Bill targets America’s tax-paying, job-generating firearms industry
Democrats on Capitol Hill introduced a feel-good, go-nowhere proposal on Jan. 27 calling for the repeal the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) , which shields America’s tax-paying, job-generating firearms manufacturing industry from silly lawsuits.
The measure — the Equal Justice for Gun Violence Victims Act — introduced in the Senate by Connecticut Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and in the House by California Rep. Adam Schiff, would strip away the decade-old safeguard that prohibits both lawful firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for negligence when crimes have been committed with their products.
Democrats in league with gun control advocates have repeatedly attempted to roll back the PLCAA in headline-generating grasps at relevancy since it was adopted by a 2-to-1 margin more than a decade ago. On hand at the Washington D.C. conference were the familiar blame-the-legal-gunowner-first crowd — the Center for American Progress, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Gun control advocates believe momentum may be on their side following a 2015 Wisconsin ruling in which a gun dealer negligently sold a pistol to a straw buyer that was later used to shoot two police officers resulted in a $6 million judgment. That decision, they believe, shows the PLCAA is not an unbeatable defense against lawsuits.
But they’re wrong, Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), told Guns.com on Jan. 27.
“The PLCAA only bars frivolous lawsuits that seek to blame gun manufacturers and dealers for the criminal misuse of lawfully sold, non-defective products,” he said, noting the law evolved as a protection for a domestic industry after a flood of court filings threatened its existence.
“The PLCAA exists because the Brady Center, greedy trial lawyers and big city mayors got together in the late 1990’s to circumvent Congress and impose gun control regulation through litigation through settlements or bankrupt the industry with massive judgment,” Keane told Guns.com. “They are lying about the PLCAA to advance the anti-Second Amendment agenda. They want to repeal the PLCAA so they can launch a new wave of frivolous lawsuits with the same objective.”
As reported by the Huffington Post, Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) agreed to co-sponsor the bill on Jan. 28 following months of attacks from rival Hillary Clinton concerning his gun safety record.
Sanders voted for the PLCAA in 2005 while then-Sen. Clinton voted against it. Sanders had also never voted for subsequent attempts to repeal the PLCAA until, apparently, now.
Regardless, with the GOP firmly in control of both Houses, there is little to no momentum to approve the Equal Justice for Gun Violence Victims Act.
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RETURN OF THE 10th AMENDMENT
State nullification laws: Hot air or big chills on federal gun laws?
Since President Barack Obama issued his gun control executive actions on Jan. 5, legislators in Indiana, South Carolina and Kentucky have introduced proposed bills that declare any federal attempt to enforce measures they believe violate the 2nd Amendment as “null and void” in their states.
According to New American magazine, as of Jan. 24, there were “at least 15 states are in the process of passing bills that would stop the enforcement of federal gun control measures — congressional, executive, and judicial — at the state borders, protecting this fundamental freedom from the application of unconstitutional acts.”
Are such measures symbolic hot air or could they truly overcome federal imposed laws and regulations? Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge and Constitutional scholar Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, citing James Madison in Federalist Paper 46, says a single state can impede federal actions, but many states acting together can create obstructions the feds simply cannot overcome.
The key in doing so could be a 2014 law signed by Idaho Gov. Butch Otter that effectively blocks in practice any new federal gun control measures by prohibiting state enforcement of any future federal act relating to personal firearms, a firearm accessories or ammunition.
According to the New American and the 10th Amendment Center, this Idaho law blocks future federal gun control because the federal government lacks the resources to enforce its laws alone. It depends on state assistance, assistance it will no longer get from Idaho.
The Idaho Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act, seeks to “protect Idaho law enforcement officers from being directed, through federal executive orders, agency orders, statutes, laws, rules, or regulations enacted or promulgated on or after the effective date of this act, to violate their oath of office and Idaho citizens’ rights under Section 11, Article I, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho.”
The legislation continues: “Any official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision thereof who knowingly and willfully orders an official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision of the state to enforce any executive order, agency order, law, rule or regulation of the United States government as provided in subsection (2) of this section upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition shall, on a first violation, be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) which shall be paid into the general fund of the state”
According to the New American, Kansas and Tennessee passed legislation in 2015 that sets the foundation to do just what Idaho did in 2014.
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Bloomberg, out-of-staters bankroll Nevada background check initiative
Just in case Nevadans thought the 8-page Background Check Initiative that will be on their November 2016 Nevada state ballot was a Nevada-oriented proposal presented by Nevada-oriented people, here’s the bottom line: You’re being bought and paid for by a $3.6 million campaign that has nothing to do with Nevada or Nevadans.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has anted up $2.9 million to bankroll the endeavor through his front-group, Everytown for Gun Safety, while Napster co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker of California has pitched in $250,000 and Washington venture capitalist Nick Hanauer has contributed $150,000.
But they’ll tell you it’s all a “local movement.”
The same cast of characters financed a similar state-level push that expanded background checks in Washington in 2014, Colorado in 2013 and in California.
Yet, as AWR Hawkins notes Jan. 27 in Breitbart.com, two of our nation’s most prominent 2015 high profile shootings happened in Colorado and California’s expanded background checks did nothing to stop the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
So what’s the point?
Exactly. That is the point, especially if you follow the money.
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NOW THAT THE FANFARE IS OVER …
Obama’s executive actions ‘will have limited impact’ in keeping guns from lunatics
In response to President Barack Obama’s Jan. 5 gun control executive actions, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has modifies the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule that previously prevented states from making information available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
That means, as of Feb. 5, “certain HIPAA covered entities are now expressly permitted to disclose to the NICS the identities of individuals who are subject to the ‘mental health prohibitor’ that disqualifies them from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving a firearm.”
As ominous as this may sound, according to attorneys Jana Kolarik Anderson and Elizabeth J. Rosen, in a Jan. 25 Health Care Law Today article, the new rule “(1) does not apply to most health care providers, (2) allows only limited demographic and certain other information needed for the purposes of reporting to the NICS and (3) specifically prohibits the disclosure of diagnostic or clinical information from medical records or other sources.”
Anderson and Rosen write that the “mental health prohibitor” category precludes individuals from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving firearms who: (1) are or have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution for reasons such as mental illness or drug use; (2) are found to be incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity; or (3) are otherwise determined by a court or other lawful authority to pose a danger to themselves or others or unable to manage their own affairs, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence or mental illness, incompetency, condition or disease.
Attorneys Patricia M. Wagner and Lindsay Borgeson agree, concluding in a Jan. 20 ‘Client Alert’ published by the Epstein Becker & Green law firm that, “Despite the significant press coverage, the HIPAA NICS Rule will have limited impact for relatively few covered entities.”
Wagner and Burgeon say Obama’s executive actions to keep firearms from the hands of lunatics is nothing more than “a narrow adjustment, intended to assure covered entities subject to state reporting laws that their disclosures to NICS are not in violation of HIPAA.”
They note the OCR (Office of Civil Rights) has pointed to the narrow applicability of the HIPAA NICS Rule and “reiterated that voluntarily seeking treatment does not subject an individual to a ‘mental health prohibitor.’
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