Monday, February 28, 2005

Lawsuit Immunity Battle Coming

Casting about for more firearms reading (as if I truly needed more) I found a "cute" little article in the New York Times (registration required).

New York City plans to oppose a new Federal firearms lawsuit immunity bill that's up for vote before too long. The bill would prevent municipalities and others from suing firearms manufacturers for not “controlling” how guns are distributed. That is, if a criminal gets a gun and uses it in a crime, it’s the gun dealer’s and manufacturer’s fault not the criminal’s. Cities that have brought these suits claim gun violence costs them too much money and the manufacturer or the dealer should reimburse them for these costs.

A number of cities have filed such suits and none have won. Certain suits were dropped because a state government passed an immunity bill, others were dismissed on legal grounds, cities out and out lost still others, and a few are pending. It’s not a good legal theory and hasn’t been a winner for gun-grabbers. Still, they persist.

Last March, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted for their version of lawsuit immunity, but it died in the Senate. Actually, its sponsor killed it because anti-gun Senators larded it up with amendments including an extension of the “assault weapons” ban and other things poisonous to us gunnies. For while, everything and the kitchen sink seemed to be in this bill. Rather than see these amendments pass, the NRA and others urged the bill’s death and so it died.

The immunity bill is back again and this time Chuck Schumer says he’s ready to take similar action to kill it:
"I'm not sure what it will be," … "but we will add amendments to this bill that may make the sponsors less enthusiastic about passing it."
So, in other words, he plans to poison this bill too. You gotta admire Schumer’s persistence even while you want to smack him on the nose with a rolled-up New York Times while saying, “Bad Senator. Look at the mess you made. Bad Senator.” I would suspect that such amendments will include “assault weapons” bans, making .50 caliber rifles illegal, redefining armor-piercing rounds, etc.

Gunnies need to support the lawsuit immunity bill with calls and letters to their Congress Critters. I’ll admit there are questions of giving the Federal government even more power over states. A state should be able to decide to allow such suits or not. However, these suits can and have done too much evil overwhelming such objections.

For instance, while the gun industry has won so far they’ve still had to defend themselves. A successful defense costs big money. Here’s a quote from a gun company lawyer:
These types of lawsuits are expensive and unnecessary," said Lawrence S. Greenwald, a lawyer defending the Beretta U.S.A. Corporation, a gun maker that is among the defendants in the New York case. "Not one of the approximately 30 cases of this type that has been brought nationally has resulted in anything but a victory for the defendants or a dismissal.
We pay for Mr. Greenwald and other defense attorneys with each gun we buy. A gun manufacturer must pass expenses along to the consumer or go out of business. And make no mistake, Schumer and his cohorts’ ultimate goal is to close gun dealers and manufacturers doors. If there are no companies making guns, supply will dry up one day. If it costs too much in terms of liability risk to run a gun store, then stores will go out of business. Simple as that.

These suits affect every gunnie in the country. I live in New Hampshire and I don’t want to pay for any New York nonsense. Let’s pass this bill without poison pill amendments.

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