Maddow Guest Says BB Gun Manufacturers Aren’t Immune To Lawsuits Like Regular Gun Industry (VIDEO)

images-1Since the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, there has been movement across the country on the local, state, and federal level to enact sensible gun control measures that will prevent more gun violence. Likewise, many states are doing the opposite and are trying to relax gun laws and ban the enforcement of any new federal gun legislation. Few are talking about the gun dealers and manufacturers themselves, who have become the only industry in America to be immune from lawsuits.

The Rachel Maddow Show highlighted this issue on Friday night. Rachel interviewed Jon Lowy, director of the Brady Center Legal Action project. During the interview, Maddow and Lowey discussed how the gun industry is immune from liability suits when guns are used to kill innocent people. In other words, the industry can’t be sued for negligence because the NRA lobbied Republican lawmakers to shield the gun industry from such action, which they did in 2005. Even more revealing is when Lowy described how while the gun industry is shielded from being liable for their deadly products, bb gun manufacturers have no such privilege, meaning they can be sued for negligence. It’s really outrageous since bb guns don’t kill people and real gun actually do. Here’s a piece of the interview.

MADDOW: Am I overstating it to say that in the United States of America, gun manufacturers have immunity from liability that no other industries have?

LOWY: You’re right. I mean, there’s a basic principle of civil justice which governs everyone in society. That we all have to act reasonably. And if we don’t, we are deemed negligent. We can be deemed liable. The only people that that rule does not apply to are licensed gun dealers, manufacturers and distributors.

MADDOW: Does the industry behave in ways that they otherwise would not behave if they weren’t immune from prosecution in your view?

LOWY: There’s no question about it. We have cases where gun dealers supply criminals profit from those sales and then they come up with defenses such as, ‘I put a gun on the counter. I turned my back. What do you know, the criminal took the gun, left money on the counter for me and I didn’t know that he was going to do that.’ That, as implausible as it sounds, is a compelling defense under this federal law that can get them off the hook.


MADDOW: What sort of lobbying effort did the gun manufacturers and the NRA put into passing this tailor-made immunity bill for their own industry?

LOWY: Well, they misrepresented it. I mean, they would say that the bill was about preventing gun companies from being held liable when they did nothing wrong, but their gun was used in a criminal shooting. And the fact is these lawsuits were not seeking to impose liability for those cases. It was simply saying that if a gun company acted unreasonably, if they profited off criminals and they could have easily prevented it, or if they could have put a safety device on a gun that — which would have prevented a kid from getting killed. These are the sort of principles that governs every other industry in america , including bb gun manufacturers. and that’s what these cases were about.

MADDOW: Wait, wait, wait. These kinds of — that kind of protection you are talking about wouldn’t apply to a bb gun manufacturer, but it does to a gun-gun manufacturer?

LOWY: You can sue a bb gun manufacturer for not putting in a certain safety device. And that case will be heard by court. In fact, also the consumer product safety commission can require bb gun manufacturers to put safety devices into guns as it can do for any other product. Guns get the double whammy. One, they get this special exemption from civil justice law, from products liability law. They also get exempt from consumer product safety commission. So the federal government can’t force them to put in safety devices. As a result, there are safety devices which are literally over 100 years old. They cost less than $1. They would save the lives of children. There’s no question about it. And, yet, they are not the industry standard in — for guns in America.

Here’s the video of the full interview via MSNBC:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

No other industry in America has the kind of blanket protection from lawsuits that the gun industry has managed to get. Dealers can literally sell guns to criminals and not be sued for the death those guns cause. It’s absolutely jaw dropping that Republicans would gladly give dealers and manufacturers this kind of carte blanche under the guise of protecting second amendment rights. But they did, and the industry does have that protection. And now the gun industry profits every day off the killing of innocent Americans and there’s no recourse to punish them for being negligent and irresponsible. That has to change. Instead of focusing on the gun industry mouthpiece known as the NRA, it’s time to put the spotlight and the pressure on the gun industry itself. And we can start by revoking their shield from liability. Maybe then we’ll get the sensible gun laws this country desperately needs.