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The National Rifle Association and the Gun Industry are Working Hand in Hand to Limit Consumer Rights

Although the National Rifle Association (NRA) insists it represents only firearm consumers, the organization has joined with the gun industry to lobby for legislation to severely restrict the rights of consumers killed or injured by defective firearms and ammunition. The NRA and the gun industry are major backers of Congressional efforts to restrict consumer rights in product liability suits.

The NRA has a long history of working to restrict the rights of gun consumers and victims of firearms violence in civil lawsuits. In 1983, the NRA's American Rifleman magazine ran a cover story: "Product Liability Law: How It is Being Used Against You." The story described an NRA-sponsored seminar discussing the "current trends in product liability law and their impact on gun owners." Attending the two day conference was Senator Bob Kasten (R-WI)�the then-leader of the tort "reform" effort in Congress.

More recently, in July 1995, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre described the NRA's efforts to restrict consumer lawsuits in Guns and Ammo magazine, "We are part of the coalition that is pursuing [tort "reform"] legislation.... The industry is certainly carrying the brunt of the issue, but we're lending support."

The November/December 1996 issue of the American Rifleman published a resolution passed by the NRA's Board of Directors urging the removal of President Clinton from office. Topping the list of grievances against the President were his efforts to pass legislation banning the sale and possession of assault weapons and to enact the Brady Law (which requires a five-day waiting period to allow performance of a background check for the purchase of a handgun). Third on the list of offenses was, "Mr. Clinton [v]etoed Federal tort reform legislation which would have ended outrageous lawsuits designed specifically to bankrupt manufacturers, distributors, and dealers, thus depriving peaceable Americans of legitimate commerce in firearms."

Meanwhile, the American Shooting Sports Council (ASSC), a firearms industry trade association, was lobbying members of Congress urging support for tort "reform" during its annual Industry Summit. Industry representatives also met with the President of the American Tort Reform Association, of which ASSC is a member. They also met with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), one of the powerhouses behind the tort "reform" effort. According to a gun industry newsletter, the NAM representative counseled ASSC members on "key points on meeting with elected officials."

The October 1996 issue of Shooting Industry contained ratings of congressional candidates compiled by the American Shooting Sports Council. The ratings were based on key votes taken in the 104th Congress. One of the six votes�included with repeal of the federal assault weapons ban and other traditional "gun control" issues�was "Support of the federal product liability reform legislation...."

The National Rifle Association and the gun industry are both lobbying hard to restrict consumer rights in product liability lawsuits.

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