Congressional Democrats on Tuesday unveiled legislation that would grant victims of gun violence the right to sue members of the firearms industry, NPR reported.
Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta Democrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Overnight Health Care — Insurance will soon cover COVID-19 tests MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) reintroduced the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act to help victims of gun violence have their day in court.
The measure aims to repeal a 2005 bill called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which grants federal protections to firearm and ammunition manufacturers, dealers and trade groups.
PLCAA, signed into law by then-President George W. Bush, prevents the gun industry from most civil lawsuits when a firearm is used unlawfully or in a crime, NPR noted.
Schiff said that the PLCAA gives the gun industry "an unprecedented and unique immunity from liability.”
“It’s time to hold the gun industry accountable. Under state and federal law, we require every other industry, like car makers and drug companies, to act with reasonable care for public safety,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Newtown Action, a nonprofit founded after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, said PLCAA has prevented parents from filing lawsuits against online ammunition dealers.
“Parents of Jessica Ghawi, an Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting victim @MamaRedfield @PapaRedfield were ordered by the judge to pay $203,000 for the company’s attorney fees,” the group said in a tweet.
PLCAA was used to dismiss the lawsuit against an online ammo dealer. Parents of Jessica Ghawi, an Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting victim @MamaRedfield @PapaRedfield were ordered by the judge to pay $203,000 for the company’s attorney fees. #RepealPLCAA @survivorsemp https://t.co/oYkSOcoXra— Newtown Action (@NewtownAction) June 12, 2019
The National Rifle Association and other gun industry groups pushed for PLCAA’s enactment.
Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms trade association, told NPR his organization "will certainly oppose this legislation."
"You would no more charge or blame Ford or General Motors for drunk driving accidents," Keane said.
This is not the first time Schiff has attempted to repeal PLCAA, NPR noted. He first introduced the new measure in 2013, and it has been reintroduced at least two other times without gaining traction.
Democrats announced the bill outside the Capitol along with gun violence prevention groups including Moms Demand Action, Brady and March For Our Lives.
Right now, the gun industry gets unique, special protection from lawsuits under PLCAA (Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act). We need to change the law so we can protect our families, hold reckless gun dealers accountable for their actions, and reduce gun violence. https://t.co/7cIxuSIhiM— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) June 11, 2019
It's time to hold the gun industry accountable. Since 2005, they have enjoyed unparalleled protection from liability thanks to a law called PLCAA, once considered the NRA's #1 priority. No longer. We’re proud to support the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act. pic.twitter.com/EQGpa5o4sE— Newtown Action (@NewtownAction) June 11, 2019
It's time to hold the gun industry accountable.— Brady (@bradybuzz) June 11, 2019
Since 2005, it's enjoyed unparalleled protections thanks to a law called PLCAA, once the NRA's #1 priority. No longer.
We were proud to join @SenBlumenthal and @RepAdamSchiff to reintroduce their bill to #RepealPLCAA. pic.twitter.com/0FXUGKUXJc