Friday, October 21, 2005
Law - Gun-shield bill protects makers and sellers from suits, including that of the city of Gary
WASHINGTON -- Congress on Thursday sent President Bush a bill long sought by the National Rifle Association that shields gun makers and sellers from lawsuits arising from misuse of their weapons.The ILB has posted a number of entries on the Gary suit, related Indiana legislation, and a decision by the Indiana Supreme Court.
Bush supports the bill, and once he signs it, lawyers are expected to seek dismissal of about a dozen cases filed across the United States against firearm makers by cities, including Gary, Ind., and crime victims. Gun-control groups vow to challenge the measure's constitutionality. * * *
The gun legislation, which the House passed 283 to 144 Thursday and which passed the Senate 65 to 31 in July, was sparked by lawsuits filed in the late 1990s by several cities seeking to hold the firearm industry liable for gun violence. Gun rights advocates contended that the lawsuits — which they say have cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees — were intended to drive firearm makers out of business.
The Indiana Supreme Court's December 2003 ruling allowing Gary's suit against gun dealers to proceed is City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp. (12/23/03 IndSCt). A bill passed by the 2004 Indiana General Assembly, HEA 1349, had initially sought to include a ban on the Gary lawsuit. However, this week's congressional effort does seem to have that effect.
Legislative details of the congressional effort are here, from CNS News. A quote:
The "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" is designed to protect firearms manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers from being sued for the criminal misuse of their products by unrelated third parties. The House passed the Senate's version - S. 397 - by a vote of 283 to 144.