Outrageous: The Gun Manufacturing Industry Is Above The Law
As I’ve discussed here many times, the DC Republicans believe that rich people don’t have enough money and that the poor and middle class have it too easy. The DC Republicans will never admit this but their legislative priorities reflect this belief. It has manifested itself in tax cuts for the rich and the deregulation of big business. Moreover, the DC Republicans have long proposed to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The radical right has always opposed these programs.
Another aspect of the GOP’s regressive agenda that has largely flown below the radar screen for decades is their support for so-called tort “reform.” Tort “reform” or revision are laws that make it harder for the middle class and working people to sue large corporations for damages caused by their negligence and defective products. Simply stated, these measures are aimed at saving the special interests money and closing the courthouse door for everybody else.
These laws usually consist of caps on damages and limitations on our right to take big corporations to court. There is no evidence whatsoever that tort revision has saved individual Americans one dime on the price of products and insurance premiums. Moreover, tort revision tramples on our access to the courts and violates the 7th Amendment’s jury trial guarantee.
Perhaps the most egregious example of tort revision is the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. This law provides near blanket legal immunity to the gun manufacturing industry and makes it virtually impossible to sue them for money damages. The gun industry is the only business in America that enjoys these broad legal protections. This law was passed at the behest of the corrupt and greedy NRA.
The practical consequences of this law have been catastrophic for the victims of the massacres that we experience on a regular basis in this country. Sandy Phillips — whose son was murdered at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 — filed a lawsuit against an online retailer that sold the evildoer 4,000 rounds of armor-piercing ammunition over the internet without a background check. As a consequence of this 2005 law, her lawsuit was dismissed and she was forced to pay the online retailer $200,000.00 for its court costs and legal expenses.
A recent report on NBC News discussed this terrible law: “Critics say the gun industry made itself liable for some mass shootings when, amid a decline in hunting-related revenue, it chose to invest heavily in marketing to young men weapons intended to inflict mass casualties on the battlefields of Vietnam.
“I have to wonder if they would have been able to engage in those marketing practices if they didn’t know they were protected” by the immunity law, Mark Barden, who lost his first-grade son, Daniel, in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, told NBC.”
The 2005 law that cheats victims of gun massacres was the product of our corrupt campaign finance system. The NRA purchased those outrageous legal protections with large dollops of campaign cash and by hiring the best connected lobbyists in D.C. This is yet more proof that our political system is broken and largely works for the top 1% and big business.
The only current Nebraska member of Congress who was serving in Congress in 2005 was Jeff Fortenberry. This shouldn’t come as surprise to anybody but Fortenberry voted for this grotesque special interest legislation. The CD01 Congressman is a long time supporter of the gun lobby — he voted against appropriating research money to study the causes of gun violence and voted to make it easier for the mentally ill to obtain guns.
Jeff Fortenberry works for the NRA for cheap — he has collected a total of approximately of $21,000.00 from the gun industry since his first run for Congress in 2004. In contrast, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) collected over $3.1 million from the NRA since she was first elected to the Senate in 2014.
The good news is that the NRA is on the ropes. This corrupt organization is experiencing several financial problems and is currently in disarray. Moreover, the FBI opened up an investigation of the NRA in 2017 as to whether a Russian oligarch who is a Putin ally illegally funneled money to the NRA to help Trump get elected in 2016.
The NRA’s reputation is in tatters as a result of all these massacres. The NRA’s support for politicians has been toxic since the 2018 Parkland slaughter. The NRA responded to its decline in public support by going so far as to delete from its website the once coveted ratings it gave to members of Congress and Congressional candidates. It has now become a liability to receive an “A” grade from the gun lobby. Fortunately, intrepid bloggers took screen shots of the deleted grades. A gun lobby spokesman candidly admitted that the past grades were deleted because: “I think our enemies were using that.”
At the polls in 2018, 60% of the voters supported stricter gun laws. This included 76% of those who don’t own a gun and even 42% of gun owners. Of the voters who identified guns as their top issue, 70% of them voted for the Democratic candidate in the House elections.That means we have to win big again in 2020. Let’s dedicate ourselves to electing more Democrats in 2020. Trump will be unpopular and he will drag down the entire GOP ticket. This is our time. The gun lobby is on the ropes. Let’s finish them off in 2020!