Sunday, January 17, 2016

What the Anti-Second Amendment crowd gets wrong about gun maker indemnity

The pandering and flip-flop decision by U.S. Senator Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders over his reversal to now do away with the firearms manufacturers’ indemnity from frivolous lawsuits is a sham.

.What the ignorant, confused and downright "untruthers" are failing to grasp is that firearms manufacturers are not given a free pass for making a defective product. They can - and always have - been libel for making a firearm that is potentially dangerous due to a design or manufacturing flaw.

A good case in point is how America’s oldest gun maker – Remingtom Arms – is having its legal feet held to the fire because of a potentially life-threatening defect with the company’s designated Walker Fire Control-trigger mechanism to its popular Model 700 rifles as well as 12 other of the firm’s high-power rifle models.

This is a $20 million class-action lawsuit that deals with a potentially serious design and manufacturing defeat.

What firearms manufacturers are protected against are frivolous lawsuits intended to hold the companies accountable for the criminal misuse of their products. Such lawsuits would be driven by individuals and groups that are part of what I like to call the “Anti-Second Amendment Lobby.”

These people simply abhor people owning firearms. We do not hold, say, Ford accountable if one of its Explorers in used as a get-away car during a bank robbery or if a Taurus is driven by a drunk driver that injures and kills someone.

Indeed, we are not holding Toyota legally accountable or are suggesting sanctions against this Japanese-based motor vehicle manufacturer because the firm’s pick-up trucks are widely used by Middle East terrorists’ groups; a point of vehicle usage that even President Obama referenced regarding ISIS and made during his January 12th State-of-the-Union address.

For that matter no one executed a lawsuit against the owner of the rented Ryder truck used by Timothy McVeigh in his act of domestic terrorism by his blowing up Oklahoma City’s Murrah Building on April 19, 1995.

Neither were sued the makers of the explosives Tovex and the Primadet detonating cord also used by McVeigh, let alone seeking a judgment against the manufacturer of the ammonium nitrate-rich fertilizer and diesel fuel used by him to kill 168 people – including 19 children – as well as injuring 680 other people.

Ditto, we do not hold a Seagram or a Jim Beam or a Coors accountable if a person drinks too much and then becomes a drunken driver who instigates a vehicular tragedy.

And like a bartender who knowingly allows a customer to drink in excess that might result in producing a drunken driver, there are federal licensing rules for gun shops that forbid it from knowingly selling a firearm to a person who intends to turn around and resell it or give it away as part of a so-called "straw man" exchange.

Likewise, there also is a federal law administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agency that stipulates how a licensed gun dealer must report to a multiple number of law enforcement agencies the sale of two or more firearms within five business days and to a non-licensed dealer.

So, please, let's dispense with the disingenuous and specious argument that somehow gun makers and firearms dealers cannot be sued or held accountable. That line of thinking is flat-out and simply not true.

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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