McClaughry: Biden and Sanders on suing firearms manufacturers

By John McClaughry

Back in 2005 Congress enacted and President Bush signed the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act.” The act was prompted by an effort by a anti-Second Amendment groups to hold firearms manufacturers. distributors and retailers legally liable for crimes committed by persons using a firearm.

Note that firearm manufacturers like all other businesses have always been legally liable for manufacturing defects in their product. The point of these lawsuits was, frankly, to strangle the firearms industry with thousands of lawsuits charging them with complicity in gun crimes.

It’s like suing Ford Motor Company for providing the car that Bonnie and Clyde used to get out of town after robbing the bank — or, to bring it home to Vermont, to sue a ski manufacturer when a skier veers off the slope and crashes into a tree. Or as Bernie Sanders put it when supporting the protection law in 2005, “If somebody has a gun and it falls into the hands of a murderer … do you hold the gun manufacturer responsible? Not any more than you would hold a hammer company responsible if somebody beats somebody over the head with a hammer.”

When he started running for president again in 2019, Bernie lost his grasp of that principle, and reversed his previous support of the act.

On Feb. 14 President Biden urged Congress to repeal the 2005 act, and Bernie now seems ready to lead the gun control pack.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

2 thoughts on “McClaughry: Biden and Sanders on suing firearms manufacturers

  1. They will try anything to disarm us. ANYTHING ! They will pass any unconstitutional law they can to strip us of our rights. Our duty is not to obey any law(s) that are blatantly unconstitutional. This is already settled law. 16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256 as decided by the Supreme Court in Norton vs Shelby County 1886. We must make the federal government enforce their unconstitutional laws by use of force. We must not be obedient, we must resist.

    Unconstitutional Official Acts
    16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256:
    The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be In agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows:
    The General rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of it’s enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted. Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it..… A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the lend, it is superseded thereby. No one Is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it. The Supreme Court’s decision is as follows; “An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it has never been passed”. Norton vs Shelby County 1886 – 118 US 425 p.442.

    “Defiance is the American’s answer to overbearing authority”. – Ayn Rand

  2. Amazing how gun manufacturers apparently can be held accountable for what harm is being done with their products, while vaccine manufacturers can kill and injure thousands without any recourse for the injured parties. What a joke.

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