DeMint Votes to Stop Junk Lawsuits against Gun Manufacturers
July 29th, 2005 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) voted in favor of S. 379, the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act," which passed the Senate by a vote of 65-31. Senator DeMint is a cosponsor of the bipartisan legislation that will stop frivolous lawsuits against the firearms industry.
"We took a stand today for the Second Amendment and for commonsense," said Senator DeMint. "We wouldn't sue Ford or Chevrolet for a drunk-driving accident and we shouldn't punish American gun manufacturers for the acts of criminals. This bill is necessary because gun control activists can't win at the ballot box, and are turning to the courts with junk lawsuits to advance their liberal agenda."
The legislation, authored by Senators Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), prevents lawsuits against manufacturers and sellers of firearms or ammunition if the suits are based on criminal or unlawful use of the product by a third party. The bill expressly allow suits based on known violations of laws related to gun sales, traditional grounds including negligent entrustment (such as sales to a child or an obviously intoxicated person), breach of contract, or product malfunction.
"Our men and women in uniform depend on the American gun manufacturers to supply them with high quality weapons, whether they are going into battle overseas or protecting our streets here at home. If we allow our firearms industry to be sued out of business, which is what these lawsuits intend to do, we will not be able to adequately support our military and law enforcement."
Junk lawsuits against the firearms industry seek a broad range of remedies relating to product design and marketing. If the demands of gun control activists are granted, it would create major restrictions on interstate commerce in firearms and ammunition, including unwanted design changes, burdensome sales policies, and higher costs for consumers. Thirty-three states have enacted statutes blocking this type of litigation.