What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Consumer Protection : S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Limit Debate On and Amendments To Legislation Which Would Impose Caps on Awards in Lawsuits Involving Negligence On the Part of the Gun Industry. (2004 senate Roll Call 16)
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S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Limit Debate On and Amendments To Legislation Which Would Impose Caps on Awards in Lawsuits Involving Negligence On the Part of the Gun Industry.
senate Roll Call 16     Feb 25, 2004
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

Protecting consumers against harmful products or services in the economic marketplace has been a hallmark of progressive legislation since the industrial revolution. In recent years, progressive lawmakers have attempted to hold tobacco companies, pharmaceutical firms, fast food chains, and, in this present case, firearms manufacturers liable for alleged harms to consumers. Conservative lawmakers, on the other hand, have sought legal reforms-so-called tort reforms-to protect businesses from paying large court-ordered sums of money to injured consumers. The subject of this vote was a motion to invoke cloture on a bill which would have prohibited civil liability actions 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. A sixty-vote majority is needed to invoke cloture which would, if successful, end debate and amending activity on the underlying gun industry liability bill and allow the measure to proceed to a final vote. Progressives voted against the cloture motion based on their opposition to the underlying legislation. During debate on the issue in the Senate, Progressives argued that Congress should instead be considering legislation to close the so-called gun show loophole-a loophole in the law which currently allows gun dealers to sell firearms at gun shows without first conducting criminal background checks-rather than, in the words of Senator Reed (D-RI), "open[ing] up a huge highway for the negligence of gun dealers and the gun industry." The court system, Progressives argued, is the only avenue available for victims to receive compensation for injury or death caused by negligence on the part of the gun industry. Progressives warned that the underlying legislation would prevent victims of gun violence from holding the gun industry accountable for any alleged negligence. Conservatives voted in favor of cloture based on their support for the underlying bill and argued that the legislation was needed to prevent what they characterized as frivolous or politically-motivated lawsuits against the gun industry. The gun industry, Conservatives contended, should not be held liable for the criminal actions of others. On a vote of 75-22, the motion to invoke cloture was adopted, debate on the legislation was limited, and a final vote on the gun industry liability bill was scheduled.

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