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Gun makers dodging the bullet

Crapo wants to make suing makers illegal


In state supreme courts, gun manufacturers have a near-perfect record of not being held responsible for the actions of their customers. The industry has been so successful, in fact, that 33 states have created laws banning civil litigation against gun makers, dealers and distributors for "misuse" of their products. Now Idaho Sen. Larry Craig wants to make the ban apply nationwide. In the last week, he has garnered extensive new support for his reawakening of a much-debated bill titled the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act."

According to the text of the act, civil lawsuits against the weapons industry are "an abuse of the legal system," which threaten "the diminution of a basic constitutional right and civil liberty." As such, Craig and the bill's cosponsors are demanding not only the ban of all future litigation, but also the dismissal of all pending action by victims of gun violence. In previous years, various forms of the bill have been stranded in committee when Democrats attempted to add on extensions of the assault weapons ban, require gun trigger locks and institute FBI background checks at gun shows.

Over the last week, four senators and 23 house members were added as co-sponsors for the Senate and House versions of the bill, making its total sponsorship 53 Senators and 199 house members. Several Democrats have vowed to continue battling the act, which is currently being discussed in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.