What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Victims of Gun Violence : S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Clarify that Police Officers Retained the Right to Sue Gun Dealers for Alleged Acts of Negligence that Contribute to Gun Violence. (2004 senate Roll Call 21)
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S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Clarify that Police Officers Retained the Right to Sue Gun Dealers for Alleged Acts of Negligence that Contribute to Gun Violence.
senate Roll Call 21     Feb 26, 2004
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

During debate on 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 Craig (R-ID), a National Rifle Association (NRA) board member, proposed an amendment which would clarify that police officers who are injured or killed in the line of duty by criminals who obtained their gun illegally retained the right to bring suit against the gun dealer whose alleged negligence contributed to the gun violence. Conservatives supported Craig's amendment and argued that, contrary to the charges leveled by Democrats, provisions in the underlying legislation would 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. Progressives objected to Craig's amendment. In their view, the underlying legislation would bar legitimate lawsuits against the gun industry in cases involving alleged negligence on the part of gun dealers or manufacturers. The underlying bill, Progressives argued, 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. In the last three years, that gun dealership has been unable to account for 237 guns which were once in their possession. According to Malvo, Bull's Eye left its firearms unguarded for an easy 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. Progressives voted against the Craig amendment based on their opposition to what they characterized as a Republican effort to unfairly shut the courtroom door to victims of gun violence. In contrast to Republican efforts to exempt certain groups from the liability restrictions contained in the underlying gun liability bill (groups such as police officers and D.C. sniper victims), Progressives favored legally empowering provisions for victims of gun violence which would retain their rights to sue negligent gun manufacturers and dealers. On a vote of 60-34, Craig's amendment was adopted and a clarification was made that police officers retained the right to sue gun dealers for alleged acts of negligence that contribute to gun violence.

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