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Pascrell, Author of Federal "Smart Gun" Legislation Fires Away at Gun Manufacturers Protection Bill

Location: Washington, DC

October 20, 2005

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today denounced House passage of legislation to immunize the gun industry from liability. As a former state legislator and mayor of Paterson to his current position in the U.S. Congress, Pascrell has been a leading advocate for common-sense gun safety. Pascrell is the author of H.R. 1423, the "Childproof Handgun Act," which he first introduced in 1999.

"Once again, this Congress has decided to represent a special interest group rather than uphold the health and safety of our communities," stated Pascrell. "Two weeks ago, it was the corporate energy giants who made out. Yesterday it was the multi-billion dollar fast food industry. Today the gun industry is on the receiving end of our misguided largess."

The Firearms Manufacturers Protection bill, S. 397, prohibits civil liability action from being brought against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms and ammunition when their products enable undue harm. After passing the Senate on July 29, 2005, the measure passed today in the House of Representatives by a vote of 283-144.

This is the second major federal policy decision in the past thirteen months that relaxes safeguards on the gun industry. On September 13, 2004, Congress failed to renew a ten year ban on the manufacture, transfer and possession of semi-automatic assault weapons.

"Terror camps know full well how easy it is to purchase firearms in the United States. It is printed in their training manuals. This Congress has recklessly enabled gun dealers to stock a deadlier inventory than ever before. It is unconscionable that we now excuse them from any responsibility for the guns that pass over their cash registers and into our communities.

Irresponsible gun dealers must be held accountable if they engage in dangerous behavior. It is a matter of public safety.

I support the second amendment, and am not here to prevent people from owning guns. I am not here to put gun dealers out of business. It is my responsibility to promote sensible gun legislation, which instead is moving dangerously backwards.

This legislation should be ripped up and sent back to where it came from-the NRA's leadership."

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