Removing Barriers to Holding Gun Industry Actors Accountable
The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), ensuring justice for victims and survivors and removing barriers to holding irresponsible gun industry actors accountable.
PLCAA was a top legislative priority for the corporate gun industry when President George W. Bushed signed it into law in 2005. It contributes to the gun violence epidemic by enabling the gun industry to evade accountability at the expense of victims and survivors of gun violence who are denied the right to hold industry actors accountable.
Why is PLCAA a problem?
Even though PLCAA was not intended to prevent gun industry actors from avoiding accountability for misconduct, the gun industry claims that PLCAA provides it with immunity from civil liability, even where they have caused harm through negligence, defective products, or irresponsible behavior. Some courts have, incorrectly, agreed.
As a result, PLCAA has enabled firearm companies to put profits over people and has created a chilling effect on litigation against the industry, leaving victims and survivors of gun violence without adequate redress for their injuries. PLCAA has also removed key incentives for the gun industry to adopt life-saving business practices and instead has provided cover to irresponsible gun dealers who supply the criminal gun market.
What does the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act Do?
- Repeals the sections of PLCAA that some courts have relied on to give extraordinary and unnecessary protections to the gun industry providing
- Creates more paths to justice and recovery for victims and survivors of gun violence
- Incentivizes good business practices.
- Permits victims and responsible industry actors to use ATF trace data as evidence in civil proceedings in State and Federal courts. This data is a crucial indicator of whether industry actors have behaved responsibly, including whether or not they have engaged in repeated sales to straw purchasers and traffickers. This data has been banned from civil litigation for decades because of legislative riders passed at the behest of the gun industry.