Democrats say gun manufacturers and dealers that sell firearms to criminals should be “on the hook” for mass shootings.
Lawmakers unveiled new legislation Wednesday that would allow the victims of gun violence to sue manufacturers and dealers.
Currently, the gun industry is shielded from such lawsuits under federal law.
The Equal Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, which is unlikely to pass a Republican-controlled Congress, would repeal the long-standing “immunity” enjoyed by the gun industry, Democrats say.
“In some jurisdictions, if your dog bites me, you are strictly liable. No excuses, it’s your fault, you pay,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), one of the sponsors of the bill.
“And yet for a gun, there is no liability at all,” he added. “Absolute immunity.”
The gun-control bill would repeal the controversial Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a 2005 law that protects the gun industry from lawsuits.
The gun lobby contends the existing protections shield the industry from frivolous lawsuits, but Democrats say the new legislation only targets irresponsible gun manufacturers and dealers that negligently sell firearms to criminals.
"This is not a bill that says, ‘Merely because you sell a gun that’s later used in a crime, that you’re somehow responsible or liable,’ ” said Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse passes bill to compensate 'Havana syndrome' victims House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power Overnight Hillicon Valley — Hacking goes global MORE (D-Calif.), who is sponsoring the bill in the House.
"No, what this bill says is that the gun industry shouldn’t enjoy an immunity that no other industry enjoys for when it acts negligently, when it acts knowingly, when it acts in bad faith,” he added.