Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gun Makers Saw No Role in Curbing Improper Sales

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
FEDERAL PROTECTION FOR THE GUN INDUSTRY Congressional Republicans surrounded President George W. Bush as he signed a law shielding firearms manufacturers from liability in 2005. Testimony from lawsuits filed before the bill passed provides a look at the gun makers’ thinking. 

The Glock executive testified that he would keep doing business with a gun dealer who had been indicted on a charge of violating firearms laws because “This is still America” and “You’re still innocent until proven guilty.”  

The president of Sturm, Ruger was not interested in knowing how often the police traced guns back to the company’s distributors, saying it “wouldn’t show us anything.” 

And a top executive for Taurus International said his company made no attempt to learn if dealers who sell its products were involved in gun trafficking on the black market. “I don’t even know what a gun trafficker is,” he said. 

The world’s firearms manufacturers have been largely silent in the debate over gun violence. But their voices emerge from thousands of pages of depositions in a series of liability lawsuits a decade ago, before Congress passed a law shielding them from such suits in 2005, and the only time many of them were forced to answer such questions. 

Although I can understand their position, it does seem a bit unfair that they can profit from the flow of guns into the criminal world, and even lobby for laws which make that possible, and still claim that they're not responsible in any way.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.


  1. So you're suggesting that a gun manufacturer produces a legal product, sells it to a licensed dealer, and when the person who buys the firearm from the dealercommits a criminal act, the manufacturer is somehow legally or ethically liable? Or if the dealer illegally sold the gun to a prohibited person, it's the manufacturer's fault?
    I'm making an assumption that before gun one gets sent to a dealer they get a copy of the FFL from the dealer. Then maybe give the ATF a call to confirm.
    At what point is the manufacturer of a legal product no longer responsible for the misuse of the product. Especially when they sell to someone who is federally licensed by the government.
    Would this be possibly be similar to holding a drug company liable for the criminal misuse of it's product when a licensed pharmacist diverts product to black market dealers?

  2. A company that makes a legal product that has many legitimate and safe uses and that functions as designed and sells that product with honest labelling should be protected from frivolous suits.

  3. Sorry, but the only person(s) that hold responsibility for crime are the criminals themselves. Not the guns, not the ammo, not the knives, not the cars, not the alcohol, not the drugs, not anything but the criminals.

    Why do so many people want to excuse criminals for their actions, or lessen their blame? Is it a complete loss of the concepts of right and wrong?

  4. . . . and still claim that they're not responsible in any way.

    I think they can do that since they're obviously not responsible in any way.

  5. There are some significant problems with product liability lawsuits. The one I find most significant and objectionable is the idea that someone else should be held responsible for my actions and subsequent results. Regardless of the product, if I use it to commit a crime I see no reason for the manufacturer or anyone else in the “chain” who acted legally to be held in any way responsible for my actions or their results. I can commit crimes with a gun, hammer, knife, car, match, pillow, computer, pesticide, heavy metal, ipad, cell phone, coke bottle, tire iron, camera...the list is endless. In each case, I and I alone would be responsible for my actions, not the manufacturer.

  6. Mike, can you articulate what the PLCAA protects and doesn't protect?

    1. Why don't you tell us since you brought it up?

    2. It is one of the few bills that is aptly named. It protects lawful commerce only. Manufacturers can't be sued just for making guns. They CAN still be sued for making faulty products, commiting crimes, negligent practices, etc., basically all the things any other manufacturer of other products can be sued for. The only reason why this bill is in place is because the gun industry has been the target of so many frivolous lawsuits by gun control folks.

      Of course this has been explained to you dozens of times (including above)- it just doesn't seem to be registering.

    3. Mike, juxtapose your statement above with the $600K Kahr Arms settlement of last year. How is that possible? It is proof that the Brady Campaign has lied about what the PLCAA does. And I purposely used the word "lied" which is not something I throw around lightly. I apply the Greg Camp standard that in order to be a lie it must be shown that they said something that they knew to be false. The Brady website still says that the PLCAA grants blanket immunity to the industry against lawsuits, but when arguing for the plaintiffs in the Kahr suit, Dennis Hennigan said it does not protect against negligent practices (like we said all along). The fact that they won proves that the "immunity" line is a lie, and in a brazen act of having zero respect for their audiance's intelligence, is something the still perpetuate even after the settlement.

    4. But . . . wait . . . that would mean that . . . gun makers are subject to the same product liability lawsuits all other manufacturers are subject to? But Lawrence said . . .

      Ah, isn't the truth a wonderful thing! Too bad so many in politics and the media are not acquainted with it.

    5. I doubt Mikeb will ever adopt my standard, but thanks, TS.