Indiana is a pretty pro-gun state, but there are pockets of anti-gun sentiment, much like any other state.
One of those pockets appears to be Gary, Indiana.
Now, I’ve been to Gary and, to be frank, wasn’t impressed, but it also kind of reminds me of my hometown. The once bustling city has hit hard times and hasn’t rebounded despite decades of promises from local politicians.
As a result, they have a crime issue. Not particularly shocking, all things considered.
Also not particularly shocking is the fact that local officials want to blame gun manufacturers. They filed a lawsuit back before the Protection of Lawful Commerce of Arms Act was passed.
It’s still languishing, and lawmakers in the state are upsetting a lot of folks with an effort to kill it.
For nearly a quarter century, some of the world’s largest gunmakers have tried unsuccessfully to beat back a lawsuit brought by the city of Gary, Indiana, accusing them of turning a blind eye to illegal gun sales.
The lawsuit was one of dozens that cities filed against gun manufacturers in the late 1990s, but it is the only one to survive a barrage of legal challenges and legislation aimed at limiting the gun industry’s liability for crimes committed with their products.
Now, facing the prospect of turning over internal documents that gun-control advocates believe could contain damning evidence, the industry has returned to an important ally in a last-ditch effort to kill the suit: the state legislature.
Republicans, who hold supermajorities in both chambers of the Statehouse, are close to passing a bill banning cities from suing firearm manufacturers, dealers or trade groups. Instead, only the state could bring such a lawsuit. Significantly, it’s retroactive to Aug. 27, 1999 — three days before Gary filed its lawsuit.
The bill has strong backing from the firearms industry, which has dramatically ramped up its lobbying efforts at the Statehouse. The lawmaker who introduced the legislation, Rep. Chris Jeter, has made it no secret that the measure is intended to target Gary’s lawsuit.
Of course, this piece from ProPublica by way of MSN treats this as a terrible thing. After all, these gun manufacturers need to be held accountable for their horrific actions!
The problem? They didn’t do anything wrong.
These companies are monitored by the ATF in a way that would be considered intrusive and abusive in any other industry. They have to put up with paperwork requirements that require perfect attention to detail or else the entire company is at risk.
One of the things the ATF does is look for any indication they’re not following the rules regarding who can and cannot buy a firearm.
They haven’t hit a single company for this kind of nonsense.
What the Gary lawsuit tried to do is shift the blame onto gun manufacturers for local officials’ inability to stem the tide of violent crime in their city.
That’s why the PLCAA was passed in the first place. Few other industries enjoy that kind of protection because few other industries have needed it. No one blames Toyota for drunk driving accidents, but they blame Smith & Wesson for the actions of a criminal who didn’t even buy their gun lawfully.
The only reason this lawsuit even exists is because it predated the passage of the PLCAA.
But that doesn’t mean it needs to continue. The truth is that it’s an idiotic lawsuit and, if the courts haven’t slapped it down by now, needs Indiana lawmakers to do the right thing here.
Gary, Indiana may not be the shining jewel of the Midwest, but it’s not because of anything gun manufacturers did or didn’t do. It’s because, as per usual, local leaders screwed the pooch and did it by the numbers and have a long history of trying to find someone else to blame.