Editorial: Gun Dealers Should Be Held Responsible
By George Anderson
An editorial in the Christian Science Monitor says Congress should vote against pending legislation “that would grant broad immunity from liability in civil lawsuits to
gun manufacturers and dealers.”
The publication acknowledges that most gun dealers abide by the law but that over half of all crimes committed with a gun are purchased from the one percent of dealers who have
reckless disregard for public safety.
The Monitor points to the case of the Washington, D.C.-area sniper. The rifle used in the shootings was originally sold in a gun shop in Washington state, which had no
record of having made the sale or having done a background check on the buyer. Under existing law, the dealer ($2 million) and manufacturer ($500,000) paid civil penalties to
the victim’s families. Presumably, if the pending legislation had been enacted prior to these murders, neither party would have been subject to civil action.
Moderator’s Comment: Should a gun dealer or any other merchant involved in selling products used in carrying out a crime be held civilly liable in the
case? Should Congress pass legislation granting dealers who follow the rules immunity from civil lawsuits? –
George Anderson – Moderator