NRA Explore

Protecting our Rights and our Local Gun Makers by U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD)

Monday, October 17, 2005

By U.S. Senator John Thune

Firearms are a valued part of the culture and fabric of South Dakota. Each year, South Dakota issues well over 120,000 resident hunting licenses, and nearly 100,000 nonresident hunters visit our state each year to support our tourism and hunting industry.

Unfortunately, the centuries-old firearms industry has come under attack by activists who seek to unjustly hold law-abiding gun manufacturers responsible for the actions of violent criminals. Since 1998, almost 40 lawsuits have been filed against the firearms industry for allegedly harming others through the production and distribution of firearms. While none of these lawsuits have yet resulted in an adverse decision, the lengthy litigation process is forcing the industry to pay enormous legal bills to defend themselves.

South Dakotans have long seen the logic and importance in protecting gun manufacturers against these types of frivolous lawsuits. Our state was the first state in the Union to pass liability protection legislation for firearms manufacturers, and now the U.S. Senate has followed suit, having recently passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a bill I cosponsored, which would provide liability protection to law-abiding gunmakers and retailers throughout the nation.

Passage of this bill was a tremendous victory for America's firearms manufacturers, retailers and owners. Not since enactment of 1986's Firearms Owners' Protection Act have we seen such a significant legislative step toward restoring the rule of law and protecting the Second Amendment.

Frivolous lawsuits pose a serious threat to a cornerstone industry in our state. With 22 firearms companies based in South Dakota providing more than 500 South Dakota citizens with quality jobs, the firearms industry plays a key role in our state’s economy, and we cannot afford to see it harmed.

Not only does the firearms industry contribute to our economic well-being, it also boosts our national security. Earlier this year, the Department of Defense issued a letter of support urging Congress to pass this important bill. As a critical part of our national security, the federal government purchases 200,000 firearms and 2 billion rounds of ammunition each year. If frivolous lawsuits bankrupt the industry, the United States would be forced to rely on foreign trade to obtain these weapons and ammunition. Placing ourselves in such a position would directly threaten our national security.

Thomas Jefferson made clear that “No free man shall be debarred the use of arms.” The founders of our great country saw the importance of this personal freedom, and guaranteed the right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights. The federal legislation I was proud to cosponsor and support will ensure that our Second Amendment right to use firearms is not undermined by frivolous lawsuits.

The urgency to see this legislation signed into law is now greater than ever. Going against the requests of 12 different states, the Supreme Court recently decided to allow the District of Columbia to sue gun manufacturers for violence in D.C. This decision from the highest court of the land clears the way for a major lawsuit from the nation’s capital—placing the stakes higher than they have ever been. However, if the House passes its version of the liability legislation and sends it to the President in time, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act could void this frivolous and harmful lawsuit.

I hope the House will soon pass and the President sign into law this vital piece of legislation that will protect the firearms industry, maintain our national security, and help guarantee our freedom to bear arms.



Friday, November 27, 2015

President Obama Signs NRA-Backed Measures into Law

President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It includes several NRA-backed provisions -- expanding gun rights on stateside military bases; prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning traditional ammunition; and saving taxpayer dollars ...

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 ...


Friday, May 15, 2015

Obama Administration Opposes CMP Handgun Sales

The House of Representatives has approved Congressman Mike D. Rogers’ amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which—if accepted in ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

“F” Stands for Fail: Gun Turn-in Event Nets a Stack of Paper Pledges and Some Surplus Sporting Goods

Recently, we reported on Hillary Clinton’s praise for local firearm “buyback” events and her view that forcing Americans to participate ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Anti-gun Politicians, Media Exploit Paris Attacks in “Terrorist Gap” Rehash

The Paris terrorist attacks were not easily pinned on America’s supposedly lax gun laws or the NRA, but ...

Monday, November 30, 2015

Michigan: County Gun Boards Eliminated Tomorrow, New Licensing Process Goes Into Effect

Tomorrow, December 1, the primary components of NRA-backed Senate Bill 34 and Senate Bill 35 will take effect.  


Monday, November 30, 2015

Trench Warfare

The presidential election cycle keeps getting longer and more expensive. Nearly a year before Americans will finally cast ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Signs Firearm Inheritance Protection Act

Today, November 24, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills 225 and 226.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Overwhelming 81 Percent of Current and Former Military have Unfavorable View of Clinton

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. Coming off the heels of survey results that found the former Secretary ...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Michigan: State Senator Wants to Repeal Self-Defense Act

On Tuesday, November 10, state Senator Rebekah Warren (D-18) implicitly made a bold statement when she introduced Senate ...


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.