Clinton’s “promising legal theory” on gun control can just as easily be applied to shutting down abortion providers
In last night’s debate Hillary Clinton continued her argument that providing “immunity to gun makers and sellers was a terrible mistake” and continued to attempt to use her disagreement with Sanders on the issue to paint him as soft on gun violence. Clinton makes the claim that the legislation that provides this “immunity”, the 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, “disrupted what was a very promising legal theory to try to get makers to do more to try and make guns safer”. Unfortunately, this line of argument not only holds up to scrutiny, but what she is advocating for could just as easily be applied to abortion providers or manufacturers of drugs and equipment used in abortion procedures.
What is this immunity that Clinton claims gun manufacturers and sellers enjoy? To explain this you need to go back to the “promising legal theory” that Clinton was espousing during the debate last night. Essentially, throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s gun opponents realized that they could hurt and potentially cripple the gun industry by continuously filing lawsuits against both manufacturers and sellers of firearms in an attempt to hold them responsible for what their customers did with their products after purchase. For example, in early 2000 New York City joined at least 30 other cities and counties in such a lawsuit.
Aside from the standard defense that holding Remington responsible for non-defective products used in a criminal or negligent way leading to death or injury is similar to attempting to hold Ford or Sam Adams responsible for a drunk driver getting in an accident and killing someone, there is another deeper reason to reject Clinton’s argument. The same “promising legal theory” could be used to shut down any business or service that a large enough number of people find undesirable. For example, without the type of legislation used to defend gun manufacturers from politically motivated law suits it would be possible for Christian groups to continuously sue abortion providers and manufacturers of drugs and equipment used in abortion procedures.