Wehle: To Do Something About Guns, We Need the Courts to Ignore the Law So Plaintiffs Can Bankrupt Firearm Manufacturers

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PLCAA Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
President George W. Bush signs the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. (White House photo by Paul Morse)

 

One way to address negative externalities is for the government to intervene through subsidies, taxes, or legal constraints on the producer. But when it comes to guns, Republican legislators are overwhelmingly unwilling to take those steps. As happened with the tobacco industry, then, the most practical means of spreading the costs of gun violence is to turn to tort law and the courts. …

President Joe Biden has repeatedly called for Congress to repeal the PLCAA—a virtual impossibility as long as the Senate filibuster exists to kill legislation without a 60-vote supermajority. Even after Uvalde, the prospect of garnering 10 Republican votes to lift immunity for the politically powerful gun industry is nil.

Even so, in most cases in the judicial system, the success or failure of lawsuits hinges on discretion. Discretion of judges to let a case survive a motion to dismiss. Discretion of juries to look beyond just the facts and the law and consider the whole picture around a dispute. With ongoing mass shootings keeping the issue in the news, the moment is ripe for some serious measure of accountability. Litigation worked to force the tobacco industry to shoulder its share of the blame for smoking deaths. It could work for guns, too.

— Kimberley Wehle in The Best Hope for Fixing America’s Gun Crisis

(emphasis added)

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66 COMMENTS

    • Yeah, but come on. Everyone knew smoking was bad for you. Also it was a personal decision. What are they going to do next? Ban soft drinks? Nanny state in action.

      The comparison of smoking to guns isn’t a good analogy. I’m so tired of the left’s “stochastic responsibility.” A gun manufacturer shouldn’t be liable for someone killing someone else, Period. It is already against the law to murder, and punishments are severe. Very severe. Yet they want to shift blame from criminals to the gun manufacturer. Yet owning a gun doesn’t mean you are going to murder anyone. But the left apparently doesn’t think so.

    • The gun manufacturers have been pretty good at bankrupting themselves due to mismanagement: Colt, Remington in the last few years, HK has almost gotten wrecked a few times.

      The world view differences are really insurmountable. The Left sees guns as inherently evil, corrupting killing devices made by wicked companies who clearly desire children to be murdered as a means to sell more weapons. They think lawfare to punish them would be appropriate, sue them after any and all shootings, I imagine they would want to seriously hurt the gun companies, though I am not sure if they would want them to disappear totally, only sell to government/LE, or just have one small government run company only producing what the government needs. The second amendment needs to be either abolished, rewritten, or understood as talking about the national guard. Criminals are misunderstood, the corrupting guns and systems in society are at fault.

      The right sees guns as amoral tools that can be used for a variety of lawful purposes, and are protected by the second amendment specifically to give power to individuals so that life and liberty can be preserved. Fun fact, the right doesn’t like guns being misused by criminals or terrorists whether that involves domestic crimes against a spouse or lover, gang or organized crime, or messed up kids or adults who take their disgusting wrath out on businesses, churches, or schools. However the blame is not on the tool used to commit the crime, but the person committing the crime, and those individuals need to be held responsible and dealt with. Gun owners and gun manufacturers shouldn’t be demonized, and gun control against civilians is immoral, and using lawfare to persecute gun companies is both frivolous and an attack on the second amendment itself.

      I guess the common ground is that we both don’t want kids or other people being gunned down, but the approaches, who we believe is at fault, general philosophy is completely on opposite sides.

      • The left sees guns as things only they can own. If they believed guns were truly evil, they would not use them to crack down on the riff-raff.

    • Exactly this! Tobacco companies spent billions on junk studies to cover up what their own internal research determined. They engaged in fraudulent activity for decades, and paid the price. The firearm industry has not done that. It’s apples and oranges comparison at best.

      • Unknown wacky Gun Control nazis thirsty for civilian disarmament keep popping up like Tulips in springtime. Reading between the lines of their wish list it’s clear we Gun Owning Citizens are one step away from being targeted for termination.

        Well if that’s the way wacky Gun Control nazis really want to play I’ll just have purchase another firearm. That way my home won’t be the equivalent of a school filled with defenseless soft target children and adults who were following the rules/orders set by Gun Control nazis.

        • The Australian Greens have declared gun owners as class enemies. We know where that will lead according to their kind.

          Their final solution will be rendition, enhanced interrogation, and survivors herded into the showers for delousing.

    • They were known as “Coffin Nails” as far back as the US Civil War (1st). The tobaccy thing was more prog BS. The “Second hand smoke” BS was/is laughable drivel

    • Walter unfortunately the left will not mind “prying them from our cold dead hands”, if that is what it takes for them to achieve or work towards the ultimate goal of their agenda. Cold dead hands of POTG mean nothing to the left because they believe POTG are evil blood thirsty fools; therefore, the left feels justified in employing any means necessary. The left only sees the store front and don’t consider the innocents affected by their decisions to close businesses. The left does not see all the people adversely affected by their gross decisions to close businesses and for that matter they don’t care. A clear example of “out of sight, out of mind”. The left do things just because they can while ignoring right, wrong and the Constitution. They don’t care about right and they don’t care if they wrong POTG.

        • “It will be very costly to them.”

          No, unfortunately to others. “Them” will not be doing the wet work. They will send your neighbors, who happen to wear a uniform, while holding forth at a comfortable distance.

          Neighbors willing to do what they are told in exchange for a paycheck and pension. If they survive.

        • Lost Down South. Not hardly. If someone is trying to take my rights away, they are not my “friends” or “neighbors”. They are the enemy. I also hit what I aim at.

        • “Traitors willing to do what they are told in exchange for a paycheck and pension.”

          FTFY.

      • Funny how cold dead hands means little to some until blood starts flowing. When cold dead hands belong to the grabbers, it won’t seem like such great idea.

        Banging out comments online is one thing, banging on doors is another.

        “the left will not mind “prying them from our cold dead hands”
        Wanna bet??

        • Another View, Well, you will just have to see. Unlike you, I’ve been places where Leftists would cringe at the mere thought.
          As I said above, “FROM MY COLD DEAD HAND!” Come and get it.

        • Another View, I am not defending the left by any means and my comments were meant to illustrate the callous views of the left.

      • “unfortunately the left will not mind “prying them from our cold dead hands””

        Incorrect, these numbskulls believe themselves safe behind the lines. That will quickly change, and there will be no lines of battle. Purely asymmetric, because standing toe to toe in a straight up military battle line with our military is a fools venture. You see, they understand not a whit of OpSec. Freely and publicly writing articles, speaking in front of cameras. Ranting at length at council meetings and more.

        Consider, you already know exactly who most of them are. Half or better of the dox battle is secured before the gate even drops because of their arrogance in ignoring InforSec. From there, it’s no feat of divination to come up with locations frequented, addresses, ph. #’s, place of employment, real social circle via social media, etc. I, and many like me have no compunction about delivering that coupe de grâce to the traitors once they start the fight. I for one, am looking forward to the hunt.

        But, but…your posting on social media!?! Indeed. Through a vast amount of proxies and layers of anonymization, such that none of the sequential vpn’s can even see what I do because triple encrypted away from prying eyes before ever leaving the local system to the vpn. And that is only one phase in the chain. And wait, there’s more, far more.

        Piece of advice, there is much to be learned by the most successful hackers that evade 1st world countries attempts to capture them. Learn it. Live it. Be it. iGhost.

  1. Do it. I’ve got plenty already and thee are always more in cop cars.

  2. Courts already ignore the law, well the left wing ones do anyways. However, on the issues of fairness towards the idea of ignoring the law, then maybe prosecutors should be ignoring gun laws as well. Oh wait they already do that too. How about if I ignore paying property taxes or better yet income taxes and then find a sympathetic court that says I don’t need to, which results in no one paying property or income taxes, police get defunded, fire departments get defunded, government employees laid off en masse and all that will remain between anarchy and survival is wits and weapons.

    • For instance, the Washington state supreme court just ruled that it is ok for a minority to lie to police, just because!

      • To be fair, since it is legal for police to lie to someone in an interrogation, I do think it should be legal to lie to the police.

        But I’m assuming your statement refers that it’s OK for a minority to lie but not white people. If so, that blows.

      • Looked that one up. The facts supported the police actions 100%. An extreme example of Judicial malfeasance catering to racial, ethnic engineering at the (almost) highest levels.

        Fourteenth Amendment be damned…ramming speed achieved…the Constitution is struck, heavily damaged and taking on water rapidly.

  3. The government intervening with a producer is everything that is wrong with this country. It’s either legal or it isn’t. When the government intervenes, the people lose. Covid tyranny is a fine example. The government destroyed small business and gave handouts to big business. End all subsidies. If a tax break or incentive can’t be equally applied to all industries, then it should be illegal. Are we for equal treatment or not?

    “Discretion of juries to look beyond just the facts and the law and consider the whole picture around a dispute.”

    Yeah, who needs to worry about facts and the law? Just stack the jury with people that have their mind made up before the trial even begins. You know, like the most recent Russia Collusion Hoax criminal who avoided punishment. Hey, as long as they agree with us, right? What could go wrong?

    • Dude,

      Discretion of juries to look beyond just the facts and the law and consider the whole picture around a dispute.

      That is actually a good thing if the juries are determined to mete out JUSTICE.

      Remember, governments and the laws which they pass can be corrupt, evil, and unjust and therefore upholding corrupt and unjust laws would be a travesty. The entire point of a jury is to act as a last stop-gap measure to ensure that citizens receive justice even if government is corrupt.

      Of course a corrupt government significantly increases the difficulty of juries to exact justice. The de facto situation in virtually all courts for the last 20+ years: the judge does not allow attorneys to instruct juries to deliver justice even if that means rendering a decision which contradicts law.

      • Are you familiar with the above referenced case? It ended up being an example of jury nullification. Notice the type of people that were allowed to sit on the jury. It wasn’t for the purpose of justice. It was rigged just like everything else.

        • There is no doubt Sussmann lied to the FBI. There is no doubt he is guilty. But the trial is taking place in Washington, perhaps the deepest-blue jury pool in the United States. Durham’s prosecutors are “facing a jury that has three Clinton donors, an AOC donor, and a woman whose daughter is on the same sports team as Sussmann’s daughter,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said recently on Fox News. “With the exception of randomly selecting people out of DNC headquarters, you could not come up with a worse jury.”

        • Dude,

          I am not familiar with that case.

          You do bring up another good point about corrupt governments messing up jury nullification: when corrupt governments install their preferred people on the jury rather than a true jury of peers.

  4. Two things: Defunding police has caused manpower shortages in departments and police responce time. Even if responce time is 3 minutes. No good. In San Antonio Texas a drive by shooters shot up an areas in 30 seconds.
    Even the far left see this and gun sales are up because of it.

  5. Other laws should be ignored as well for each individuals needs and desires. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander, right Kimberley?

  6. “Even after Uvalde, the prospect of garnering 10 Republican votes to lift immunity for the politically powerful gun industry is nil.”

    Hmmmm… does no one on the left live in reality? The so called ‘politically powerful gun industry’ does not have immunity. Like any company, when they are directly at fault they can be sued and/or held legally accountable and that is the reality.

    What this guy wants is for the so called ‘politically powerful gun industry’ to be held responsible for all misuse of products over which the so called ‘politically powerful gun industry’ has no control. Just like the ‘politically powerful social media industry’ (politically because the government can not infringe the 1st amendment and can’t hold them accountable for what others say) has no control over the speech of others at the times its ‘said’ on social media (removal come later if its not by their rules), and the ‘politically powerful automobile industry’ can’t be held responsible for others misuse of their cars.

    Its a stupid and very dangerous thing to hold any legal industry, politically powerful or not, responsible for the action of others over which they have no control.

    So whats next? Eventually holding you responsible because someone else in the neighborhood let their dog pee on someones mail box post at the sidewalk? Sounds a little silly, I know, but that’s the crazy and false logic being employed with this idea of holding the so called ‘politically powerful gun industry’ responsible for the actions of others in misuse of a product.

    So yes, “the prospect of garnering 10 Republican votes to lift immunity for the politically powerful gun industry is nil.” is not because they are opposing such a move so will not vote for such a thing as some sort of political battle or gun-love cult thing – its because they have some actual common sense and realize the reality that its a crazy and false logic they leads to adverse abuse and exploitation by democrat special interest against any industry to which they want to apply it because once the precedent is set its there to abuse and exploit by government when they wish.

  7. This is yet another example of the Far Left showing their true colors:
    1) They want what they want, period.
    2) There are no timeless nor objective standards of wrong or right.
    3) Something is “wrong” or “right” based on the identities of the parties involved.

    Notice that last item. An example makes that crystal clear:

    A demonstrator with a sign is standing on the sidewalk in front of City Hall–and a passerby who despises the message on the sign punches the demonstrator in the face. According to the Far Left, that is totally okay if the demonstrator is a Conservative and the passerby is a Progressive–and a heinous crime if the demonstrator is a Progressive and the passerby is a Conservative.

    I do not see an easy solution to this burgeoning problem.

    • 24 – winner! It isn’t about wrong or right – it is all about liars er um lawyers being able to manipulate the system in order to enrich themselves.
      See their attempt in WA state in the mid ’70s to put ‘vicarious liability’ into the system IOW it is always (in their eyes) about finding ‘someone’ or some corporation/manufacturer ‘liable’ for misuse or criminal use of a lawful product, NOT the criminal.

  8. Criminals will sue gun companies if the cops shoot them while they are committing crimes. Absolute madness.

    • I’m sure the gunm grabbers are all for that too, whatever it takes to bankrupt a buisness.
      Hows that XL pipeline doing there Mr. fcku Biden.

  9. I agree — judges should end the pretension and just ignore the law and the facts even more than they do today. Instead, judges should just make sh1t up. You know, like Roe v. Wade. Emanations and penumbras and substantive due process, oh my.

    Because sooner or later, the people will wake up, and there will be many empty black robes littering the streets.

    • “They claimed about 10,000 women had died. Nathanson, however, admitted that this number was also fabricated because 10,000 was a “nice, round, shocking figure.” He said the real number was around 300 and that number had dropped consistently between 1930 and 1970 thanks to advances in antibiotic care.”

      Exposing the six lies of Roe v. Wade that led to legal abortion
      https://www.liveaction.org/news/roe-v-wade-lies-legal-abortion/

  10. So if you can sue gunmakers for illegal use, or misuse of their products by third parties they have no control over, perhaps we can sue Boeing next time some terrorist hijacks a plane, or some punk does a drive by shooting we can sue Ford or GMC.
    Or perhaps when some depraved person cuts up his victim with a reciprocating saw, or chain saw we should be able to sue Stihl or Milwaukee Tool.

  11. He literally just admitted the law and any society based on it is a fucking joke and corrupt.

    Good job dumbass.

    “Pass me that Mt. Dew.”
    *Chugs a whole 2 litre
    “ANARCHY! ANARCHY! ANARCHY!”

  12. “Litigation worked to force the tobacco industry to shoulder its share of the blame for smoking deaths.”

    It worked for the tobacco industry because it was finally discovered the tobacco industry, and the tobacco industry admitted they, deliberately made the product in such a way as to addict deeply for continued sales and profit knowing the use of their product as correctly intended could lead to death from the ingredients they purposely included to cause such use, in short they intended to harm and kill.

    Its not the same thing with firearms manufacturers. When they sale a gun they do not intend it be used to harm and kill, even if that’s what might happen and when it does happen its no where in their control but rather in complete control of the person with the firearm whereas for tobacco industry it was in their control not to include ingredients in their product they knew for a fact would harm or kill when the product was used as intended.

    • “deliberately made the product in such a way as to addict deeply for continued sales and profit knowing the use of their product as correctly intended could lead to death from the ingredients they purposely included to cause such use, in short they intended to harm and kill.”

      Now do the “War on Poverty.”

  13. Like most firearm critics Kimberly is way off base. When you compare tobacco and firearms that is like comparing an apple to a horse. Tobacco has two major effects on the people who use it causing addiction and cancer and we know the death rate from lung cancer is rather high at around 154,000 people a year and the biggest cause of death by cancer.

    Firearm deaths are about 1/3 of that number and of that 50,000 plus about 2/3 are suicides not someone shooting someone else. Additionally, only a very small amount of people are killed in total by mass shootings and in particular with an AR15.

    If people are really interested in solving those firearm problems they might want to start by doing the following: dealing with the issue of mental and emotional health and giving those folks some attention instead of ignoring them, removing all gun free zones except for Government Buildings, mandating shall issue
    in every state to allow more people to purchase firearms and defend themselves, allow trained personnel in schools to carry a firearm and require certain minimum standards of security in schools, close our borders to illegal and unvetted immigration, hold criminals responsible for their behavior, stop defunding the police, and enforce the law against those who lie on their NICS applications for permission to buy a firearm. Those items should help reduce the problem significantly because it is clear that many of the gun laws today simply do not work. An armed public is a very good deterent to crime. Legal gun owners stop crime every single day of the year and it is not reported in the media because they don’t want to destroy their false media. All they want to do is encourage violence and make our country ruled by anarchy.

  14. In case people missed it, ignore the NRA here for a few minutes in what ever dislike of them you have and listen to her address what the 2nd Amendment is…

    Governor Kristi Noem delivered a great speech at the NRA Convention in Texas. In her speech she clearly defines the left in their drive to disarm the populace, and has some great things to say that all Americans should heed..

  15. I’m gonna git me lawwyir and sue that damn Jack Daniels as soon as I sober up! Frickn booze is the Devils soup! Oh wait, they didn’t pour it down my neck did they?

  16. The fact that they did not look up the pertinent statutes speaks much about the Miami Police Department’s lack of competency. In fact, all of our institutions, from the White House to the position of dogcatcher, are currently governed by uneducated, incompetent want tobes.

  17. Or, oh I don’t know, maybe the gun control freaks could, like, target the criminals . You know those folks who break the law and are routinely allowed to walk free or plead out. You know a strategy like that might just work. If you get all of the limp wristed lib simps out of the way it would help too.
    Oh and by the by, recommending fascist tyranny as a solution never ends well. And you, Ms Wehle wouldn’t enjoy the consequences.

  18. How about this: The 2D Amendment is crystal clear. We are granted the right to own guns. End of argument. The notion that it is fair, equitable or just to actively work to circumvent the obvious words and intent of the 2d Amendment is absolutely a totalitarian move. If you want to stop guns: Get the amendment CHANGED thru the due process provided. But you CAN’T…so you look to squash peoples rights by lying, cheating and stealing the system. To many of us: THAT is JUST as evil as using the guns against innocents.

    • Jimmy – one ‘minor’ quibble with your otherwise fine comment. The 2nd specifically states ‘arms’ not guns. Guns just happen to be the most efficient arm available to most of us mere mortals. I’m a whole lot more capable with guns than with swords or knives. If I were an Olympic caliber (pun intended) fencer a sabre might be okay 😉
      BTW, in spite of what the current guvner of noo yawk state just said, muskets are never mentioned in the Constitution.

  19. Yes, I’ve never cared for the Tobacco Analogy anymore than the Car Analogy, as neither of those “vices” are Constitutionally Protected Rights. Both are choices/privileged and subject to laws governing those choices.

    I asked a long time acquaintance, who’s a dyed in the wool Democrat this question a while ago, and he chose to stop the discussion rather than continue to debate. My analogy was simply this: “Do you think the government should restrict the Right to Free Speech? Should they require you to take a special class before you’re allowed to freely express your opinion, and require that you pay a fee for a license allowing you to express your opinion(s) publicly? Of course he said “No” to that, but when I said the same right applies to firearm ownership, he turned red and walked away. He had no reply that I couldn’t take apart.

    • BB – the ‘car’ comparison really breaks down when they completely ignore all of the driver’s ed, licensing, registering and insurance requirements in place in order to be able to use cars on public (paid for by us) roadways. Bring up the FACT that millions of cars are stolen or driven illegally (drunks, suspended or revoked licenses) every year in spite of LE efforts to prevent those crimes and the analogy falls flat. Glazed looks ensue…………….

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