Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Reckless Lawsuit Preemption Bill Introduced In Congress

Friday, March 7, 2003

U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) teamed with Representatives Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Melissa Hart (R-Penn.), and Chris John (D-La.) to introduce reckless lawsuit preemption legislation, H.R. 1036, in the House last week. The bill was submitted on February 27 with 243 original cosponsors—an impressive debut that easily exceeds a simple majority of U.S. Representatives. The bill’s strong, bipartisan support (45 Democrats signed on as cosponsors) has sent a chilling message to the gun-ban lobby: Congress is poised to put an end to the Brady Campaign’s (a.k.a., HCI’s) shameless efforts to bankrupt the firearms industry through the tactic of filing, funding, or otherwise promoting dozens of predatory lawsuits—suits embraced and supported by anti-gun big-city mayors that seek to advance the absurd notion that the law-abiding firearms industry should be held responsible for the actions of violent criminals.

As expected, the Brady Campaign/HCI responded to the introduction of H.R. 1036 with its usual baseless vitriol. In a release issued on March 3, the gun-ban lobby’s Chair, Sarah Brady, "denounce[d]" and "condemned" the legislation, which would put an end to the organization’s exploitation and abuse of our judicial process. HCI President Michael Barnes made the outrageous claim that the legislation would "deny justice to America’s gun violence victims," implying that the only form of "justice" offered in America to victims of crime is the ability to sue a third party that bears no responsibility for the crime. Brady parroted Barnes’s sentiment, stating, "Any member of Congress who supports [H.R. 1036] ... should have to explain to victims of gun violence why their rights are being taken away."

Both Barnes and Brady appear to be promoting the ludicrous concept that only monetary awards paid by lawful manufacturers can bring crime victims justice. The implication seems to be that catching, convicting, and punishing those who commit violent crimes is not justice enough.

The true motivation behind the gun-ban lobby’s opposition to H.R. 1036, however, is less a matter of seeking its version of "justice" than it is masking its own legislative failures. Unable to move its gun-ban agenda forward in most state legislatures and Congress, HCI has spent the last several years relying on a scheme to drive the firearms industry into bankruptcy under the crushing financial burden of having to defend itself in court against countless frivolous suits. It is even possible the reckless lawsuit agenda was never intended to actually win any final judgements against the firearms industry.

HCI and its trial attorneys must have realized, long ago, the futility of trying to change decades of established jurisprudence. Courts have consistently rejected the outlandish concept of holding the law-abiding manufacturer of a legal product responsible for criminals who obtain that product through illegal channels, then use it for purposes never intended or condoned by the manufacturer. In fact, numerous courts, including state Supreme Courts, have already dismissed HCI-backed cases. Even today, a California judge rejected the suits of 12 California municipalities. (See following story for more details.) And 31 states have enacted legislation prohibiting these reckless suits, with West Virginia poised to join that list. But as long as HCI, its attorneys, and anti-gun big-city mayors are able to collude to saddle law-abiding gun makers with the cost of defending their lawful practices in court, the entire gun industry is at risk of being eradicated.

H.R. 1036 would put an end to the gun-ban lobby’s campaign of predatory lawsuits, closing the door to HCI’s agenda of circumventing the legislative process by hijacking our nation’s courts with these oppressive lawsuits. Those lawmakers who have already signed on to this legislation deserve our thanks, so please call them to express your support. Those who have not should be encouraged to sign on as cosponsors, and U.S. Senators need to be encouraged to support a companion bill in the Senate.

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.

TRENDING NOW
New Hampshire: Firearm Seizure Bill Headed to House Floor

Thursday, October 31, 2019

New Hampshire: Firearm Seizure Bill Headed to House Floor

On October 30th, the New Hampshire state Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee sent House Bill 687 to the House floor for further consideration after a motion to kill the bill failed by a vote ...

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

Friday, September 20, 2019

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

On September 19th, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Representative Melissa Sargent (D-48), and Senator Lena Taylor (D-4) held a press conference calling on the Legislature to violate the Second Amendment by: 1) ...

NRA Statement on 2019 Election  Results

News  

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

NRA Statement on 2019 Election Results

The National Rifle Association released the following statement on the 2019 election results: "As if Gov. Northam’s legacy of ineptitude wasn’t enough, Virginians are about to experience life under a distant tycoon’s thumb."

Bloomberg’s Gun Control Apparatus Lies to Virginia’s Firearm Owners in Election Mailing

News  

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bloomberg’s Gun Control Apparatus Lies to Virginia’s Firearm Owners in Election Mailing

Here’s a hint for Virginia gun owners and sportsmen: When you get a firearm-related election mailing with a New York City return address and proudly proclaiming that it’s printed on soy ink, you can safely ...

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

News  

Monday, November 11, 2019

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

Former Texas Congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke abandoned his run for President last week, once again leaving a void for the most strident anti-gun candidate seeking the Democrat nomination. Even before declaring his candidacy for President, ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

NRA Member spotlight: Meet the Man Who Helped Turn an Anti-Gun Townhall into a Pro-gun Rally

News  

Monday, October 28, 2019

NRA Member spotlight: Meet the Man Who Helped Turn an Anti-Gun Townhall into a Pro-gun Rally

At a townhall meeting in Michigan this month, Congresswoman Haley Stevens appeared to lose control when the NRA came up and began emotionally screaming, “The NRA has got to go! The NRA has got to go!” ...

Wisconsin: Legislators Protect Second Amendment, Adjourn Special Session

Friday, November 8, 2019

Wisconsin: Legislators Protect Second Amendment, Adjourn Special Session

On November 7th, the Wisconsin Legislature adjourned from its special session not long after it was convened. Governor Tony Evers’ latest attempt to pass gun control failed.

Anti-gun Ghosts Consider Challenges to President Trump as Current Field Falters

News  

Monday, October 28, 2019

Anti-gun Ghosts Consider Challenges to President Trump as Current Field Falters

This is the time of year when hideous creatures emerge on television and computer screens to menace and prey upon the unwary.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

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.