The idea of President Biden getting something wrong when speaking about guns is probably not a big shock to most folks knowledgeable about the Second Amendment. After all, most politicians don’t really know much about guns or gun laws. That said, the president’s latest false claim about firearms is inexcusable.
Yes, there are many misrepresentations around gun laws in the media, to be sure, but lawmakers like Biden—who were around when many of these laws were first crafted—can’t blame CNN for their ignorance.
For example, Biden was around when the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) was first passed. While he didn’t support it, he should have at least been somewhat informed as to what the law actually permitted. Yet the president didn’t seem very informed during the State of the Union earlier this week, when he called on Congress to “repeal the liability shield that makes gun manufacturers the only industry in America that can’t be sued.”
I’m calling on Congress to:
– Pass universal background checks
– Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
– Repeal the liability shield that makes gun manufacturers the only industry that can’t be sued
These laws don’t infringe on the Second Amendment. They save lives.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 2, 2022
But even the Associated Press fact-checked this claim, rating it “false.”
“While gun manufacturers do have legal protections from being held liable for injuries caused by criminal misuse of their weapons thanks to the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, they are not exempt or immune from being sued,” the AP explained. “The law lays out exceptions where manufacturers or dealers can be held liable for damages their weapons cause, such as defects or damages in the design of the gun, negligence, or breach of contract or warranty regarding the purchase of a gun.”
In other words, the president attacked a law that simply doesn’t exist. Why is this such a problem?
As the Cato Institute’s Walter Olsen has explained, prior to the passage of the PLCAA, gun control groups sought to use litigation as a way of getting around the Second Amendment. If they couldn’t outright ban guns, their idea was to sue firearm manufacturers into bankruptcy, especially if they failed to comply with the demands of gun-control-loving officials.
While it’s not possible to read anyone’s mind, it seems likely that Biden and other Democrats simply want to renew precisely that effort.
To be fair, the PLCAA does provide protections few other industries enjoy. That must be acknowledged in the name of intellectual integrity.
However, it also should be noted that hardly any other industry has ever required that level of protection by Congress, either. After all, there’s been no push to sue Ford for the actions of drunk drivers. Nor has there been any push to sue kitchen knife manufacturers for homicides committed with their products. This threat loomed only over the firearm industry.
What’s more, the president isn’t even right about there being no other industries that can’t be sued. After all, if you have an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, you typically cannot sue Pfizer or Moderna. (And those are for issues that arise directly because of their product, not the actions of a third party.)
If the president is worried about people being able to get justice, that immunity must also be on the table. The simple fact that it is not, well, that tells you what this is all really about: undermining the Second Amendment.