Report released at Wednesday forum with Rep. Adam Schiff
Washington, DC—Highlighting the very real impact that federal legislation providing immunity for gun manufacturers has had on gun violence victims and their families, a new report details how a 2005 law has become a means for the gun industry to hide irresponsible business practices.
The report, “Justice Denied: The Case Against Gun Industry Immunity,” exposes the unprecedented legal immunity provided to the gun industry by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, details the practical effect of the law on actual court cases, and provides potential solutions to the problems the law has created.
“The gun industry, under the PLCAA, has singular protection from legal accountability, something unparalleled in any other industry, adding further harm and suffering to gun violence victims who deserve to see justice,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (the sister organization of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence), the organization behind the report. “Even in other industries – vaccine manufacturers and general aviation manufacturers, for instance, who have some immunity from civil lawsuits – the protections are limited in ways that we don’t see with the gun industry.
Although proponents of the law claim the PLCAA was intended to apply to an “extremely narrow category of lawsuits,” the new report shows that in practice, the law is shielding gun manufacturers from legitimate complaints involving real negligence.
The report shares the story of the Ileto family. Because of the PLCAA, the Ileto family’s case against gun manufacturer Glock was dismissed after six years of litigation as it was headed to trial.
“After my brother, Joseph, was killed by a neo-Nazi who shot him nine times, Congress added insult to this tragedy by making sure that the courthouse door was slammed in our family’s face,” said Ismael Ileto, whose brother, Joseph Ileto, was shot and killed in 1999. “We were denied the basic right to pursue justice because Congress decided to protect profits over people.”
“Justice Denied” also proposes solutions to the problems created by the PLCAA, including the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act. The legislation was recently introduced in the House of Representatives by California Congressman Adam Schiff.
“The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act creates a dangerous situation which must be rectified through federal legislation,” said Horwitz. “The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence is grateful to Representative Schiff for his leadership and understanding of the need to give gun violence victims their much-needed day in court.”
“Under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, the gun industry has little or no incentive to prevent its products from falling into the hands of criminals, firearms traffickers or other dangerous individuals,” said Horwitz. “As the sister of a D.C. sniper victim once noted, ‘We have more control over the toy industry or the car industry than we do over the gun industry.’ That’s just plain wrong.”
The Ed Fund released the report at an afternoon forum featuring panelists including Rep. Adam Schiff (D. – Calif.); Jon Lowy, director of the Legal Action Project of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence; and Ismael Ileto, whose family has been barred from holding the gun industry accountable for killing his brother, thanks to the PLCAA.
The full report, and additional information on gun industry immunity, is available at www.efsgv2018.wpengine.com/reports.
The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (Ed Fund) is the 501(c)(3) sister organization of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. The organization has engaged in a number of successful public education campaigns over the years aimed at reducing gun death and injury. The Ed Fund can be found on Twitter.