As an Irish Catholic, I’ve said my fair share of “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” prayers. I’ll confess, though, I never prayed the rosary that the Almighty would grant me a wish to sue an industry out of existence.
President Joe Biden, himself an Irish Catholic, though, is a different story. While others pray for strength, guidance or wisdom, the Theologian-in-Chief daydreams of repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
President Biden told an audience he has visions of his prayers being answered to be able to bankrupt an entire Constitutionally protected industry, during the White House Rose Garden announcement on gun control.
Prefacing prayer with a big, fat lie is a strange way to attempt to claim the moral high ground.
“The only industry in America — a billion-dollar industry — that can’t be sued — has exempt from being sued — are gun manufacturers,” President Biden falsely claimed.
“But this is the only outfit that is exempt from being sued. If I get one thing on my list — the Lord came down and said, “Joe, you get one of these” — give me that one,” he continued. “Because I tell you what, there would be a ‘come to the Lord’ moment these folks would have real quickly.”
Interestingly, being granted that one wish is apparently more important to him than reducing the criminal and accidental misuse of firearms. That tells you a lot about his priorities.
President Biden knows his gun control agenda is not moving on Capitol Hill. The return of legally-baseless litigation to achieve his gun control agenda is why repealing the PLCAA is the one thing he most wants.
The firearm industry doesn’t have unique protections. Firearm manufacturers can be sued. It’s happened. This lie by the president was so far out there that even CNN – normally a liberal media apologist – said it deserved penance.
“Facts First: This is false,” CNN reported. “Gun manufacturers are not entirely exempt from being sued, nor are they only industry with some liability protections.”
The bipartisan law – PLCAA – was passed in response to a flood of lawsuits that were seeking to hold firearm companies liable for the criminal misuse of firearms by remote third parties. These lawsuits that began in the late 1990s were pursued by an unholy alliance of big city Democrat mayors, trial lawyers and the Brady Center.
The lawsuits’ real goal, however, was putting manufacturers and retailers out of business based on events for which they had no control or use litigation cost and the threat of bankrupting judgments to coerce the industry into court ordered settlements to impose gun control measures repeatedly rejected by Congress and the American public. Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Reich famously coined this strategy “regulation through litigation.”
The PLCAA keeps activist lawyers from placing the blame on manufacturers and retailers for the criminal misuse of legal, non-defective firearms that are lawfully sold. According to ATF, firearms recovered by law enforcement in connection with crimes were on average originally lawfully sold a decade earlier.
President Biden knows all of this, but it doesn’t propel his antigun agenda. Instead of being truthful, he insists on repeating false statements and half-truths. He also knows that the firearm industry isn’t unique when it comes to certain protections. The pharmaceutical companies making the COVID-19 vaccines are shielded from lawsuits.
Vaccine makers are producing drugs protected by the 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, which gives the Health and Human Services Secretary authority to provide legal protection to companies making or distributing the vaccines. That protection, like the PLCAA, doesn’t include “willful misconduct.”
Medical device manufacturers, the airline industries and even online service and content providers are protected from frivolous lawsuits when defamatory information posted is by others.
This isn’t anything new for President Biden. He told voters in South Carolina in July 2019 that gun manufacturers are “the enemy.” He peddled the same lies during the presidential campaign. It wasn’t new then, either. Hillary Clinton told the same lies in 2015 during her ill-fated presidential campaign. She was slapped with a “false” Truth-o-Meter label from Politifact then.
President Biden’s trouble with the truth might be more reflective of his realization that the political landscape that’s shifted. Bill Schneider wrote in The Hill that the political calculus is changing and the issue of gun ownership is still divisive. He noted, though, that protecting gun rights drives voters.
It’s more than that, though. Jennifer Carlson wrote in The Washington Post that the Number 1 myth about gun owners is they’re all conservative. That’s not true. She noted that one-in-five gun owners identify as liberal and cited NSSF’s data indicating 8.4 million people purchased a gun for the first time last year. Not every one of them is a Caucasian male. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American purchases rose sharply.
These gun owners and the rest of the American public deserve to be treated with the dignity that they can handle the truth. President Biden feeding them lies about the law that keeps activist lawyers from suing gun makers is nothing more than not allowing lawsuits against Ford for the deaths caused by drunk driving.
If there are honest debates to be had, they must start with honest statements.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.