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Welcome to the Gun Show, Part Two Repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act


General Manager

For those who do not know President Biden’s stance on guns, on his website you can find an article called “The Biden Plan to End Our Gun Violence Epidemic.” In this article, we will start to explore what Biden states are his plans to pursue what he calls “constitutional, common-sense gun safety policies”.

On February 16, 2005, then Senator Larry E. Craig (R-ID) introduced into Senate S.397 - Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. It passed the Senate on July 29, 2005, with a vote of 65 Yeas to 31 Nays. 14 of those “Yea” votes were by Democrats. It should be noted that Biden was not one of those Democrats. The bill then proceeded to the House where it passed with a vote of 283 Yeas to 144 Nays, and 59 of those “Yea” votes were also by Democrats. It is plain to see the bill passed with a fair amount of bipartisan support. Finally, the bill was signed into law by then President George W. Bush on October 26, 2005.

However, President Biden now plans to repeal this act. It states on his website that he would like to, “Hold gun manufacturers accountable. In 2005, then-Senator Biden voted against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, but gun manufacturers successfully lobbied Congress to secure its passage. This law protects these manufacturers from being held civilly liable for their products – a protection granted to no other industry. Biden will prioritize repealing this protection.”

In essence, if Biden were successful in repealing this law, civil lawsuits could be brought against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others. Which could potentially open the door for victims, or families of victims, of mass shootings to sue these individuals. If this law were about the automotive industry, it would in essence mean that the family of someone who was killed by a drunk driver would have the ability to sue the brand of alcohol the guilty driver consumed prior to the accident, as well as the make of the vehicle that driver was driving at the time of the accident. For all intents and purposes, this is not holding the criminal responsible, but instead, holding a third party that was not humanly physically present at the time of the crime responsible. If we are going to use that logic, why not sue the Lego Company after a parent steps on their toys, which are usually strewn about their child’s room, and they fall and twist their ankle? After all, it is not about holding the child responsible for properly using or storing their belongings, but about Lego not making a toy that does not cause parents agony when they step on them.

What the average citizen might not know or understand is that this act already has some protection for victims and their families built into it. The exclusions built into the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act:

“Excludes from such prohibition actions: (1) brought by a directly harmed party against a person who transfers a firearm knowing that it will be used to commit a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime; (2) brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se; (3) in which a manufacturer or seller of a firearm knowingly violated a state or federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the firearm and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought; (4) for breach of contract or warranty in connection with the purchase of the firearm; (5) for death, physical injuries, or property damage resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of the firearm when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the discharge was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense, such act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, personal injuries, or property damage; or (6) commenced by the Attorney General to enforce firearms provisions under the federal criminal code or the Internal Revenue Code. Permits a person under age 17 to recover damages authorized under federal or state law in a civil action that meets specified requirements.”

Which means, those who sell a weapon to someone they know has criminal intent to use that weapon can be sued by the victim and or their family. If we already have the ability to hold the person who pulled the trigger responsible, and the person who sold the criminal the gun knowing they were going to use it in a violent act responsible, why then do we need to hold the gun manufacturer itself responsible?

If Biden repeals this law, what’s next? Perhaps someone will sue McDonald’s for selling them food every day knowing that it would make the consumer overweight. Because we obviously cannot expect the American people to hold themselves responsible for what they do or buy.

Next week we will visit Biden’s stance on assault weapons.