WASHINGTON -- March 14 -- Despite a mass shooting in Brookfield, Wisconsin, on Saturday in which a gunman killed seven people, wounded four more, and then committed suicide, a subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee is scheduled tomorrow to take the first step toward passing legislation to grant the firearms industry protection from some civil lawsuits. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (H.R. 800) would shield the gun industry from liability for suits that arise when a gun dealers or manufacturers actions contribute to gun violence. The gun industry already enjoys an exemption from federal health and safety oversight.
It is unfathomable that Congress plans to move forward with legislation to protect the gun industry just days after a mass shooting. Congress should instead be looking at measures to prevent future mass shootings, including health and safety regulation of the gun industry, states Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center.
On Tuesday, March 15, the House Judiciary Committees Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law will hold a hearing on H.R. 800, the first step toward bringing the legislation to a vote on the House floor. Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) chairs the full Judiciary Committee and his district includes Brookfield, where the shooting took place.
Legislation similar to H.R. 800 passed the House last Congress, but stalled in the Senate when pro-gun control amendments were added.
The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.