The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

From Evan Osnos’s excellent “Making a Killer” feature for The New Yorker, on the business and politics of selling guns in the U.S.:

With the help of Congress, the industry has avoided further lawsuits. In 2005, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act immunized gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers from civil liability for damages caused by their products. Mike Fifer, the C.E.O. of the U.S. gunmaker Sturm, Ruger, said at an N.R.A. convention in 2011 that the law is “probably the only reason we have a U.S. firearms industry anymore.”

This passage jumped out at me. Rescinding this law should be a top priority for gun control advocates. You don’t have to go state by state. There is no Second Amendment angle. Rescind this law and let the victims of gun violence sue the manufacturers and sellers of guns. Personally, I’m all for mandatory background checks, banning high-capacity military rifles, repealing concealed carry laws, and more. But rescinding this one law shielding gun manufacturers and sellers from civil liability seems like the most politically viable first step. Why do I not hear more about this?

(Any movement on gun control is politically unviable so long as Republicans hold either house of Congress, but Democrats held both houses and the presidency as recently as 2011.)

Monday, 20 June 2016