Feature

Guns

Protecting an industry from lawsuits.

'œThe National Rifle Association certainly got its money's worth,' said The Columbus Dispatch in an editorial. The Senate, prodded by the powerful gun lobby, passed legislation last week protecting the firearm industry from being sued for violent acts committed with its weapons. The new law would be directed at people such as Anthony Oliver Sr. and Sheree Goode of Philadelphia, whose 14-year-old son was gunned down on the street. They are suing Lou's Jewelry and Pawn shop for selling dozens of $50 Saturday night specials to a gun trafficker. One of the pistols ended up in the hands of a kid who pointed it at Anthony Jr. and accidentally pulled the trigger. If the House approves the same law, as expected, the gun industry will have one less reason to be vigilant about how its products are sold. 'œThe people who will benefit,' said Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio, who opposed the bill, 'œare the irresponsible dealers and irresponsible manufacturers.'

Make that the 'œlaw abiding' dealers and manufacturers, said former senator Zell Miller in The Boston Globe. It's simply unfair to hold people responsible 'œfor the criminal actions of third parties.' Yet that's exactly what a recent spate of lawsuits has attempted to do. But imagine applying that principle to any other industry. 'œDo you believe that Ford Motor Co. should be dragged into court to be held responsible for damage to life and limb caused by drunk drivers?' Of course not, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. But try telling that to the trial lawyers who hope to get rich from such lawsuits, or to gun-control activists who are trying to achieve through litigation what they have failed to do in the legislative arena: namely, putting the gun industry 'œout of business.'

Los Angeles Times

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