Congress has voted to shield companies that make and sell firearms from lawsuits by the victims of shootings, says the Washington Post. The House’s 283-144 vote sent the legislation to the White House and handed the nation’s gun lobby a victory it has sought for years. President Bush welcomed the vote as part of the administration’s drive to “stem frivolous lawsuits” and said he will sign it into law. Leading proponents of gun control vowed to challenge the law’s constitutionality.
The legislation is aimed at cutting off an tactic that gun-control advocates have used in recent years to exert leverage on the firearms industry, trying to curb the sale of weapons to criminals by holding it financially responsible for crimes. The National Rifle Association has complained that the expense of fighting lawsuits put manufacturers and gun stores on shaky financial ground, regardless of who wins the cases.