Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomenewsStates Seek to Eliminate Legal Protections for The Firearms Industry

States Seek to Eliminate Legal Protections for The Firearms Industry

Major shootings in the United States always generate questions of responsibility. A delay in police reaction in front of an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The inability of a district attorney to prosecute the suspected Club Q shooter one year prior to five deaths at the LGBTQ nightclub.

Yet, the guilt rarely falls on the manufacturer of the firearms used in the atrocities.

Legislators in Colorado and at least five other states are contemplating a change, having introduced proposals to eliminate legal protections for gun manufacturers and dealers that have shielded the industry from questions of liability.

In the past three years, California, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey have passed identical legislation.

A draught version of Colorado’s bill, which is expected to be introduced on Thursday, not only repeals the state’s 2000 law — which generally protects firearm manufacturers from liability for violence committed with their products — but also outlines a code of conduct that targets, in part, how firearm manufacturers design and market their products.

Hawaii, New Hampshire, Virginia, Washington, and Maryland are also exploring similar laws, as is Colorado.

The bill in Colorado would make it easier for victims of gun violence to launch civil claims, such as the one filed against Remington in 2015, the manufacturer of the weapon used in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Connecticut.

In 2015, Remington reached a $73 million settlement with the families of those slain in the massacre after the family accused the business of targeting young, at-risk males through advertising and product placement in violent video games.

Nevertheless, states that have already enacted the law are now facing legal challenges or threats of lawsuits from national gun rights organisations, in part because a 2005 federal statute already grants the gun industry substantial legal immunity.

“We may overlook how odd and peculiar it is to create this exemption from responsibility,” “Ari Freilich, state policy director for the gun control advocacy organisation Giffords, contends that the federal legislation gives states some control over the legal liability of the business.

This law will “enable victims of gun violence to have their day in court and demonstrate that the gun business failed to take reasonable safeguards to prevent harm.” “Freilich added.

Mark Oliva, managing director for public relations at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which has brought lawsuits against legislation in other states, stated that Colorado’s statute would be “ripe” for a legal challenge if the bill passes. Oliva believes that if Coors Brewing Company should not be held liable for its customers drinking and driving, why should gun companies be held liable for their customers’ actions?

“The purpose of this bill is to force the firearms industry to pay for frivolous litigation,” stated Oliva. “You do not have Second Amendment rights if you cannot acquire a handgun at retail in the first place.”

While the federal statute remains intact, the sponsors of the Colorado bill contend that it has a carve-out that provides states some authority.

The proposed legislation prohibits firms from marketing or designing firearms in a way that could “foreseeably” promote illegal conversion, such as advertising a semi-automatic rifle’s capacity to hold a large capacity magazine, which is banned in Colorado.

Current Colorado law also mandates that plaintiffs pay attorney fees if their case against a firearm manufacturer is dismissed. This condition bankrupted the parents of a 2012 Aurora theatre massacre victim.

Rep. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, a Democrat and one of the bill’s authors, stated, “One of my aspirations is to be able to provide the Club Q victims… at least full participation in our Colorado court system.” “Just as any other plaintiffs in a legal action would be able to do.”

Lewis stated that the law will simply level the playing field with other companies, such as pharmaceuticals, that do not have the same legal safeguards as the gun industry. The backers are adamant that this would not only allow victims of gun violence, survivors, and their families to seek legal retribution, but that the prospect of civil litigation would push the industry to police itself.

Rep. Javier Mabrey, a Democrat and one of the bill’s supporters, stated, “We need actors in the business to enforce the rules themselves, and if there is a path to civil liability… that adds an additional incentive for them to enforce regulations that are already on the books.”

In Colorado’s Democratic-majority state legislature, Republicans will certainly oppose the bill. Rep. Mike Lynch, the minority leader in the Colorado House, stated that he had not seen a copy of the measure and therefore declined to comment.

Senate President of Colorado, Steve Fenberg, stated, “I am pleased to see this legislation advance, and I look forward to supporting it when it reaches the Senate floor.”

The governor did not respond to specific queries from The Associated Press regarding his stance on the bill.

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Parvesh
Parvesh
Parvesh is the Content Writer for New Jersey Local News. Here at New Jersey Local News, she covers local news of New Jersey state. Moreover, Parvesh likes to dance and listen to music. She also finds time in her hectic schedule to relax and spend time with loved ones.
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