PROTECTION OF LAWFUL COMMERCE IN ARMS ACT -- (House of Representatives - October 20, 2005)
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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. I am an original cosponsor of the House version of this legislation, H.R. 800.
A lawsuit against a gun manufacturer simply for being a gun manufacturer has no business in American courts.
I am proud that every court in our judicial system has agreed with that and has thrown out these frivolous lawsuits.
However, in U.S. courts we have the American rule, where each side pays their own legal fees under normal circumstances, instead of the English rule, where the loser usually pays.
Generally, I support the American rule because it is fairer to individuals seeking relief from large firms.
Unfortunately the American rule can mean that frivolous lawsuits which have no chance of going anywhere still impose a terrible burden on parties.
Some people in this country are politically opposed to the firearm industry and believe most firearms should be illegal or hard to obtain.
So these folks do not have a problem spending non-profit money and public money on a losing lawsuit in pursuit of ideology.
However, that is not fair to the firearm industry, which is not only completely legal, but has the right to own their product enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
Therefore, it is particularly bad that the firearm industry has had to pay $200 million to defend themselves from frivolous lawsuits that have never, ever succeeded in court.
S. 397 only protects legitimate businesses that comply with Federal, State and local firearm laws.
The bill does not waive liability for actually defective products, breach of contract or warranty, or other causes that are not related to third-party criminal misuse of firearms.
If we are going to sue firearm makers for armed robberies, why not go on and sue the auto maker who made the get-away car?
The idea is absurd, but some groups and politicians want to punish firearm manufacturers for their very existence.
As a result, we must pass S. 397 and send it to the President.
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