One of the first topics in yesterday’s debate was the Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act (or PLCAA for short). The consensus was as one would expect from Democrats. If there was a surprise, it would have been Sanders as he stuck to his guns (pun intended) on his gun control record.
The PLCAA was a law that was intended to prevent frivolous lawsuits from crushing gun manufacturers and dealers. Its purpose is to prevent what the Democrats want to do, kill off the gun industry though judicial means. Despite its common sense exceptions, the law has been very effective in providing immunity to the gun industry.
On the other hand, the law has arguably been too effective. In order for a lawsuit to be successful, one has to effectively prove that the dealer or manufacturer has committed a crime. This means that if a dealer or manufacturer is negligent, they have immunity. Let’s consider the case involving Rayco in Alaska.
In this case, the dealer was accused of illegally selling a gun to a person who was not qualified to purchase it. As to whether or not the gun was purchased or stolen, that is a matter of debate. What is clear however, the dealer was negligent in not properly securing his inventory. Over a 10 year period, the shop had 200 weapons come up missing or stolen. A former employee even testified that it was way too easy for someone to enter the store and snatch a gun. Even the dealer’s lawyer said that if it was a case about negligence, the dealer could have been in some trouble.
However, all of that proof was irrelevant because the PLCAA shielded the dealer from the consequences of his actions. It seems to me that any law that protects such negligence is wrong and needs to be amended.