The gun industry has perpetually been in a precarious spot. There are anti-Second Amendment types who desperately want to sue them into oblivion, making them responsible for every misuse of every firearm they ever make.
It’s the reason Congress stepped in and passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA.
From the moment it passed, though, some have sought to overturn it.
Here lately, there’s been an attempted end-around the law by attacking the marketing of these firearms. Over at Slate, though, they’re concerned that such efforts may come under attack after Bruen.
Last week, the Supreme Court handed down two decisions indicating radical new directions for American law. This may be obvious when it comes to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which extinguished women’s constitutional rights to choose abortion. After all, in his concurrence Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly called for the reconsideration of all of the Supreme Court’s substantive due process precedents. The other case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, is a gun control case in which Thomas wrote for the majority, striking down a state law constraining who could carry guns in public.
The majority opinion does not suggest comprehensive reconsideration of existing Supreme Court case law though it clearly paves the way for judicial decisions invalidating all sorts of statutes regulating access to firearms. Bruen is the harbinger of an even more drastic shift. It signals the current Supreme Court’s receptivity to the idea that the Constitution directly eliminates avenues of civil accountability for gun makers and sellers, even when a maker’s or seller’s conduct plays a close causal role in excessive gun violence. Currently, state and federal statutes are the legal mechanism for insulating gun makers and sellers from civil damage actions. If gun industry actors succeed in convincing the Supreme Court that the Constitution itself gives them immunity from civil liability under state law, these statutes will become superfluous. Even if the statutes were repealed, gun industry immunity from civil lawsuits would survive.
As it should.
You see, the gun industry isn’t immune to lawsuits. They just can’t be sued over stupid crap that can’t possibly be their fault.
If a gun blows up during normal use, you can file a lawsuit and they’ll have to defend themselves or settle. If you file a lawsuit because someone in your family was killed with a gun made by that manufacturer, then you’re slap out of luck.
The gun industry shouldn’t need that kind of protection. It shouldn’t be necessary to have a law in place to protect an industry from liability for the actions of a third party. However, it is because this kind of thing kept happening.
Now the anti-Second Amendment types feel like they’ve found a way around it. These new laws don’t even require the bad guy as having seen the marketing, they just use it as an excuse to try and make it unprofitable to sell guns to civilians.
Which is really the end goal.
See, you don’t need to worry about the Second Amendment if there aren’t guns on the market for people to buy. You don’t need gun control if the lack of options controls things just fine. That is, in my opinion, the ultimate goal for these kinds of lawsuits.
So yeah, I sincerely hope Bruen ultimately leads to all such laws being smacked down and smacked down hard. The gun industry isn’t liable because some mentally unstable jackwagon decided to shoot up the neighborhood. That’s not on them and never will be.