The Bush administration will need some real target practice in public safety if firearms dealers, manufacturers and other Second Amendment loving Americans get their way and a new immunity bill is passed that would further thwart gun control.
The immunity bill, revised after its first version was shot down in a senate vote last year, would protect gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits for gun malfunctions. Gun owners would not be able to sue for accidental shootings by adults or children who believe the gun to be unloaded or for poorly made guns that explode in their hands.
While there is an ‘I told you so’ element to a scenario that puts a gun owner in one of the positions to sue, the victims could be innocent bystanders or children. Any legislation that would protect the innocent and punish the guilty is more reasonable than legislation that would not give the guilty so much as a slap on the wrist.
This bill should not even be on the floor yet it could go to a vote any day. In fact, it had the votes to pass in March, but the National Rifle Association pulled their support when amendments were added like one that would have extended a 10-year ban on certain assault weapons. If it comes to a vote, Congress needs to first look at opposition which comes from senators, police leaders, law professors and families of gun shot victims.
Or, simply use common sense.
During his reign, Bush has refused to reload important gun control laws like a 10-year-old federal assault gun ban followed by a ban on domestically made ammunition clips with more than 10 rounds. Instead, Bush signed a bill that requires the destruction within 24 hours of all records of background checks of gun buyers making it harder for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to regulate irresponsible dealers.
The immunity bill would take this a step further and prevent the ATF from going after bad dealers with administrative proceedings, a type of civil action that allows ATF to close gun shops that have not kept accurate records, have missing guns or commit other federal violations.
Our society needs to tighten gun control legislation not weaken it. After all, the sniper who shot and killed 10 people in the Washington, D.C. area and one of the Columbine shooters got their weapons from gun show patrons and dealers who didn’t fear legal repercussions.
An immunity bill will make manufacturers’ feel less pressure to create safer models and give bad dealers even less incentive to follow the law when they sell firearms.
If this new bill takes effect, the gun-toting community will have further protections while the rest of us must watch out for disgruntled employees, high school students and other terrorists (gun manufacturers included) who can more easily than ever obtain firearms.
Under the immunity bill, guns will be the only product that consumers have no right to file claims against. It makes perfect sense. Children’s toys are labeled with warnings of choking hazards, but toy manufacturers can still be taken to court. That’s right. Barbie’s Dream House causes more deaths per year than guns? The logic evades us, unless, of course, you take into account gun lobbyists’ connection to the president’s good old days in Texas.
When Bush was governor of Texas he sided with the NRA in signing a Texas state law banning municipalities from suing gunmakers.
The only positive way to look at this bill is if it accomplishes the opposite of its intent and less people buy guns for fear that they cannot sue the manufacturers if something goes wrong. Since this is highly unlikely, we suggest Congress think hard about turning down the proposed bill and take a good look at other gun control legislation that Bush has kicked to the wayside.