Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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Michigan lawmakers – including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer – are toying with the idea of turning state courtrooms into political arenas for gun control instead of forcing criminals to stand before judges for their crimes.

State legislators are considering introducing a bill that would allow victim families to sue firearm manufacturers, distributors and retailers for the heinous crimes committed by criminals. Let’s say that again so it is clear. Michigan’s legislators want to allow lawsuits against the firearm industry for crimes they didn’t commit.

There’s no talk about dragging murderers, thugs, gang members and other criminals into courts to face a judge to answer for their crimes. Instead, Gov. Whitmer and these state legislators are looking to score cheap political points to allow public nuisance lawsuits against firearm manufacturers and those mom-and-pop gun stores that are following federal and state laws.

This is a dangerous step that only seeks to eliminate the ability of law-abiding Michiganders to legally obtain a firearm. This notion doesn’t address crime. The intent is to run local gun stores out of business and out of Michigan. When those who obey the law can’t legally obtain a firearm, they’re being denied their Constitutional Second Amendment rights.

Facts First

Firearm retailers only sell firearms after a gun buyer fills out an ATF Form 4473 that attests they are the true recipient of the firearm, not a convicted felon or fugitive from justice, not have been convicted of domestic violence and aren’t subject to an arrest warrant. After that, the firearm retailer verifies with the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that the buyer is not prohibited from possessing a firearm. If the FBI verifies, then the sale or transfer of a firearm can proceed.

4473 background check atf

This isn’t how criminals obtain firearms. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) studies show that 90 percent of felons convicted of committing a crime with a firearm admit to obtaining their firearm illegally – mostly through an illegal black market sale or by theft. These criminals aren’t passing background checks so they can prey upon the innocent in Michigan. They are committing crimes to do that.

Gov. Whitmer and Michigan legislators who are pushing for lawsuits against the firearm industry won’t bother with those facts.

It’s Been Tried and Failed

This notion of public nuisance lawsuits against the firearm industry isn’t new. This was a tried-and-failed tactic of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Municipalities sued firearm businesses for the crimes committed by remote third parties– commonly referred to as criminals – and those cases were thrown out of court. They never passed a basic understanding of tort law – that those who commit the crime and inflict harm are the ones responsible for that harm.

That wasn’t the point of the lawsuits, though, just as it is not now. The true intent of the lawsuits was revealed by disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said when he was the Housing and Urban Development Secretary in the Clinton Administration, that these lawsuits were designed to impose on the firearm industry a “death by a thousand cuts.”

Professor Victor Schwartz, a former law professor and law school dean and the current co-chairman of the Public Policy Group of the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon, wrote in The Washington Examiner, “Former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich aptly labeled this strategy ‘regulation through litigation.’


He recognized that it amounts to ‘faux legislation, which sacrifices democracy’ by using the judiciary to implement policy preferences in place of the representative branches of government. Under such a litigation strategy, any lawful yet ‘unpopular’ industry may be targeted and sued out of existence based on the conduct of criminals or other third parties who misuse products.”

Before Gov. Cuomo was forced to resign from office in disgrace, he signed a similar law for New York. New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy also signed a similar law.

NSSF is challenging both laws because they don’t stand up to the federal law that prohibits these frivolous lawsuits – the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). That’s the law that was passed with a wide bipartisan majority in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2005. That law has been repeatedly upheld as Constitutional by Courts of Appeal and even defended by President Joe Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland and the DOJ.

What’s At Stake

The claim that gun businesses are immune is a lie. That’s been fact-checked time and again. PLCAA prevents frivolous lawsuits against firearm businesses over the criminal actions committed by remote third parties. Firearm businesses can still be held accountable if they commit a crime, there is negligent entrustment or product design flaws.

PLCAA simply means those businesses that lawfully-made and lawfully-sold a firearm cannot be held responsible for the crimes committed by others. It would be the same as if someone attempted to sue Ford and Anheuser-Busch for the harm caused by drunk driving.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The reason PLCAA was signed into law was because Congress knew antigun politicians were using the courts as an end-round to circumvent the lawmaking process. The irony was elected officials then – and now – oppose PLCAA because it blocked their “attempt to circumvent the legislative branch of government” and “would expand civil liability in a manner never contemplated by the framers of the Constitution.” Those are actual words within the law.

Gov. Whitmer and antigun politicians in Michigan would rather use the courts to push their radical gun control agenda instead of using them to lock up criminals. They’re carrying the water for special interest groups, including trial lawyers that see this opportunity as a cash cow. That’s not justice for anyone. That’s abuse of the courts and denigration of Second Amendment rights.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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    • Well since Gun Control does not have to worry one bit about being sued over its History Confirmed Roots in Racism and Genocide and supplying obedient Gun Controlled defenseless men, women and children for murderous criminals just bend over and take it. Or man up and define Gun Control by its History of Rot.

      On the other hand…Another woman guaranteed not to give jr. and his ilk the time of day…

    • Now do cell phones and cars.

      Imagine the look on Whitkers face when she has to leave her new cellphone in the hands of strangers for 3 days.

      Or show “reasonable need” to possess a car.

        • You should watch “Star Wars (the original Episode IV).” It’s a good story and a fun film.

        • “”

          “For Pits, Packages, & Feet”

          *Boggle* !

          Who in the hell puts deodorant on their junk ? ? ?

          It would be a better idea to see your doctor, instead.

          (Just say’in. You might have something that needs an antibiotic, instead… 😉 )

  1. This isn’t Michigan. It’s the Democrat party. This state is just currently under control by the left. Same with other states like New York, California, Washington, and Ill-a-noy.

  2. Have victims tried to sue prosecutors who let the perps walk?
    Society seems super eager to blame others and attack anyone perceived as even remotely benefiting from their position, status, wealth, etc… so it seems like going after a special class like a prosecutor for giving a perp a better deal than he would otherwise get because of his class, wealth or status should be a no-brainer.

    Oh, sorry. I forgot that attitude only goes one way.

    • “Have victims tried to sue prosecutors who let the perps walk?”

      For how many *decades* did people sue cigarette companies for lung cancer deaths?

      They were routinely laughed out of court.

      Until one day…

      That’s their plan for gun companies… 🙁

        • I get what you are saying Cross but I would love to see prosecutors and legislators sued into oblivion for knowingly stomping on our Constitutional protections.

      • @Geoff/CrossTo protect the small farmer during the Depression, FDR decreed a 5 acre limit on tobacco producers. Farmers responded (with govt encouragement) to acreage limits by maximizing the use of fertilizers and pesticides, primarily arsenate of lead, nitrogen and triple super phosphate. This created a product so poisonous that it had to be warehoused for 3-5 years before being made into cigarettes.

        Lung cancer went from very rare to leading cause of cancer death in short order.

        True story, and a classic case of negative consequences resulting from govt interference.

        • Yep. Really.

          1860s: use of lead aresenate nearly unknown.

          Lung cancer considered quite rare.

          1930s: govt pamphlets stated that if you could not see a fine dusting of lead or copper arsenate on the underside of the cured leaf, you were not putting enough on.

          Cancer of the lung leading cause of cancer death.

          1950s: amazing array of now-banned chemicals.

          Tobacco never was, nor will be safe. Currently safer than in the mid-20th, tho.

  3. The gun makers should respond with filing, hefty counter suits and slander suits… they should also have the attorney general sanctioned, and have her order to pay all legal fees and expenses…

  4. This from a state that is one of, if not the largest producer of cars in the country. Items responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
    Time to start suing them, no?🤔

  5. This is completely normal reasoning.
    Next, they will sue Ford, GM… for all the accidents.
    Beware of a Demo’s logic!

    • Logical fallacies are deceptive or false arguments that may seem stronger than they actually are due to psychological persuasion, but are proven wrong with reasoning and further examination. These mistakes in reasoning typically consist of an argument and a premise that does not support the conclusion.

  6. That pic of Murphy always reminds me of the clown at the fair you shoot with the water pistols. Somebody put a balloon on his head.

    • Nope! You fuck off and die you asshole.
      There a many many black and brown families that want no part of the mayhem going on in parts of Chicago. The fact that you lumped them all into one group exposes you for the racist piece of shit that you are.

        • Seriously frank? Trolls are one thing but flat out racists? I don’t want them here and I can’t imagine anyone else would either. They have no redeeming value and perpetuate white supremacist BS which anti’s are more than happy to exploit.

        • frank,

          And I don’t promote censoring anyone – elst I would have long ago asked the site to block MajorLiar and dacian the demented. skmyverga has the right to vomit his racist drivel, just as muckraker has the right to tell him he’s an embarrassing piece of shit.

  7. remember when Michigan was a hell of a state…and Detroit a thriving city…no?…thought not…it was once a place to go for a fresh start…jobs aplenty…gone, but not forgotten….sad.

    • skmyverga,

      Nope. Not even a little bit; I wouldn’t bother even getting upset over the incoherent ravings of a racist lunatic like you. I just pity your pathetic life. You should sell your sheet and pillowcase, and use the money to buy a clue.

      • With 3 brain cells? Doubt. Couldn’t even comprehend the clue, common amongst racist race baiting pos scum.

        Mad, not hardly? Hard leftist shit bag trying to poison pill the forum is transparent.

        • William,

          “Hard leftist shit bag trying to poison pill the forum is transparent.”

          I hope that you are correct; I fear that you are wrong. WHATEVER his/her/xis motivation, it is disgusting, and I have no problem calling it out.

    • You pissed me off real bad.
      I’m so mad I got foam flying out my mouth.
      I kicked my coffee table and broke my toe.
      Now Im really pissed off.
      I hope your

    • skymyverga, Take a hike off a short cliff. I just wonder which one of our resident anti-gun radicals you are ?

  8. I keep repeating that these gun/ammo companies should boycott these states, Stop selling LEO’s Guns and Ammo to them. if the large companies get together and announce a huge push into protecting their business, by the boycott, see how it would affect the gov’t.

  9. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Gretchen Whitmer was once a gold medal Olympic champion in the decathlon.

    • Gov,

      I liked him/her better on the Wheaties box. Just looking at pictures of Whitmer (AND Bruce/Caitlin), I can’t even imagine how much plastic and botox are in that face. OTOH, you know the old saying, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes all the way to the bone”. Gretch the Wretch be ugly down to the marrow.

        • Gov,

          Yeah, but most people consider it rude to draw blood samples from random strangers to confirm their biological sex. And the idiot Leftist/fascists will argue that “gender identity” is different from sex. Not that their idiot argument is worth the time to engage, but we need to understand it. Sun Tzu told us that we need to know ourselves and out enemy. The Left is my enemy (sometimes, the Republicans are, too).

        • If the left understood the difference between biological sex and gender identity they wouldn’t be at odds with the right over people with body dysphoria and they wouldn’t be pushing men into women’s sports or surgically mutilating children. They actually want you to recite the creed, some men can have babies, etc., etc. Reminds me of a quote from Rudyard Kipling, ‘If they can make you believe absurdities they can make you commit atrocities.’ Scary to think what the end game is to all this nonsense.

  10. And we were singing
    By by miss American pie
    Drove my chevy to the levy then
    I ran over people and watched them die
    And good old boys sued GM
    Because gunms

  11. Gun companies should follow the Barrett model and quit doing business with government agencies in oppressive states. They’re trying to put you out of business. That’s like being polite to your murderer.

  12. Will states or individuals be able to sue Ford or GM because their vehicles are used in a hit and run death? Or perhaps sue Chicago Cutlery for stabbings? Maybe sue the drug manufacturer for overdoses?
    The manufacturers have no control of how a product is used or misused. Whether the product be a rope used in a hanging, or a firearm used in a murder. The product was sold legally for the intended legal purpose.
    Perhaps we should make the criminal misuse of firearms illegal. Oh yeah, murder has been illegal for a very long time. Maybe we should concentrate on finding and removing those who commit violent crimes from society and not get worked up over the implement used.


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