Senate Class Action Bill
(S. 5) Protects Gun Industry And Leaves Gun Consumers And Victims of Gun
Violence in Legal Limbo
Defeat of Bingaman-Feinstein
Amendment is Win for Gun Industry, Bill is Priority for National Rifle
Violence Policy Center (VPC), a national gun violence prevention organization,
today harshly criticized S. 5, the so-called "Class Action Fairness Act."
The VPC opposes the bill as an egregious invasion of the rights of gun
consumers and victims of firearms violence. The VPC joins a broad coalition
of consumer, civil rights, labor, and other organizations opposed to S.
The VPC specifically
criticized today's defeat of the Bingaman-Feinstein consumer amendment
that would have given consumers�including victims of gun violence and
defective firearms�a fighting chance in court.
are exempt from federal safety regulation, class action litigation is
often the only practical remedy for gun consumers seeking compensation
for defective firearms," states Kristen Rand, VPC legislative director.
The bill would force
most class action lawsuits into federal court, placing victims of firearms
violence as well as consumers who buy defective guns at a stark legal
disadvantage. Federal courts are hesitant to certify nationwide classes
of plaintiffs, and are also reluctant to apply some emerging legal theories
such as negligent marketing and public nuisance to gunmakers.
The bill is a priority
for the National Rifle Association notwithstanding the negative impact
it would have on gun owners who purchase defective guns. NRA board member
Grover Norquist was quoted recently in the Washington Post touting
the bill's provisions that would protect gun manufacturers stating that
they "will strengthen the Second Amendment community, especially the NRA."
Moreover, the February issue of the NRA's America's 1st Freedom
magazine warns that "class action lawsuits could become the weapon of
choice for the triumvirate of predatory trial lawyers, leftist gun-ban
groups and anti-gun municipalities...."
The NRA supports class
action "reform" despite the fact that gun owners are commonly plaintiffs
in class action suits against the gun industry. Examples include a class
action against Remington Arms over shotguns with barrels that were prone
to explode and a nationwide class of gun owners who sued Glock alleging
that their pistols were prone to jamming and unintentional firing.
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x109