The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to prohibit lawsuits by crime victims and government units against gun manufacturers and dealers. Critics charge that many of the cases are frivolous. The legislation, approved by 285 to 140, could endanger more than a dozen lawsuits by cities seeking to hold gun makers and distributors responsible for violence. The Los Angeles Times says that the suits, which have cost the industry more than $100 million in legal fees, could dry up the supply of guns, infringing on gun owners’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms,
“Where will our soldiers get the arms they need to protect our freedoms?” said Rep. Candice S. Miller (R-Mich.). “From France? From Germany?” She noted that one of the defendants in the suits, Colt’s Manufacturing Co., based in Hartford, Conn., makes the M16, a weapon used by U.S. troops in Iraq. The bill’s fate in the more evenly divided Senate is not clear.