States Support Gun Industry Immunity from Suits
April 4, 2003
The House Judiciary Committee has just approved a bill giving gun manufacturers and dealers immunity against many types of lawsuits -- including those already in court brought by shooting victims and municipalities.
Granting immunity would be a serious setback for advocates of gun control -- who have increasingly turned to state courts in recent years after meeting resistance in state legislatures.
- The national legislation has so much political support -- sponsored by 248 House members and 52 senators -- that probably only a filibuster could derail it, observers predict.
- Legislatures in more than 30 states have passed laws protecting the gun industry from lawsuits.
- Gun control plays well in urban areas, however, and two dozen cities and counties have filed suits seeking damages for the costs of gun violence -- although none of the suits have succeeded and eight have been dismissed.
- Experts have estimated that the suits have so far cost the firearms industry more than $100 million in legal fees.
That's a considerable burden on a relatively small industry with many family-owned businesses, industry defenders point out.
Source: John Tierney, "A New Push to Grant Gun Industry Immunity from Suits," New York Times, April 4, 2003.
Browse more articles on Government Issues