Thursday, December 15, 2016

NPR vs NRA re: PLCAA ... RKBA S.O.L.?

When Onus Falls On Gun Sellers, National Concealed Carry Is 'Frightening' : NPR:

I'm not a 'great fan' of National Public Radio.

Well, that's fair; NPR is not a great fan of me.

I'm a white male Conservative native-born American, and I own a gun.
Well ... several guns, actually.  
And that's why they don't like me: I don't fit their demographic.

NPR has declared war against me, and against all legal firearms owners; and against the Second Amendment in general.

This is why I'm sure they don't like me:

There's a new coalition working against gun violence - a group of high-powered corporate law firms. After the Orlando nightclub shooting, a number of prominent attorneys banded together to collaborate - at no cost - with gun control advocates. Their goal is to attack gun issues through the courts and through state regulation. 
Michael Schissel heads up gun safety litigation at Arnold & Porter. The firm's a member of the coalition. And he says that by banding together, corporate attorneys are better able to serve gun control groups.

 MICHAEL SCHISSEL: What they really need is our collective talent and our collective manpower. Everybody knows how well-financed and aggressive the gun lobby is. And I think it's going to require the brute force of the major law firms in this country, and I can give you two examples. For example, there is a law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act called PLCAA - some people call it PLCAA - which effectively immunizes sellers of firearms from liability except in a few cases. There's no other law - no other law at all - that shields consumer products from safety regulation. And here we're talking about a product that can kill. 

Wow.   I am in awe of Michael Schissel's grasp of the law.

Except that the context of his statement is just a little ... misleading.

I've talked about PLCAA before (go to my website and enter PLCAA in the search box) and my understanding of PLCAA  is greatly different from M. Schissell LLD.

My understanding is that firearms manufacturers, wholesalers and retail dealers are quite as subject to product liability suits as any other industry.

But the firearms industry has one unique vulnerability:  "Nuisance Suits" brought against the industry are often imposed with no expectation of winning (in the exemplar case of a merchant shooting a robber, and the manufacturer/wholesaler/retailer is named in the suit).

Let's look at the difference between product liability and Personal Liability, in the general sense:

Liability; Automobile Version:
If an automobile left idling in "PARK" moves and causes injury or damage, then the manufacturer is likely found liable. There's something obviously wrong with the car; either a design or a manufacturing flaw.

If the owner of the car leaves his automobile idling in "DRIVE", the car moves and causes injury or damage, then the owner is liable ... not the manufacturer (or designer nor retailer).

However, if the owner parks his car and leaves the motor running but the transmission is locked in "PARK".  The manufacturer is to blame

In the case of a rifle which fires when nobody pulls the trigger?
That's a malfunction.   The rifle shouldn't fire.   The cause might be because there's a design flaw (rifles of the same design often malfunction in the same manner), or there's a manufacturing flaw (only the specific rifle has that problem.).

Both are situations where the owner might sue for redress against the manufacturer.   If an injury is caused, the damages might be extensive and an entire product line, or only a specific manufacturing run, might be recalled.

On the other hand, there may be no malfunction involved.

The owner of the firearm might point the rifle at another person (either negligently, or purposefully) and pull the trigger; the gun goes BOOM!, someone is injured ... but the rifle performed according to specifications.  That's either a Personal Injury issue or a Criminal issue.  It's not the fault of the gun.

If the rifle performs according to specifications, neither the designer, nor the manufacturer, nor the wholesaler or retailer, are responsible for the negligent or criminal actions of the person with his finger on the trigger.

The PLCAA is the law which protects the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer against "NUISANCE SUITS" brought by someone who is either personally injured by a firearm, or representing that person or 'other interested persons' (family, etc.)

Those nuisance suits undermine the validity of RESPONSIBLE manufacturing and firearms-handling.  The PLCAA protects firearms manufacturers/sellers who are not responsible for unsafe gun-handling on the part of individuals.

It serves no other purpose.

From the referenced dialogue:

 CHANG: If I could just address PLCAA - this is the federal law which protects gun manufacturers and dealers from liability when people use their guns in crimes. Make the argument for me. Why should manufacturers be held accountable for the actions of the individuals who buy their products?
SCHISSEL: Well, it's not just manufacturers, and that's really the important thing. In fact, my firm has been involved more on the retail level. 
 CHANG: OK, fine, retailers. 
 SCHISSEL: Yeah, it immunizes sellers. So, for example, there are state laws that literally immunize a gun seller of any liability even if that gun seller knows he's selling a gun to a criminal. 
(emphasis added)


Schissel, knowing the laws that require a DEALER to check a BUYER on the National Instant Check System (NICS) to determine whether that BUYER is legally allowed to purchase a gun from a DEALER, should know that  the seller is not "immunized .. of any liability".  But he deliberately ignores those laws to suggest that a Dealer can knowingly sell a gun to a Criminal.

Once a Dealer has checked a Buyer via NICS, the dealer can confidently assume that the Buyer is legally permitted to purchase a firearm.

Schissel's entire argument is undermined by his peurile counter-argument that a dealer can knowingly sell a firearm to a known criminal ... without penalty and without being audited by the ATF.

There is no no 'wiggle room' here.

The man is a liar, who deliberately convolutes the strict interpretation of the law to suit his own political agenda


Anonymous said...

Two Comments: 1. These are trial lawyers, the lowest of pond scum. They exist to make money, lots of money. Gun manufacturers and gun dealers have insurance and property (think deep pockets). Sue them and there is real money to be had. 2. I love NPR. They play the greatest classical music and lots of opera.

Jerry The Geek said...

"Religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." - star wars

"Take THAT Baimbridge Scholars!" - The mummy

Archer said...

I propose the Protection in Lawful Commerce Act (same as the PLCAA, just without the "in Arms" part), which will provide the same protections we provide the firearms industry to ALL other manufacturing and retail industries.

That should shut down all the criticism that the firearms industry gets "special protections". ;)

Eric said...

Hey Jerry - Eric writing from over at Always thought it was funny how Arnold and Porter found guns so awful but are the primary defenders of Phillip Morris in their cases.

I just wanted to say 'hi' and since I know you shoot a bit competitively thought I'd reach out and see if you'd ever have any interest in receiving some complimentary rounds for review here. If you're interested or just want to tell me "no" - my email is Thanks for your time, have a great Christmas.