From California to New Jersey, anti-gun Democrats are pushing new laws allowing for gun makers to be sued for the actions of criminals despite a federal law that was designed to prevent these politically-motivated lawsuits from going forward. The intention is clear; to bankrupt the firearms industry and deprive law-abiding Americans of access to their right to keep and bear arms.
This strategy isn’t new by any means. In fact, it goes back decades, but back in 2005 a bipartisan vote in Congress sent the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to then-President George W. Bush, who signed the measure into law. The act was designed to prevent exactly these types of frivolous suits, but in recent years the gun control lobby has found a way around the law by targeting the marketing of gun companies and not just the firearms themselves.
Last year, for example, disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a New York bill allowing the state AG and members of the public to sue gun makers for the criminal misuse of their products through public nuisance claims, and since then California Gov. Gavin Newsom has encouraged Democrats to approve a similar measure aimed as a response to the new law in Texas allowing citizens to sue abortion providers.
Now, with emotions running high after the horrific shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, Democrats across the country are hoping to put their own laws in place that can be used to try to bankrupt the firearms industry by holding them responsible for the actions of depraved murderers. On Monday, New Jersey legislators cast their first votes on a bill that largely mirrors New York’s law.
“In an effort to hold firearm industry leaders accountable for the gun violence epidemic, the Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced legislation sponsored the Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Nellie Pou which would allow the Attorney General to file public nuisance claims against gun industry members,” the Democrats said today.
“Far too many families have been torn apart by gun violence. We cannot stand by and accept the fact that firearms are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. While we desperately need federal legislation, this measure will allow the State Attorney General to take action and seek damages for shootings here in New Jersey,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “We must do everything we can to stop this, which starts with holding those responsible accountable for their actions.”
Never mind the fact that New Jersey already has some of the most restrictive laws in the nation, including requiring all new gun owners to either obtain a Firearms ID card or a permit to purchase a handgun, and those laws haven’t stopped cities like Trenton from having some of the worst homicide rates in the nation. New Jersey’s laws prevent far more law-abiding people from accessing their Second Amendment rights than they do criminals from illegally obtaining a firearm, but that’s all the more reason for the state’s anti-gun lawmakers to paint a bright red target on the firearms industry.
Under the bill that’s almost certain to win approval, even if a criminal steals a gun and then uses it to commit an armed robbery or a home invasion, the gun industry could still be held responsible. This would be like suing Ford because their ads make it seem fun to drive fast and someone stole a Mustang and drunkenly drove into a minivan full of people.
The difference, of course, is that these lawmakers aren’t trying to shut Ford down (though they might want the company to switch to only producing electric vehicles). Their ultimate goal is the destruction of the U.S. firearms industry, and they view these lawsuits as a particularly fruitful line of attack.
Expect to see many more of these measures at both the state and local level. Today, in fact, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is set to vote on a similar ordinance, even though it would be largely redundant if Newsom’s proposal is approved as a state law.
Gun makers who profit off of selling weapons of war must be responsible for keeping deadly products out of the wrong hands.
Yet, their predatory advertisements targeting our children prove that they value shareholder profits over the lives of young people.
So let's sue them. pic.twitter.com/66f8Zbej0y
— Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer (@SupLawsonRemer) June 13, 2022
According to California law, every firearm sold in the state has to go through both a background check and a 10-day waiting period. If that isn’t enough to prevent guns from keeping the “wrong hands” from getting ahold of a gun, I’m not exactly sure what gun makers are supposed to do, especially since even those who do engage in direct-to-consumer sales still ship every one of their products to an FFL who conducts a background check.
Don’t waste your time trying to find some sort of logical argument in favor of these laws. You won’t find one. Under these laws, plaintiffs don’t even have to show that a criminal was aware of any particular gun advertisement for the gun companies to be held culpable. Instead, companies can be held liable based largely on nothing more than the subjective feelings of a judge or jury towards any given marketing campaign (or the gun company behind it). Despite the sign on the podium in front of Lawson-Remer, these laws have nothing to do with common sense and everything to do with ensuring that Americans are defenseless and unable to acquire a firearm for personal protection because the gun companies have all been bankrupted and they’ve made it a crime to build your own. Do I think they’ll ever get their wish? No, but they can still do a lot of damage before they fail.