one of their vehicles? Should parents be able to sue McDonald's because their children are obese? People are responsible for their own actions. Companies aren't responsible when crazy people choose to buy their products.
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    To hold gun manufacturers responsible for the misuse of their product is comparative to trying to sue car manufacturers for getting caught speeding
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    NO! Gun makers should not be sued. The person committing the crime should be. Should Ford or Chevy be sued if someone misuses a car? No. How is this even a question?
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    How does it make any sense to sue gun manufactures for the mishandling of a firearm? Precautions are set in place to make sure that guns are sold to competent individuals. How can a gun store possible know someone's motives when buying a firearm? This legislation is a pure power grab by the federal government to regulate every facet of our lives and erode the bill of rights.
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    This matter of supposedly wanting to conduct the incompetent action of prosecuting an innocent individual for another's irresponsible actions. ITS EVIDENT THAT IF OUR NATION HAD THIS ABILITY THAT IT WOULD ILLUSTRATE US AS A DISASTER. I mean the amount of civil trial cases would BOOM! Simply because of this bill were to be approved (YEA) then our good old secular socialist friends and citizens would abuse this matter as leverage to manipulate manufacturers whose only due diligence was to simply construct an object for self defense. We have to be focusing on the big picture. 1. To not necessarily ban all Muslims which may be stated in unintended context but ban radical Islamic terrorism to prevent future inspiration for cycotic citizens to retrieve inspiration from Islam and begin harm on US soil. 2. Not confront the second amendment which the federal government took a significant oath not to infringe and buckle down on ensuring that citizens with the right character are having the ability to purchase any fire arm or gun. 3.Implement legislation that would not target weapon manufacturers but implement legislation that is equitable and appropriate to stabilize enhanced background checks and keeping weapons out of ISLAMIC TERRORIST Remember most urgently, Guns don't kill, nor dose manufacturers but the life /threatening individuals that contain these guns are the ones that initiate harm on our soil NOT LAW ABIDING CITIZENS!!!! To reiterate, the matter of blaming manufacturers for your OWN ACTIONS IS BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS. It's the exact same principle as stating that you should blame your teacher/professor for not doing your homework. Although, I do have a message to convey that all my sincere condolences go out to the lives lost during the Orlando shooting that recently unfortunately occurred and my heart goes out to the current struggling families and colleagues of the deceased at the massacre as well. As a highly recommended source to view I advise you to look at a fresh perspective of how The United States can begin its journey to alleviate attacks on U.S. Soil and by NOT IMPLEMENTING SECULAR DEMONIZATION OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT:https://www.facebook.com/rik.sexton/videos/4123638147897/. Additionally I give credit to the individuals that greatly comprehend the significance of this bill,incorporating profiles such as Loraki and ANDREWGVN as well, Thank you for your time
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