Sanders: Gun manufacturers should be held responsible when criminals use guns they made


Charleston, South Carolina – Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders supports the idea that gun manufacturers should be held liable for suit in the event there’s a crime committed with one of their firearms lawfully sold.

He did so by withdrawing his support of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, commonly abbreviated as PLCAA.


After Sanders delivered a monologue on how he’d approach gun reform, citing things like assault weapons bans and universal background checks, Chris Cuomo asked him about his previous support for the PLCAA.

Sanders responded during the town hall the following:

“In terms of the manufacturer’s liability, I am now on the bill that takes away that exemption.”

However, the PLCAA is one of the most common-sense forms of liability protection to come around when it pertains to licensed dealers and gun manufacturers.

It’s not some protection that prevents a manufacturer or dealer from being sued if they sold a defective product that caused harm through the defect.

It’s instead a protection from when people do stupid or unlawful things with properly sold and manufactured guns.

Prior to former-President Bush signing the legislation in October of 2005, gun manufacturers were constantly having to fight lawsuits for people committing felonies with their guns.

After enough of the lawsuits and court battles had been tolerated by the industry, steps were taken to get a protection on the books.

Victims of gun violence holding gun manufacturers and dealers liable makes no sense, unless there was some kind of illegal action taken by either or entity (such as, perhaps a licensed dealer selling weapons to someone with known mental-health issues).

If the PLCAA gets abolished, then by that logic people could sue Cuisinart if they get stabbed by one of their manufactured kitchen knives?

Better yet, why not sue Home Depot if they sell a hammer to someone who then attacks someone with it?  Or sue the maker of the hammer?

No person or entity should bear responsibility for the unforeseeable actions of others who use their products, no matter what those products are. The idea cheapens the objective fact of personal accountability, and treats culpability like a game of hot-potato. It’s a dangerous idea to consider.

And Sanders isn’t the only one making that push this week.  So did Joe Biden.

In a speech on Monday, Biden threatened gun manufacturers, saying:

“I’m coming for you, and I’m taking you down.”

When crazy Joe is cast as a “moderate,” it must mean the rest of the Democratic field is way left…which is true. Still, Biden had tried to paint himself as something of a moderate on the issue of gun control.

His campaign’s gun control plan, which was released in October, proposed reinstating the so-called “assault-weapons ban” and universal background checks.

The campaign drew the line at forcing current owners of semi-automatic rifles to turn their guns over to the government, as some of the more loony left candidates have proposed.

Biden has tried to avoid being aggressive in his gun control rhetoric, however has repeatedly called for gun manufacturers to maintain liability when the weapons they produce is used in the commission of a crime. You know, like car manufacturers are liable when their products are used by drunk drivers—oh, never mind.

“A guy has 12 assault weapons with bump stocks, which means you can fire it faster. You can pull the trigger faster,” Biden said last week during a CNN town hall, in reference to the Las Vegas terrorist shooting.

“Why in God’s name should anyone, anyone, anyone, anyone (that’s Biden, not the writer) be able to own that? It’s just wrong, and we’ve got to—and I promise you as president, I am going to get these guys.”

Biden has ramped up the criticism of Bernie Sanders as he has somehow risen in the polls, in particular Crazy Bernie’s early career record on gun control.

Biden pointed out that Sanders was endorsed by the NRA in his 1990 congressional race, and he voted against gun control legislation a number of times when he was a young House member.

“It’s just flat out immoral, it’s just flat out immoral,” Biden said at a meeting last week with the Bloomberg-funded anti-gun group Moms Demand Action.

“You know, committed Republicans—and some Democrats—like Bernie Sanders—voted five times, five times against background checks and waiting periods; notwithstanding the fact that millions of people were denied having access to weapons of destruction because they didn’t qualify.”

Is it us or does Biden stutter a lot?

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Twice, once in 1991 and again in 1993, Sanders voted against a version of the Brady Bill that would have enacted mandatory waiting period for background checks.

He also voted for a bill in 2003 and 2005 that protects gun companies from lawsuits if their weapons are used in the commission of a crime.

However, since 2016, Sanders has expressed a need to expand background checks and ban assault weapons.

Biden continued his tirade against gun manufacturers:

“You know, any one of you and the people behind me should be able to walk into a court of law and demand that gun manufacturers with their enormous profits be held accountable for the carnage that they’re responsible for inflicting on our society.”

Biden’s campaign also released a web video of Sanders telling a radio caller after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting that allowing people to sue gun manufacturers would do no good.

Sanders: Gun manufacturers should be held responsible when criminals use guns they made
Screen shot PBS News of CT officers responding to school shooting at Sandy Hook.

Biden likened the liability aspect of gun companies to that of big tobacco.

“Imagine if I stood up here and said…I’m going to vote to give immunity to tobacco companies, to drug manufacturers who poured nine billion opioids on the market,” Biden continued.

Biden also reiterated his record of opposing the National Rifle Association.

“I want to let them know. I promise you. I’m the only guy that has beaten the gun manufacturers—I’m the only guy that has beaten the NRA nationally, and I did it twice, nationally. And gun manufacturers, I’m coming for you. Period.”

Biden also took to social media to attack Sanders’ record on guns, suggesting that Crazy Bernie is partially responsible for the power gun manufacturers currently have.  

Biden also noted that if elected (chances slim and none), on his first day in office he would send a bill to Congress repealing the liability protection for gun manufacturers, closing background check loopholes and enacting a waiting period.

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As we reported a few weeks ago, Biden’s statements defy logic.

Breaking it down “by the numbers,” so to speak, let’s once again look at how wrong this plan is:

-Criminals can’t buy guns legally, thankfully, but must buy them out of a trunk of a car in an alley somewhere. Gun manufacturers have no control over a stolen gun being sold in an alley.

-Criminals don’t submit to background checks that all gun manufacturers and gun rights advocates fully support. Gun manufacturers have no control over the lack of background checks in an alley.

-Criminals don’t generally attend gun range safety classes, marksmanship courses, or concealed carry classes, all of which strongly establish and support the lawful and safe use of weapons and are fully supported by all gun manufacturers and gun rights advocates. Gun manufacturers have no control over criminals not taking classes on legal use and gun safety.

-Criminals don’t follow the law – whatever law it is that they’re breaking. Hence, the label – criminal.  They’re committing a crime, which is direct contradiction with everything espoused by gun manufacturers and gun rights advocates.  Gun manufacturers have no control over people breaking the law.

-Some people use gasoline to start fires with. Some people use hairspray and a disposable lighter to make a mini-flamethrower to kill a spider in their house.  People pump gasoline into plastic milk containers. 

None of these things are supported by common sense or the intended use as prescribed by the gasoline manufacturer, hairspray manufacturer, or the local dairy.  People CHOOSE to do stupid and sometimes unlawful things with products and devices that their manufacturers surely didn’t intend.

One of our writers, James Lewis wrote the following:

“My folks didn’t sue White Rain hairspray when I burnt down our tool shed when I was 12 by using mom’s hairspray and her cigarette lighter to kill a group of daddy longlegs spiders…with my concocted mini-flamethrower.” 

“Can you imagine how ridiculous and frivolous that lawsuit would have been?  Your kid was using hairspray and a lighter to kill spiders and burnt down a building!” 

“Neither the hairspray manufacturer nor the lighter manufacturer intended for their product to be used that way.”

“Since it was 44 years ago and the statute of limitations has expired, I felt it possible to confess my crime without fear of punishment.  A lawsuit based on that act is just as ridiculous as a robbery, murder, or assault committed by a criminal with a stolen gun.  The gun manufacturer simply isn’t responsible for what someone chooses to do with the weapon.”

This isn’t about “proper use” of a product or lawsuits – this is about CONTROL.

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