News and Commentary

5 Reasons Suing Gun Manufacturers Is Dumb

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have been calling for the repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to open up the gun manufacturing industry to be subject to lawsuits for gun deaths. Here are five reasons why that is completely stupid.

1. It is politically stupid. It’s a position that could potentially result in a shellacking for the Democrats in a general election. Harper Polling data shows that a whopping 72 percent of Americans support the PLCAA and only 4 percent were unsure or didn’t have an opinion on the matter. That’s a problem for Clinton, who has made suing gun manufacturers one of her signature issues.

2. Gun manufacturers don’t have blanket immunity. One of the main arguments against the PLCAA is that it gives the gun manufacturing industry immunity from lawsuits altogether. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, “The 2005 law does not prevent gun makers from being held liable for defects in their design. Like car makers, gun makers can be sued for selling a defective product. The problem is that gun violence victims often want to hold gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of a properly functioning product.” The Washington Post confirms Winkler’s claim. Gun manufacturers can also be legally held responsible if they knowingly sell guns to people who plan on using them in an illegal manner.

In other words, if a gun has a defective part – such as a safety button that isn’t working properly – then the manufacturer won’t be protected from a lawsuit. But leftists like Clinton want to open up lawsuits for victims of gun violence to use against gun industries, which leads to…

3. If gun manufacturers can be sued for gun deaths, then numerous other industries need to be prepared for frivolous lawsuits. Conservative Reviews Jay Caruso points out that more people were killed by knives, blunt objects and fists than by guns. CDC data also shows that more people died from falling, drowning and suffocation than accidental gun deaths. If the gun manufacturing industry can be held responsible for gun deaths, then will companies selling hammers, knives, ladders and pillows all be open to lawsuits? What about the automobile companies for car deaths, or alcohol companies for alcohol-related deaths? Such a precedent would unleash a massive can of worms.

4. The gun manufacturers have no responsibility for how their guns are used. As Caruso writes, “Families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting want to be able to sue Bushmaster because Adam Lanza used one of their firearms to carry out his crimes. But how was Bushmaster liable? Millions of people own rifles similar to that of the Bushmaster XM15-E2S and they don’t go on shooting rampages.

“It is absurd to think the manufacturer had anything to do with the carnage carried out by Lanza.”

Given that the vast majority of gun owners use their guns legally, it’s irrational to hold the gun manufacturers responsible when it is the criminal who should be held responsible instead.

5. It will drive gun manufacturers out of business and make it increasingly difficult for people to obtain firearms. Which has been the left’s goal all along.