This article contains editorial content written by a current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to reports, Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland believes that there are no Second Amendment-related issues when it comes to the fact that gun manufacturers might lose protection from frivolous lawsuits.
Sen. Mike Lee once helped block Merrick Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama. On Monday, he probed how far Garland — now nominated as attorney general — might push a gun control agenda under President Joe Biden.https://t.co/EUJWpc8tbP
— The Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) February 22, 2021
Garland’s stance on this issue was revealed on February 22nd, when the AG nominee was being questioned by Republican Senator Mike Lee on his positions in relation to gun control.
Among the line of questioning, Senator Lee had asked Garland whether he would support any efforts by President Joe Biden to ban the sales of certain categories of firearms, to which Garland answered:
“Where there is room under the law for the president’s policies to be pursued, then I think the president is entitled to pursue them.”
Senator Lee then moved on to the topic of universal background checks for those looking to purchase firearms. Garland did say that he supported universal background checks to curtail prohibited possessors from obtaining firearms.
But then came the question pertaining to the potential appealing of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, also known as the PLCAA.
When Senator Lee asked Garland whether he’d support gun manufacturers being held liable for deaths or injuries caused by their firearms, Garland acknowledged that President Biden has pushed for that effort, while adding:
“I have not thought myself deeply about this. I don’t think it raises a Second Amendment issue.”
So, the question is – would any sort of repeal of the PLCAA actually conflict with aspects outlined in the Second Amendment?
Well, it’s a little complex; as in, the answer isn’t exactly “yes” or “no”.
The Second Amendment is pretty short and simple, which notes:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
And the PLCAA, which is a topic we’ve covered numerous times before here at Law Enforcement Today, is an act that shields gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits when their products are used unlawfully.
But what the PLCAA doesn’t protect gun manufacturers and dealers from, are any damages that are the result of selling defective products, contractual breaches, criminal misconduct, or pretty much any civil or criminal act where culpability can be reasonably drawn back to a gun manufacturer or dealer.
No PLCAA, No industry (sued out of existence), No Industry, No Second Amendment The right becomes illusory RT Merrick Garland: Opening Gun Makers to Lawsuits Doesn't Raise 2A Issue @NSSF #2A #PLCAA https://t.co/K01fb4rOez
— Larry Keane (@lkeane) February 24, 2021
Now, the PLCAA isn’t that old – it was signed into law back in October of 2005, which illustrates that the upholding of the Second Amendment isn’t exactly reliant on the existence of PLCAA.
Yet, when one examines why the PLCAA came to be, one could reasonably draw how repealing it could present eventual issues for the Second Amendment.
In the late ’90s and early 2000s, gun manufacturers were getting hit with lawsuits left and right – and the basis of many of these lawsuits essentially followed the same formula:
- Someone was hurt or killed with a gun used illegally
- “X” manufacturer made the gun and/or “X” dealer sold it
- “X” manufacturer and/or “X” dealer should know that guns can be used illegally and can hurt/kill people
- Since “X” manufacturer made it and/or “X” dealer sold it, they share the blame of (insert incident)
Obviously, before the PLCAA existed, it didn’t mean that gun manufacturers or dealers were losing all these lawsuits, however litigation costs money.
And every time one of these lawsuits got brought up, it created a financial impact that – had the practice continued – could’ve seen firearm manufacturers and dealers shuttered from having to fund litigation costs.
Basically, why would a person or entity need to crusade to outlaw guns, when they can simply bankrupt the companies that make them?
This is why the PLCAA came to fruition, which made it so those trying to sue the likes of gun manufacturers and dealers, couldn’t attempt to muster up the previously mentioned 4-step formula.
Which is why the PLCAA possibly being repealed isn’t some hard “yes” or firm “no” on whether it, “raises a Second Amendment issue,” as Garland put it.
If the PLCAA protections magically vanished tomorrow – obviously the Second Amendment wouldn’t magically disappear with it on the same day.
But then again, Andy Dufresne didn’t escape the Shawshank prison after his first chipping at the prison cell wall with his rock hammer – and the repeal of the PLCAA could be the allegorical framework of that very first chip in the proverbial wall that is the Second Amendment.
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As mentioned earlier, we at Law Enforcement Today has touched on subjects where the PLCAA crops up – such as a January, 2020 interview of Joe Biden that didn’t get published until after he was elected president.
Here’s that previous report.
LAS VEGAS, NV – Back in January of 2020, before words like “pandemic” were circulating throughout the United States or summer riots becoming a topic of discourse, the Las Vegas Sun had a sit-down interview with then presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Sun’s 2020 sit-down with Joe Biden shines a light on how he will lead the country. https://t.co/FydLINUXHj
— Las Vegas Sun (@LasVegasSun) January 31, 2021
During this interview, the topics covered ranged from nuclear waste, FISA courts, healthcare, and of course – potential gun laws. Yet, the Las Vegas Sun didn’t publish the article at all…until over one year after the interview, on January 31st of 2021.
And some of the comments from now-President Biden made during the January 2020 interview is exactly the kind of information potential voters should have been privy to well before the Democratic primaries and then subsequent presidential election.
When reviewing the article from the Las Vegas Sun, the outlet seemingly glossed over the fact that this interview was sat on for over a year, providing a weak justification for that practice by writing:
“On Jan. 11, 2020, the Sun interviewed Joe Biden as part of a series of conversations with Democratic candidates leading up to the Nevada presidential caucuses… As he begins his term, we felt the interview was worth publishing to give readers a better idea of where Biden will lead the country.”
They sat on it for almost a year so voters would not see it prior to the 2020 Selection….https://t.co/Gn2qZ60Jfi
— The Situational Mutant (@KJC402TSM) February 8, 2021
When the Las Vegas Sun’s editorial board posed questions to Biden regarding his plans on tackling “gun safety measures”, Biden had initially boasted of his previous efforts and clamored about how smart guns could be a possibility in our future:
“I also dealt with the folks in Silicon Valley; we have the capacity now to build any weapon where it can only be fired with your biometric marker. And that technology doesn’t violate anyone’s Second Amendment right at all. If you pass the background check, you can purchase a weapon which only you can pull the trigger.”
Ironically, in January of 2020, we at Law Enforcement Today also wrote about the inconclusive nature of the efficacy of smart gun technology – which can be read here.
But for those short on time, the proverbial verdict is far from out on whether smart guns will operate as intended in a variety of scenarios.
But what’s most important in this interview that voters likely would’ve wanted to know before going to the voting booth is how Biden described the potential methods he’d be willing to employ in order to get the types of gun legislation he wants passed.
Essentially, Biden stated at the time that he’d be willing to have his gun-related agendas baked into larger pieces of legislation, serving as a quid pro quo while also being able to fly under the cover of bills named something other than ‘gun control’:
“I am absolutely convinced I can get [gun legislation] passed. The way we did it last time is we included it in a larger bill that had really good things in it like the Violence Against Women Act, community policing, et cetera.”
“So, the way you give cover to some of our Republican friends who are scared of the NRA — and this outfit owns the White House right now — is you put it in a larger bill. So they say, ‘Look, I had to vote for it.’”
Well, at least we now know how President Biden might approach nabbing American citizens’ “AR-14s”, as he once referred to the fictitious model firearm back in March of 2020.
Also, during this January 2020 interview, Biden made sure to mention that “assault rifles” are among his priorities to tackle:
“I’m a skeet shooter, and I used to go up and down the (Delmarva) Peninsula in Delaware and talk to the guys hunting and fishing. They’d say, ‘God darn, Joe, why are you taking my weapon away? You’re taking my shotgun.’”
“And I’d show ’em a picture of an assault rifle and I’d say, ‘You need this to hunt with? And you need a magazine with a hundred rounds or 30 rounds? You must be a lousy damn shot.’ The point is, it’s a totally salable idea.”
— AmmoLand News (@AmmoLand) February 8, 2021
President Biden’s controversial stance on what he deems to be assault weapons/rifles is hardly new, but another claim he made – that was erroneous in the conveyed context he delivered – was that gun manufacturers are “exempt from being sued”:
“Also, the gun industry is the only outfit in America exempt from being sued. The only one. Imagine if that were the case with drug companies now. We’d still have 9 billion opioids being sold without warnings. But guess what? You can sue them.”
“Imagine what we could do if we held the gun manufacturers accountable for lying about products, for producing products they know are doing great harm, et cetera.”
“That’s going to be one of the things I’m going to move very hard against.”
What President Biden was incorrectly referring to during those comments in January of 2020 is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects gun manufacturers from being sued in instances where their products are sold legally by them but wind up getting used unlawfully by a third party.
— CatoTheYounger (@catoletters) February 8, 2021
For example, someone isn’t able to sue Smith & Wesson if one of their firearms was legally sold to an individual, and then perhaps that individual or someone else uses said firearm in the commission of a crime.
This is also a topic we at Law Enforcement Today have provided coverage on before back in 2020.
The PLCAA doesn’t give gun manufacturers blanket immunity from lawsuits in every matter – as they can absolutely be sued if they illegally sell a firearm, engage in illegal marketing practices, or sell products that they know to be faulty in any manner.
As mentioned earlier, this would have been great information to know about prior to November of 2020.
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