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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.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Lawsuit Filed Against California's Assault Weapons Control Act

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced it is supporting, along with the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), an important Second Amendment lawsuit challenging California’s newly expanded Assault Weapons Control ...

Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Today, the Illinois Senate passed an amended version of Senate Bill 1657 by a 30-21 vote.  As amended, SB 1657 would exempt big box stores from its restrictions.

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

News broke this week that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has reconsidered and “clarified” its Jan. 6, 2015 Open Letter on the use of stabilizing braces as shoulder stocks.

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

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Second Amendment  

Friday, April 21, 2017

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

Public education’s long-running “zero tolerance” war against anything that suggests the idea of a firearm (including, for example, clothing, gestures, toys, food, computer images, and favorable opinions of self-defense) has claimed another victim. This time ...

West Virginia: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Thursday, April 27, 2017

West Virginia: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Late yesterday, Governor Jim Justice signed two important pro-gun bills into law.

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

Yesterday, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton proposed Senate Amendment 1 to his shell bill, Senate Bill 233.

South Carolina: Senate Subcommittee to Hear Multiple Gun Bills Tomorrow

Monday, April 24, 2017

South Carolina: Senate Subcommittee to Hear Multiple Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tomorrow, a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to discuss several firearm-related bills, and subcommittee members need to hear from you.

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.

Rhode Island:  House Committee Will Hear Over a Dozen Gun Bills Tuesday Night

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rhode Island: House Committee Will Hear Over a Dozen Gun Bills Tuesday Night

On Tuesday, April 24, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a marathon hearing on several anti-gun bills.

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Friday, April 21, 2017

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Yesterday, the state Assembly passed Assembly Bill 7 by a vote of 44 to 29.   AB 424 was not considered during yesterday’s floor session, however it remains eligible for a vote at any time.  

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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.