PLATFORM/Guns and courts
The U.S. Senate recently voted 90 to 8 against a bill that would have shielded gun manufacturers and sellers from the kinds of lawsuits filed in recent years by crime victims and local and state governments. The bill would have protected gun makers and dealers from civil lawsuits except in instances when they sold or distributed defective firearms or engaged in illegal sales. The measure, which passed the House, failed in the Senate after a couple of gun-control amendments were attached to it.
According to CNN.com, approximately 25 local governments “have filed lawsuits accusing gun manufacturers of negligently marketing their products in ways that make them readily available to criminals and of failing to include safety features.” American City & County asked readers of its e-mail newsletter if the gun industry should enjoy any degree of protection from lawsuits. The vast majority of the respondents said the industry should. Below are two responses: one for liability protection and the other against.
“Gun manufacturers should be exempt from liability, except for cases when they sold or distributed defective firearms or engaged in illegal sales. The accidental or intentional act of injuring or killing, outside of the exceptions listed above, is solely the responsibility of the user. This is no different than someone dropping or throwing a hammer and striking someone on a construction site. This is no different from someone driving a car intoxicated or losing control of an automobile, causing injury to another. My point is the manufacturers in all of the above incidents did not create the results. None of the manufacturers should be held liable.”
— James Oberle, firefighter-paramedic, Delaware, Ohio, Fire Department
“The federal government should not make any attempts to enter the lawsuit indemnity arena. Legal liability is a decision for a jury, not a legislative caucus influenced by lobby dollars. Knowing what we do today, imagine how we’d feel if, back in the 1950s, cigarette makers were given liability indemnity.”
— Matthew Balling, senior planner, Genesee County, N.Y., Department of Planning