Democrats want to repeal gun industry shield law

Photo: Andrew / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 MGN Online

House and Senate Democrats re-introduced a bill that would allow shooting victims to sue gun manufacturers and sellers.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) held a press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday, introducing the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act. This is the second time the bill has been introduced.

The bill would repeal the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) which granted gun manufacturers, dealers, and trade organization immunity from civil lawsuits.

Sponsors say they are hoping the repeal bill would hold the gun industry accountable for better product safety. They are also hoping the bill will lead to a crackdown against dealers who sell to "straw purchasers."

Sen. Murphy told us, "The standards of negligence are the same, whether you're coming after a negligent gun dealer or a negligent automaker. We're not asking for any special treatment for the gun industry. We're asking for the special treatment they enjoy today, the immunity they enjoy, to be removed."

The PLCAA was a source of sparring at a recent Democratic Presidential Debate between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Sanders voted for the law back in 2005, but he changed his position earlier this month, saying he would support the repeal bill.

When asked about the prospects for passing the bill, Sen. Murphy admitted it would be an uphill battle, with both the House and Senate controlled by Republicans.

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