What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Consumer Protection : S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Protect the Legal Rights of Law Enforcement Officers Injured or Killed by Gun Violence to Bring Suit Against a Gun Dealer Who Illegally Sold Firearms to Criminals.
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S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Protect the Legal Rights of Law Enforcement Officers Injured or Killed by Gun Violence to Bring Suit Against a Gun Dealer Who Illegally Sold Firearms to Criminals.
senate Roll Call 22     Feb 26, 2004
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In the view of Progressives, the gun industry liability bill under consideration in the Senate would bar legitimate lawsuits against the gun industry in cases involving alleged negligence on the part of gun dealers or manufacturers. To illustrate their claim, Progressives argued that the underlying bill would have prevented the victims of the D.C. snipers from bring suit against Bull's Eye Shooter Supply, the gun dealership in Tacoma, Washington where D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo stole the Bushmaster rifle used in the murders. Progressives pointed out that in the last three years, Bull's Eye has been unable to account for 237 guns which were once in their possession. One possible reason for this, according to Malvo, was that Bull's Eye left its firearms unguarded and therefore subject to theft. While passage of a previous amendment made an exception in the underlying bill to allow D.C. sniper victims to sue Bull's Eye for negligence, Progressives pointed out that victims in less-publicized cases would not receive the same legal rights as the victims of the D.C. snipers. During debate on the legislation to prohibit civil liability lawsuits from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages resulting from negligence on the part of the gun industry, Senator Corzine (D-NJ) offered an amendment which would have protected the rights of law enforcement officers who had been victims of gun violence while in the line of duty to bring a lawsuit against a negligent gun dealer (for instance, a negligent gun dealers would be an individual who illegally sold a firearm to a criminal without first conducting a criminal background check or who failed to reasonably secure their firearms from theft). Progressives voted in favor of Corzine's amendment and argued that victims of gun violence whose injuries or death were caused at least in part by alleged negligence on the part of the gun industry-including police officers who put their lives on the line to protect the public-should have their day in court to let a jury of their peers decide whether or not the gun dealer or manufacturer should be held legally accountable. Conservatives opposed Corzine's amendment. In their view, provisions in the underlying legislation already allow lawsuits in cases involving alleged negligence on the part of the gun industry. The purpose of the gun industry liability bill, Conservatives contended, was to prevent what they characterized as frivolous lawsuits against the gun industry; in their view, the gun industry should not be held liable for the criminal actions of others. Corzine's amendment was struck down on a vote of 38-56 and the legal protections for police officers whose injuries or death were caused at least in part by negligence on the part of the gun industry were not included in the underlying legislation.

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