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Brady Bunch Promotes Agenda By Exploiting Tragedy Once Again

Friday, January 17, 2003

The gun-ban lobby that now calls itself the Brady Center or Brady Campaign— although many still refer to it by its old name of Handgun Control Incorporated (HCI)—held a press conference yesterday to announce the latest stage in the group’s efforts to promote politically-motivated lawsuits that attempt to hold gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of their products. HCI president Mike Barnes and his organization’s lead attorney, Dennis Henigan, revealed to members of the media that the gun-ban lobby would expand its harassment campaign against law-abiding gun makers to include trying to exploit last year’s string of murders and attempted murders in the Washington, D.C., area that John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo have been charged with committing.

HCI’s suit seeks to hold Bushmaster Firearms Inc. responsible for at least two of the 10 murders attributed to Muhammad and Malvo from last September and October simply because the accused are charged with having used one of the company’s firearms. But Henigan acknowledged that Bushmaster obeyed all of the countless laws and regulations to which it is subject. Henigan claims that obeying laws is not enough, and Bushmaster must also take on the role of investigating every gun dealer with which it does business—a task already under the purview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF), as well as other law-enforcement agencies. Barnes went even further in spreading out blame, as he implied Congress, the White House, and the Department of Justice were partially responsible for last Fall’s murderous rampage.

Of course, frivolous suits such as this are both a shameless abuse of the courts and an attempt to circumvent the legislative process. HCI and other gun prohibitionists are trying to use our judicial system to drive the law-abiding firearms industry into bankruptcy by burdening them with the crushing cost of defending their safe, lawful products against an onslaught of baseless litigation. Fortunately, the courts continue to reject the absurd notion that gun makers should be held responsible when criminals use firearms to commit criminal acts. But yesterday’s press conference is proof that the gun-ban movement will continue to promote these baseless suits and attempt to replace the rule of law with the rule of lawyers.

It is because of this abuse of our courts that one of NRA’s top legislative priorities this Congress will be the passage of reckless lawsuit preemption legislation. In the last Congress, bills prohibiting these predatory lawsuits gained a great deal of support in both the House and the Senate, but time ran out before they could be given full consideration.

Please contact your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators and urge them to support any upcoming efforts to pass reckless lawsuit preemption legislation that will bring an end to this unwarranted harassment of law-abiding gun manufacturers. You can reach your U.S. Representative by calling (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121. For additional contact information, use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.