(Article by Paul Bedard republished from WashingtonExaminer.com)
In a little-noticed decision with a major impact on the firearms industry, a federal judge in Arizona has ruled in favor of pistol manufacturer Glock and dismissed a suit brought by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence on behalf of a man who was accidentally shot and paralyzed.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Brnovich upheld liability immunity granted in the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed in 2005 to block gun-makers from a potential wave of industry-killing lawsuits.
Brnovich, nominated by former President Donald Trump and the wife of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, dismissed multiple claims in the suit that the act’s protections were illegal, writing, “The statute is constitutional.”
While she made her decision in mid-March, it is just now winning attention as Biden and top congressional Democrats begin a campaign to impose new gun control restrictions and end liability immunity for gun-makers.
“The dismissal of this case is welcome news and demonstrates the importance of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” said Mark Oliva, the spokesman for the industry trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“These attempts to hold manufacturers responsible for the criminal and negligent misuse of firearms are misguided and are attempts at legislation through litigation. The PLCAA law was passed with a bipartisan majority in both chambers of Congress to keep activists from attempting to bankrupt firearm manufacturers by tying them up in court with unfounded claims. This demonstrates why protecting this legislation against attacks by President Biden and gun control factions in Congress is critical,” he added.
Last month, Biden falsely claimed that the firearms industry is “the only industry in America” that can’t be sued, and he called for divine intervention to end that.
During a Rose Garden event, he said, “This is the only outfit that is exempt from being sued. If I get one thing on my list, (if) the Lord came down and said, ‘Joe, you get one of these,’ give me that one.” He added, “Because I tell you what, there would be a come-to-the-Lord moment these folks would have, real quickly.”
The suit was filed against Glock, an Austrian gun-maker, on behalf of Carlos Travieso Jr., who was in a car with others returning from a church retreat in 2018. Another teenager found the 9 mm pistol in the car and apparently thought it was safe because the magazine holding the bullets was missing. However, there was a bullet in the chamber, and when she pulled the trigger, it hit Travieso, paralyzing him.
The suit charged that Glock, the No. 1 firearms manufacturer in U.S. sales, did not have adequate safety features on the gun warning that a live round was in the chamber. The pistol does have a chamber indicator, but the suit said the gun was defective because it did not include other warnings or safeties.
Glock said it was covered by the immunity act because the shooting was a criminal act.
Oliva told Secrets, “This is an example of lawyers attempting to put the blame for negligent use of a firearm on a manufacturer. The facts of the case are clear. The negligent mishandling of a firearm resulted in tragic effects. There was no defect in the product, design flaw, and as the opinion clearly notes, claims of warning notifications do not make for a claim of product defect.”
Brnovich agreed with Glock in her victory for the Second Amendment. She also noted that even the liberal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has repeatedly rejected challenges to immunity for gun-makers.
“A fair reading of the PLCAA shows that Congress intended the scope of its preemption to include claims like the plaintiff’s. The PLCAA’s plain text extends preemption to plaintiff’s tort and products liability claims. Its unambiguous terms bar any civil cause of action, regardless of the underlying theory, when a plaintiff’s injury results from ‘the criminal or unlawful misuse’ of the person or a third party, unless a specific exception applies,” she wrote.