anti liberty/gun cracktivists, Associated Press, barack obama, Beto O'Rourke, Covid vaccine, D/S/Cs, Heller, Hillary Clinton, joe biden, Lawfare, PLCAA, socialist.communist utopia, SOTU Speech, Supreme Court, tort law
2005: the Supreme Court’s Heller decision was three years into the future, and anti-liberty/gun cracktivists had hit on a new strategy we now commonly call “lawfare,” abusing civil law to sue manufacturers or individuals out of existence to achieve political ends they cannot achieve by legitimate, legislative means. The primary strategy was to sue firearm manufacturers for the misuse of their legal products by third parties about who they had no knowledge and over who they could exercise no control. Unlike what anti-liberty/gun cracktivists would have Americans believe, gun manufacturers are not fabulously wealthy, and enough lawsuits could bankrupt them through legal fees alone, which was exactly what anti-liberty/gun cracktivists wanted.
In response, the Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act (text here) which prevents such nuisance lawsuits for misuse by third parties of lawful products, but does not in any way prevent suits under normal tort law, such as suits for damages for defective products, negligence, etc.. By all means, take the link and read Congress’ purposes and intent in passing the law by a truly bipartisan vote (Senate 65-31; house 283-144). Unlike many laws, the reasoning is entirely clear.
Consider this explanation of what the law does and does not do by the Federalist Society:
PLCAA explicitly states that it does not prevent ‘an action for death, physical injuries or property damage resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of the product’—which is the precise type of suit Clinton is referring to regarding unsafe toys. § 7903(5)(A)(v). Similarly, the same rules apply to the firearm industry and toy industry when their products are misused by criminals. Toys ‘R’ Us and Franklin Sports could not be held accountable if a maniac bludgeons somebody to death with a bocce ball; just as firearms dealers and manufacturers could not be held accountable if their lawful products are used in crimes committed by maniacs.
Other actions explicitly permitted by PLCAA include actions for breach of contract or warranty, and actions against transferors who know the firearm will be used to commit a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime. § 7903(5)(A)(i), (iv). Thus, just like in any other industry, firearm dealers and manufacturers are liable for their own actions. PLCAA simply prevents an innocent law-abiding entity from being civilly liable for ‘the criminal or unlawful misuse of a qualified product’ by another person.
The Federalist society article was written in 2016 in response to Hillary Clinton’s lies about the law. Joe Biden is equally deceptive, as Tom Knighton notes at Based Politics.com:
The idea of President Biden getting something wrong when speaking about guns is probably not a big shock to most folks knowledgeable about the Second Amendment. After all, most politicians don’t really know much about guns or gun laws. That said, the president’s latest false claim about firearms is inexcusable.
During his terrifying State of the Union teleprompter reading, he claimed it’s impossible to sue gun manufacturers.
Yes, there are many misrepresentations around gun laws in the media, to be sure, but lawmakers like Biden—who were around when many of these laws were first crafted—can’t blame CNN for their ignorance.
For example, Biden was around when the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) was first passed. While he didn’t support it, he should have at least been somewhat informed as to what the law actually permitted. Yet the president didn’t seem very informed during the State of the Union earlier this week, when he called on Congress to ‘repeal the liability shield that makes gun manufacturers the only industry in America that can’t be sued.’
But even the Associated Press fact-checked this claim, rating it ‘false.’
‘While gun manufacturers do have legal protections from being held liable for injuries caused by criminal misuse of their weapons thanks to the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, they are not exempt or immune from being sued,’ the AP explained. ‘The law lays out exceptions where manufacturers or dealers can be held liable for damages their weapons cause, such as defects or damages in the design of the gun, negligence, or breach of contract or warranty regarding the purchase of a gun.’
When you’re a D/S/C and you’ve lost the Associated Press, you’re in deep trouble. Why is Gropin’, sniffin’ Joe lying about this?
The PLCAA was enacted because D/S/Cs were trying to destroy the Second Amendment by means of lawfare—suing gun manufacturers out of existence. Remember, this was three years before the Heller decision, which for the first time in history affirmed the Second Amendment acknowledges a fundamental, unalienable individual right to keep and bear arms. But even before Heller, D/S/Cs were tacitly admitting the Second Amendment was a barrier to their attempts to disarm the public, while still denying it meant much of anything at all, and certainly not an unalienable, individual right.
They had unsuccessfully tried to disarm the public by banning ammunition, and hit on nuisance suits for alleged harms caused by third parties about who manufacturers had no knowledge, and over who they had no control. Tort law does not normally allow such meritless suits to prevail, but there were plenty of sympathetic judges, and with jurisdiction shopping, D/S/Cs could be certain of finding sympathetic juries such that the law didn’t matter. Even with judges willing to obey the law and dismiss such suits, the sheer number of suits could easily bankrupt gun makers with legal fees, which was exactly what anti-liberty/gun cractivists intended.
But if that’s true why couldn’t people just sue car manufacturers for damages caused by third parties about who they had no knowledge, and over who they had no control. They could, but there was nothing to be gained. There is no express constitutional right to own or drive a car, and ownership is entirely non-controversial. Even D/S/Cs need to drive, or most of them anyway. Very few judges, most of whom need to drive, would allow such suits to proceed, but some would allow anti-liberty/gun suits. While one might reasonably assert D/S/Cs don’t want people to have the liberty to drive when and where they please—there’s plenty of contemporary evidence to support that—that’s very much a secondary concern. Unless and until the American public can be disarmed, D/S/Cs cannot impose their socialist/communist utopia, a fact of which they are well aware and about which they are very angry and vindictive.
To preserve a fundamental, unalienable right, the PLCAA was, and is, absolutely necessary, and it was passed in a bipartisan manner when that sort of public-minded agreement was still reasonably possible.
But they’d never do a thing like that! Yes they would. Remember Joe’s SOTU lie? He’s only repeating Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s identical lies. And of course, he’s only reading the lies from a teleprompter screen written for him by his D/S/C handlers, though Joe has been a life-long foe of the Second Amendment, which he may, or may not, remember. Non-woke history is full of examples of what happens when government disarms citizens; they immediately become subjects, unable to vindicate any of their rights. No government that seeks to disarm Americans, or deprive them of any of their unalienable rights, is trustworthy or legitimate.
Biden is being particularly deceptive in claiming no other industry shares PLCAA-like protection. Pfizer and Moderna, the makers of the Covid “vaccine” also have exactly that kind of legal protection, even though damages from the use of their vaccines would not be a third party matter. They have direct control over the effects of their non-vaccine vaccines, but they’ve been immunized from lawsuits.
Final Thoughts: The PLCAA exists only to prevent lawfare against a single industry that manufactures lawful products, products which are constitutionally protected. Without it, gun manufacturers would be quickly bankrupted, which is exactly what D/S/Cs intend. An unalienable right without the means to exercise it is no right at all, which is also what D/S/Cs intend, and they’ll tell any lie necessary to get what they want.