There’s a new coalition of high-priced liberal law firms who have decided to dedicate their energy to attacking the Second Amendment. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is how easily they lie about existing gun laws, as a conversation between NPR’s Ailsa Chang and attorney Michael Schissel makes very obvious.
There’s a new coalition working against gun violence – a group of high-powered corporate law firms. After the Orlando nightclub shooting, a number of prominent attorneys banded together to collaborate – at no cost – with gun control advocates. Their goal is to attack gun issues through the courts and through state regulation. Michael Schissel heads up gun safety litigation at Arnold & Porter. The firm’s a member of the coalition. And he says that by banding together, corporate attorneys are better able to serve gun control groups.
MICHAEL SCHISSEL: What they really need is our collective talent and our collective manpower. Everybody knows how well-financed and aggressive the gun lobby is. And I think it’s going to require the brute force of the major law firms in this country, and I can give you two examples. For example, there is a law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act called PLCAA – some people call it PLCAA – which effectively immunizes sellers of firearms from liability except in a few cases. There’s no other law – no other law at all – that shields consumer products from safety regulation. And here we’re talking about a product that can kill. There’s another law, for example, that prevents the public from accessing data – gun data – that should be available under the Freedom of Information Act. And our view is that these laws are really quite novel in the history of this country. And therefore it’s going to take some novel and aggressive thinking on the behalf – on behalf of this collective group of law firms and advocacy groups to do something about those laws, to challenge those laws, you know, really to put a full-court press on the gun lobby.
CHANG: If I could just address PLCAA – this is the federal law which protects gun manufacturers and dealers from liability when people use their guns in crimes. Make the argument for me. Why should manufacturers be held accountable for the actions of the individuals who buy their products?
SCHISSEL: Well, it’s not just manufacturers, and that’s really the important thing. In fact, my firm has been involved more on the retail level.
CHANG: OK, fine, retailers.
SCHISSEL: Yeah, it immunizes sellers. So, for example, there are state laws that literally immunize a gun seller of any liability even if that gun seller knows he’s selling a gun to a criminal.
Schissel is, unsurprisingly, lying through his teeth.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) does not “effectively immunize sellers of firearms from liability except in a few cases.”
PLCAA serves a very narrow interest, protecting the firearms industry against frivolous lawsuits from attorneys like—you guessed it—Michael Schissel. It exists to protect the industry from only frivolous lawsuits designed to bankrupt the industry, which we’ve noted repeatedly.
Hillary Clinton and several allies have been consistently focusing on the PLCAA for months, claiming that it provides the firearms industry “immunity” from being held responsible for its actions.
This is a bold, direct, and intentional lie to the American people from Hillary Clinton.
Gun makers and sellers can be sued, and are being sued right now for both negligence and criminal actions.
Remington is presently negotiating a class-action settlement that will cost them millions over a defective trigger design. They’re also being sued as the parent company of Bushmaster in a case resulting from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Century Arms is now battling a lawsuit over safeties that allegedly don’t work.
Badger Guns just lost a famous case for selling guns to an obvious straw purchaser, who used the gun to shoot two police officers.
The owner of Stag Arms has been banned from the industry for life and his former company hit with $500,000 in fines for paperwork violations.
The PLCAA has never offered blanket immunity to the industry as Hillary Clinton has repeatedly claimed. As the cases above clearly show, manufacturers and sellers who make defective products or who act criminally can of course be sued, just like any other business.
All that PLCAA does is prevent gun control zealots from filing waves of frivolous lawsuits meant to bankrupt retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers, destroying the gun industry via frivolous lawsuits since they can’t get the public to agree to ban guns.
Let’s be perfectly clear: the only reason to repeal the PLCAA is so that deep-pocketed gun control groups financed by anti-gun billionaires can file wave after wave of frivolous lawsuits to bankrupt manufacturers, distributors, and gun dealers. Whether manufacturers are guilty of any crimes is beside the point; they will be bankrupted by having to pay teams of lawyers millions of dollars to defend them.
And I think you’ll see Mr. Schissel’s real interest in the final paragraph of that quoted article. This coalition of lawyers seems to be much more interested in getting rich off frivolous lawsuits they could file is PLCAA was repealed than it does helping to reduce criminal violence.
If Arnold & Porter and the other law firms jumping on the gun control bandwagon wanted to have an impact on criminal behavior, they’d lobby for longer sentences for criminals who commit gun crimes. If they really cared about stopping the revolving door that sees violent repeat offenders back on the streets just months or a few short years, they’d instead argue that the Department of Justice is failing to prosecute gun crimes, and is plea bargaining away charges that should be prosecuted.
That they’re focusing on attacking a law that stops frivolous lawsuits tells me all I need to know about these law firms.
It’s not about “justice” or reducing violent crime. It’s all about the money.