Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act--Motion to Proceed

By:  Lindsey Graham
Date: July 27, 2005



Mr. GRAHAM. Madam President, I rise to speak in support of S. 397, protecting gun manufacturers from lawsuits that basically would hold the manufacturer liable if someone bought a gun and intentionally committed a crime with it, was irresponsible in its use. I believe everybody should have their day in court for a legitimate grievance. But it is not legitimate, in my opinion, to sue someone who makes a gun lawfully, that is not defective, and that person is held responsible in court because some other person who bought the gun decides to misuse it, to commit a crime with it. That would ruin our economy. It would fundamentally change personal responsibility in America. This bill is a cultural moment in American history.

The second amendment gives us a right to bear arms, but it is not unlimited. We have to be responsible. We have to responsibly use that right. The idea that you could sue someone who is lawfully in business because someone else chooses to do something bad will destroy the way America works. It is a ridiculous concept.

Suing gun manufacturers for defective products is included in this bill. Everyone should stand behind what they make and put in the stream of commerce. That has not changed. The only thing that has changed is we are cutting off a line of legal reasoning that has extended to fast food now: ``The reason I have health problems is because you served me food that was bad for me.'' The bottom line is, if we go down this road, we are going to make America noncompetitive in the 21st century, and we are going to rewrite the way America works--to our detriment.

The rule should be simple. If you make a lawful product and someone chooses to buy it and they decide to misuse it, it is not your fault, it is theirs. You are not going to have your money taken because somebody else messed up. Madam President, $200 million in legal fees have already been incurred by gun manufacturers because of this line of reasoning. You win in America; you still lose.

If you want to make sure our country is secure in the future, let's make sure people can manufacture arms in America and we are not dependent on foreign sources for arms for the public or the military. There is a lot at stake here. I enthusiastically support this limitation on what I think would be not only a frivolous lawsuit, but a dangerous concept that will change America for the worse.

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