Thanks to your efforts, yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 397 by a strong bipartisan vote of 283-144! Yesterday's vote marks the final legislative action on the bill, which now heads to President Bush for his expected signature. After the President signs the bill into law, it will take effect immediately.
S. 397 will end the campaign of reckless lawsuits being filed in an attempt to hold the lawful firearm industry responsible for the acts of criminals. The law will not preclude suits where the law is broken or where a defective firearm is manufactured.
During Senate debate earlier this year, the Pentagon stated its concern over the consequences if the American firearm industry was litigated into extinction. The Department of Defense stated that it "strongly supports" S. 397 and "that passage of S. 397 would help safeguard our national security by limiting unnecessary lawsuits against an industry that plays a critical role in meeting the procurement needs of our men and women in uniform." Echoing this point, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox noted, "We are a safer country today because Congress passed this critical legislation. Our men and women in uniform abroad and at home now will not have to rely on France, China, or Germany to supply their firearms."
Hailing the House action yesterday, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, "This is an historic victory for freedom. Truth and justice prevailed, and today S. 397 is one step closer to becoming the law of the land. America is a better place because Congress acted to save American icons like Remington, Ruger and Colt from politically motivated lawsuits." NRA-ILA's Cox stated, "Today's vote by the House marks the dawn of a new day; a day when no longer will anti-gun officials and trial attorneys be able to do an end run around the legislative process by trying to bankrupt the firearm industry through irresponsible litigation. Passage of the 'Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act' would not have been possible without the support of the 257 House co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. We appreciate the tireless efforts of Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.), and the members of House leadership who worked to move the bill in this chamber."
Despite the desperate efforts of anti-gun Representatives yesterday, who one-by-one prefaced their remarks against S. 397 by shallowly professing to support the Second Amendment, the lopsided and bipartisan vote showed that support for this common sense reform was wide and deep.
While yesterday's vote was indeed a landmark event in the history of the Second Amendment, sadly, the long term fight isn't over. Even before yesterday's vote, the gun banners at the Brady Center promised to resist in court. So while victory was ours yesterday, and the House took a monumental step toward protecting the lawful firearm industry, our fight will continue to ensure that any attempt to weaken or overturn this law is thwarted.
Again, all of us at NRA-ILA want to thank you for making this victory possible. Without your steadfast support and your tireless efforts meeting with and contacting your lawmakers, we would not have been able to finish the job we started years ago. As always, you deserve a lion's share of the credit for this hard fought victory, and you have earned the gratitude of America's 80 million lawful gun owners. As Wayne LaPierre aptly said "I would like to thank our members who played a pivotal role in making this bill a reality. Together, we have protected the sanctity of the Second Amendment. And this right will continue to be proudly preserved by freedom's largest, most compelling, and devoted voluntary organization in the world."
For the roll call vote on final passage of S. 397 in the House, please visit http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll534.xml. Take note of how your Representative voted, and please thank those who voted in support of gun owners and let those who voted against our rights know that you will keep their votes in mind when they are up for re-election.