Last week, the White House publicly released a “Readout” describing a July 22 meeting between President Joe Biden’s “senior advisers” and several state legislators in New York, Delaware, California and Illinois; all so-called “blue states” whose political leaders are strongly committed to restricting the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
The press release was the latest example of this administration’s tendency to deliberately distort federal laws regarding the liability of firearms retailers and manufacturers for the subsequent criminal use of the products they sell or manufacture. In other words, a lie designed to advance his gun control agenda.
The federal law at issue is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act or PLCAA, a law passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in 2005.
The PLCAA was deemed necessary by a majority of both houses of Congress and the President of the United States, following a series of civil lawsuits against lawful manufacturers and retailers of firearms for the subsequent use of these produced by individuals for criminal purposes.
The law was not and never was intended to offer absolute protection to manufacturers or retailers of firearms. On the contrary, the PLCAA was designed simply to provide a legal framework under which neither manufacturers nor retailers of legal firearms would be treated differently from other legal businesses, such as car manufacturers and dealers who have never been held responsible for the subsequent use of their products. (cars) by negligent or illegal drivers.
In reality, PLCAA plain language provides that as long as firearms companies abide by the many laws governing their operations, and as long as neither the manufacturer nor the retailer knew or had reason to believe that its product would be used by criminals or in an illegal manner , neither company could be prosecuted if an individual subsequently used the weapon in this manner.
If, however, there was or is evidence to the contrary — that is, the manufacturer or retailer knew or had reason to believe that the subsequent owner or user of the firearm would use it illegally — they can actually be sued for damages just like any other business.
Despite this clear language and publicly available reports on the PLCAA at the time of its passage, the Biden administration continues to deliberately distort the law.
For example, in last week’s press release, which noted that “President Biden has repeatedly urged Congress to repeal the Lawful Arms Trade Protection Act”, the White House asserted that the law offered “more liability protection” than other products, and that it completely “denies” victims of “gun violence” any civil recourse in court – statements that are categorically untrue.
In fact, as before the enactment of the PLCAA, a victim of gun violence has full opportunity to sue the person who used the firearm illegally, as good as any other person or company that transferred or manufactured the firearm used to commit a criminal offence, if that company did not itself comply with the law or sold or transferred the firearm negligently or for good reason to believe that it would be used illegally.
To continue to assert that the PLCAA provides absolute immunity from prosecution against a manufacturer or retailer of firearms is utterly misleading. Yet this administration and its gun control cohorts in Congress, as well as its enablers in the media, continue to perpetrate such a deliberate lie to the American people for the sole purpose of advancing the longstanding goal of the left. to limit as much as possible the manufacture, retail sale and individual possession of legal firearms.
However, for an administration that claims our nation’s southern border is secure and an economy with record inflation is doing well, lying about the scope of a federal law is considered only a minor lie. .
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and served as a CIA official in the 1970s. now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia, and runs the Liberty Guard.