The 2005 law has provided unprecedented and unwarranted protections for the firearms industry from litigation
Washington, D.C., April 22, 2021 - Today, Brady urges the U.S. Congress to swiftly pass The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act which would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). Since its enactment in 2005, PLCAA has provided gun manufacturers and the gun industry a liability shield that has protected them from many forms of litigation that would secure justice and compensation for the survivors of gun violence and their communities. This bill has had a chilling effect on the natural process of accountability to the American people and the law. The firearms industry should not enjoy special protections that no other sector receives. It is far past time to repeal PLCAA. Brady thanks Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative Adam Schiff for introducing this legislation.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“PLCAA is a special protection for the firearm industry that has harmed our nation. This law has stopped survivors and their communities from receiving accountability and justice for the effects of gun violence - an epidemic that the gun industry has facilitated and fueled. That Congress passed a law to protect them from accountability for their role in this crisis that kills over 100 people a day is unconscionable. President Biden was right to name repealing PLCAA as among the most important gun violence prevention actions that Congress can take, and so it is right that two of the most full-throated gun violence prevention champions in Congress have introduced this bill. Brady thanks Senator Blumenthal and Representative Schiff for championing this important legislation and urges Congress to pass it without delay.”
Brady Chief Counsel and Vice President for Legal Jonathan Lowy shared:
"No industry or people should be above the law, but PLCAA has been interpreted by some courts to do just that — making gun companies beyond the reach of civil justice principles that apply to all other Americans. PLCAA also has made some victims of gun industry negligence into second class citizens, without the same civil rights to seek justice as other Americans. That’s wrong, it’s unAmerican, and it’s deadly.”
Brady Senior Counsel and Director of Racial Justice Kelly Sampson shared:
“Gun violence disproportionately affects Black and Brown Americans, with gun violence shortening the life expectancy of Black Americans by over a year and as the leading cause of death for Black children and teens. That PLCAA has stopped these communities, our communities, from seeking accountability from the companies who fuel this violence is undemocratic and unprecedented. No industry should be above the law. Congress must repeal PLCAA.”
About the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act:
PLCAA, or the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, is a federal law that provides the gun industry with special protections from civil lawsuits, at the expense of victims of gun violence who would otherwise be entitled to compensation for the damages they have suffered. PLCAA removes key incentives for the gun industry to adopt life-saving business practices and instead provides cover to irresponsible gun dealers who supply the criminal gun market. This small minority of gun dealers profits from dangerous business practices with no accountability to their victims. No other American industry enjoys such sweeping civil immunity.
Since PLCAA was enacted, Brady has fought to hold gun manufacturers and dealers accountable when their statutory violations contribute to gun trafficking and gun crime. Brady and the law firm Perkin Coie currently represent the City of Gary in the nation’s last remaining city lawsuit against the gun industry. This case has the potential to reform the industry’s high risk business practices and prevent the flow of illegal guns into the communities most impacted by gun violence.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.