Understanding the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.


Lately, some of the presidential candidates have been making some wildly inaccurate claims about the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

First, let’s start with some history. In the 1990’s some anti-gun lobby groups, whose goals weren’t being met legislatively, started encouraging cities, groups, and individuals to sue firearms manufacturers for firearms related deaths. The first big suit was in 1998 when the mayor of Chicago decided to sue several firearms manufacturers, followed by Bridgeport, Connecticut. These civil suits had no basis and were more often than not thrown out of court. However, manufacturers still had to spend money defending themselves against these suits, which was the goal of the anti-gun lobby. There were several small manufacturers forced to go out of business, and most others being “bled dry” because of these frivolous suits. The anti-gun lobby couldn’t get their legislation passed so they resulted in a “death by a thousand cuts” campaign. In order to protect manufacturers from these frivolous suits, in 2005 congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which re-leaved manufacturers from frivolous law suits while still being held liable for faulty products.

Now to answer some questions:

It is a “NRA” and “Gun Lobby law”.

FALSE— It wasn’t just an “NRA law” or a “Gun Lobby law”. We’re told that the law was “…passed after intense lobbying by the National Rifle Association…” “backed by gun manufacturers who wished to avoid being bankrupted by the legal onslaught”. But the successful bill drew on a far broader coalition than that. It included a united business community — the Chamber of commerce, NAM(National Association of Manufacturers), NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors — which saw the gun-suit onslaught as the cutting edge of a movement to bypass the democratic lawmaking process and impose regulation through litigation on other industries. The general outrage in the business community helps explain why the act had 61 Senate co-sponsors, including 12 Democrats and many moderate Republicans; and why it drew 59 Democratic votes in the House, passing by a 2-1 margin .

“It is the only industry that has this protection from liability “
Firearms manufacturers can’t be sued for damage / injury done from faulty products.

FALSE— manufacturers are still liable for defects in their products.

“Manufacturers are flooding areas with firearms to people who shouldn’t have them, knowing that those firearms will be used for crime”.

FALSE— It is still illegal to sell firearms to prohibited persons. The firearms manufactures aren’t some nefarious group of evil doers bent on causing mayhem, they are legitimate businesses doing business in one of the largest areas of commerce in the country.

Manufacturers can’t be sued for people misusing their products.

TRUE— just because someone commits a crime with a firearm doesn’t mean the manufacturer is responsible for that misuse. That would be like suing a car manufacturer because a drunk driver killed someone. A company should not be sued because someone committed an illegal act with a legal product.

The politicians that are spouting these falsehoods are banking on the general public not being informed and not putting forth the effort to get informed.

However you feel on the issue, please do your own homework; don’t rely on sound bites and political ads or the news networks (usually biased one way or the other), educate yourself on the issues.