Dear Gavin Newsom,
Greetings, my name is Mikey MacCallum and in school we got to choose a topic to try to make a change and I chose the topic of gun control. I know you have done a lot in the field of gun control politics with your work on Prop 63 in 2016 and your repeated activism for gun control. One thing that is beginning to worry me, however, is the cries for removal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms act of 2005. The removal of this act would be taking away the fundamental rights of arms manufacturers as companies and businesses.
These protections are just basic product liability protections. An example of this is very thoughtfully worded in the article “The Hard Truth About Suing Gun Manufacturers” by Andrew R. Kloster and Jennifer Weinberg published by The National Interest which is an article written in the aim of exposing the protections gun manufacturers have and why they need them. In this article they mention that as long as you are selling a working and lawful product your company can’t be sued for something that happens afterwards with the aforementioned product (Kloster and Weinberg). This is true in almost all cases about almost all industries and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms act of 2005 only ensured this right be extended to firearm sales as well. The same author brings up another very convincing points just paragraphs later when they bring up an anecdote where someone slips peanuts into a person who they knew was deathly allergic and they die to bring a valuable and thought provoking question, is the peanut manufacturer responsible (Kloster and Weinberg)? The answer is a definite no and the same is applicable to the gun industry. In a bullet coming out of the barrel when the trigger is pulled and not malfunctioning, the gun is serving its purpose, so as long as it is sold legally there is no feasible lawsuit that can be made against the manufacturer.
Not only are these protections basic product liability but they are vitally necessary for the gun industry. In that same article by Kloster and Weinberg the authors addresses the following. If these lawsuits were allowed to proceed and go further, gun manufacturers would start to have to fight lawsuits against all sorts of outlandish claims (Kloster and Weinberg). These lawsuits would cost money and soon gun manufacturers would be fighting suits left and right. They would have to pay an incredible amount on lawyers and attorneys to defend themselves even though the plaintiffs would lose anyways. In the same article it is stated that the government should not be focusing as much as they are on this and should be instead enforcing pre-existing gun laws so that the rights bestowed upon all Americans via the second amendment are insured(Kloster and Weinberg). This is actually a logical thread of thought because in order for the second amendment and the right for citizens to keep arms to protect themselves to continue they need to be able to get these guns. Making gun manufacturers liable for violence that was caused by their functioning and legally sold product would diminish the importance and well-being of our fundamental rights as U.S. citizens.
Some people may say that gun manufacturers are at fault because they provide “military grade weapons” to the general public. And while they do that does not mean that they are liable to what happens with that product.“FACT CHECK: Are Gun-Makers ‘Totally Free Of Liability For Their Behavior’” By Danielle Kurtzleben states the following: The protection in lawful commerce of arms acts allows for gun manufacturers to be sued for defects in the gun but not criminal misuse of the weapon, which is the same as car manufacturers or any other business (Kurtzleben). To draw the line at guns would be incredibly unjust to gun manufacturers. Many people may say that the government should just stand up to the gun lobby and implement an outright ban on guns.In an article called “Why shouldn’t the gun industry be liable for damage done by its products, just like anybody else?” by Erwin Chemerinsky and published by the Sacramento Bee they ask how many tragedies will be enough to make the government stand up and make gun manufacturers stop selling military weapons to the public (Chemerinsky)? In this quote the author states that guns should be banned (as they can almost all be deemed “military weapons”) which is refuted by the author of “The Hard Truth About Suing Gun Manufacturers” when they say that while there are many tragedies caused by guns simply taking them all away would be unconstitutional (Kolster and Weinberg.) In this the author debunks the banning of guns by stating that it is completely unconstitutional to ban guns despite the harm they can cause because of our second amendment rights.
Our second amendment rights to own arms and protect ourselves with said arms are at risk due to the people who want the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms act repealed. Gun manufacturers deserve the same product liability rights of any company which makes a functional, legal, and working product and sells it to the public legally. The fact that even considering to try and take that away from lawful business is completely outrageous! You have the power to make a change given your position as governor of California and I implore you to use that power to ensure than gun manufacturers maintain their fundamental rights as businesses
Mikey Mac Callum