Washington, D.C. – Oregon Senator Ron Wyden joined other U.S. Senators in introducing bills that would allow victims of gun violence to sue gun manufacturers, dealers and trade associations.
The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act could repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed in 2005, which provides immunity for gun makers and dealers in state and federal courts from negligence and liability actions.
If the LCAA is repealed, civil cases can move forward against “irresponsible actors,” according to Wyden and the bill’s co-sponsors. The proposed bill will also lift a prohibition on the use of federal gun trace data in civil proceedings, allowing plaintiffs to “establish a pattern of negligent behavior on the part of a firearm maker or dealer.”
Citing the latest mass shooting in Las Vegas, Wyden said there have been far too many “massacres” in the U.S., and that “These tragedies require more than ‘thoughts and prayers.’ They demand common-sense action and that’s what each of these three bills would provide.”
Wyden is also supporting the proposed Background Check Completion Act, which would close a firearm purchasing “loophole” that allows gun dealers to sell guns if the federal background check process for the sale takes longer than 72 hours, even if the purchaser is prohibited from owning a gun. The act provides no requirement on timelines for individual federal background checks to be completed, if at all.
Finally, Wyden addressed the issue of “bump stocks” – a legal attachment that allows semi-automatic firearms to achieve fire rates similar to that of mostly-prohibited automatic weapons. The Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act would make bump stocks or similar attachments illegal for civilians.