Bernie Sanders’ position on gun legislation is winning him high praise from an unlikely group following Sunday night’s Democratic Debate. But when a Liberal not only comes down on the same side as the NRA, but actually gets praised by the radical organization, you know we probably have a problem.
I really do like Bernie and agree with him on many things but on this one he’s just plain wrong. During Sunday night’s Democratic Debate Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders discussed gun legislation and one of the things they disagreed about was the Protection Of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act (PLCAA), which is a 2005 federal law that gives gun manufacturers broad immunity from lawsuits.
Bernie supports gun manufacturers being protected from lawsuits and voted in favor of the law. Hillary believes the opposite and voted against it. Hillary has called the PLCAA “one of the most egregious, wrong, pieces of legislation that ever passed the Congress when it comes to this issue is to protect gun sellers and gun makers from liability.”
“If you have a small gun shop owner in Northern Vermont who sells a gun legally to somebody and then, you know, something happens to that guy, he goes nuts or something, and he kills somebody, should the gun shop owner be held liable? I think not.”
“They are the only business in America that is wholly protected from any kind of liability. They can sell a gun to someone they know they shouldn’t, and they won’t be sued. There will be no consequences.”
— NRA (@NRA) March 7, 2016
It really isn’t all that surprising that the NRA is now singing the praise of Bernie. He basically echoed their talking points on this one.
But the truth is, victims of gun violence SHOULD BE ABLE TO GO AFTER gun makers who are careless, sell to irresponsible or shady dealers, or don’t require safety measures. This is not a matter of “The killer pulled the trigger so quit trying to shift the blame to anyone else!” Obviously the killer is responsible. But if the seller ignored red flags or the manufacturer ignored safety protocol then they too bear responsibility.
Imagine if a car manufacturer wanted to save money so they used cheap parts to build new cars and those parts led directly to more driver deaths. Yes the driver is still responsible. But so is the car manufacturer for failing on safety.
Before this 2005 PLCAA immunity law, civil lawsuits were actually used successfully against the gun industry. And those lawsuits brought about stronger safety measures. For example, in 2000, as part of a settlement, Smith & Wesson agreed to sell safety devices with their guns and also agreed to establish a dealer code of conduct.
The store where the 2002 DC Sniper bought his gun literally “lost” over 238 guns over a 3 year time period. The families of six of the victims sued the gun store and Bushmaster claiming the gun maker knowingly sold to a bad dealer. In 2004 both the dealer and the manufacturer were held liable in a $2.5 Million settlement.
So it is no wonder that the NRA was in full support of this PLCAA immunity law. Gun manufacturing is big business. But in this country it is also a very deadly business.
This issue is not a matter of being on Team Hillary vs. Team Bernie. This is a matter of understanding how bad the gun problem is in America. And taking the position that gun dealers and manufacturers should not be held responsible for their product’s safety and distribution is both shocking and very disturbing.