The U.S. Senate may pass as early as today the bill making it virtually impossible for victims of gun violence to file civil suits against the industry, says the Washington Post. Twelve Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), are joining with the Republicans to support the legislation. “It completely eliminates the right to sue in the vast majority of cases,” said Dennis Henigan of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which has participated in most legal actions against the gun industry. “It goes right to the heart of our civil liability system.”
Henigan said his group will challenge the constitutionality of the federal liability exemption if it is enacted. Reid said, “The rights of responsible gun owners should not be compromised by individuals who use firearms to commit violent crimes.” Democratic supporters appear ready to help block amendments that would weaken the legislation, which killed last year’s Senate bill. Former Senate minority leader Thomas Daschle, who was defeated for re-election, was blamed for helping block the bill by allowing the killer-amendment strategy. “We believe it cost him his Senate seat,” said a pro-gun lobbyist.