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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Rep. Barr aims to ban lawsuits against gun makers

By Vito Maggiolo/CNN

March 9, 1999
Web posted at: 5:32 p.m. EST (2232 GMT)

WASHINGTON (March 9) -- Rep. Bob Barr (R-Georgia) said Tuesday he plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit lawsuits against the firearms industry based on criminal or unlawful use of firearms by others, as well as halt existing lawsuits already in progress.

The proposed legislation would be known as the "Firearms Heritage Protection Act of 1999."

Rep. Bob Barr is planning to introduce firearms legislation  

Barr charged that such lawsuits, which have been brought by a number of major cities against gun manufacturers to collect the costs for crimes committed with guns, are in violation of a citizen's Second Amendment right to bear arms and are an unfair burden on a legitimate industry.

At one point, Barr brandished a "Louisville Slugger" baseball bat, making the point that if it were to be used as a weapon, the company that makes the bats could be liable for civil damages, as is the case with present lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

"If these lawsuits are allowed to proceed, then it really will be 'Katie bar the door,' because there will be no industry in America that will be safe from these abusive and predatory laws," said Barr, a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Barr and several other speakers also cited the greed of trial lawyers in the influx of these suits. Among those present to support the proposed legislation was Chuck Cunningham of the NRA, which has already begun an effort to fight the gun liability lawsuits.

Even as Barr was holding his news conference announcing the proposed bill, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) announced her plans to introduce legislation to guarantee cities the right to sue gun manufacturers and distributors.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, one of three Democratic senators who will introduce the legislation, also attacked Barr's proposal.

"Congressman Bob Barr and the NRA are aiming their special-interest firepower squarely at the public interest with the outrageous bill introduced today," Lautenberg said in a statement.

"Despite the NRA's attempt to cloud the issue, these city lawsuits are not about money; the goal here is to hold the gun industry accountable for unsafe products and irresponsible marketing," he said.


N.Y. jury finds some gun makers liable in shootings (2-11-99)

Shooting victims' suit against gun industry opens in New York (1-6-99)

CNN Special: Gun industry finds itself at wrong end of the barrel


House of Representatives Web site

National Rifle Association Web site


Tuesday, March 9, 1999

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