Sunday, October 4, 2015

Another Day, Another Mass Shooting in America.

After another mass shooting in a white middle class part of America, there is the same uproar about the USA needing national background checks. There are also calls for us to look towards mental behavior issues. National Background checks and clamping down on mental behavior issues alone are an ineffective safety measure. We need to close existing loop holes in 33 states that allow the sales of firearms at gun shows without not only a simple background check but also without a simple verification of the gun purchaser's identity.

I recently saw an expose' on television that had a 15 year old kid attempt to buy a lottery ticket which he was denied to do at that market. I then watched that same kid try to buy liquor which again, he was denied by that liquor store clerk. He then tried to buy a pack of cigarettes which he was denied by that attendant at that market.

He then went to a gun show in Pennsylvania, I believe where he was able to buy 5 guns within an hour span of time. 

There is something wrong with that scenario. 

Besides, they are mere symptoms to the major problem we face with gun violence today

However, there is nothing worse than anything set forth by law, than gun makers being immune to civil liability laws against them. The following is a brief summary of the Equal access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, written by The Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress. They are a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress and this bill I speak about was introduced to the House on 1/22/2013. 

"The 'Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act' prohibits a court from dismissing an action against a manufacturer, seller, or trade association for damages or relief resulting from an alleged defect or negligence with respect to a product, or conduct that would be actionable under state common or statutory law in the absence of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, on the basis that the action is for damages or relief from the criminal, unlawful, or volitional use of a qualified product."

Congress initially passed the law with support from Republicans as well as Democrats in pro-gun states, and Schiff’s proposed legislation failed.

What it does is make the contents of the Firearms Trace System database that is maintained by the National Trace Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) subject to subpoena or other discovery and admissible as evidence in law suits. It permits such contents to be used, relied on, or disclosed, and permits testimony or other evidence to be based on the data, on the same basis as other information in a civil action in any state or federal court or in an administrative proceeding.

That is not allowed by law, today. 

It should be proposed as legislation that would ease current law to allow people to file civil law suits against gun manufacturers and others in the industry when they act irresponsibly. The The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), would amend the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). According to Rep. Schiff, that 2005 law enacted by George Bush Jr. and by Dick Cheney gives gun manufacturers, distributors and gun dealers immunity from most civil negligence and product liability actions. That was described that year as the 'mother of all laws' because what it does is to make an entire industry immune to law suits.

I therefore ask every reader the following question which is what industry on this planet is immune to law suits as a whole? I ask any reader to name one. I then ask major media outlets to take hold of this article, and to run with it. I then ask the POTUS to do the same thing. I especially ask the people in Congress to do the same thing. 

Because by mentioning talking points such as they do today, that is just a product of the problem. It is NOT the root of it. In reality, there are only two scientific constants to every killing with a gun and that is the gun itself and the bullet used to do it. Everything else is a part of the problem and again, there is no real science behind it. Plus, every other issue behind every gun death, varies (i.e.: racism, general mental behavior issues, the magazine a gun holds, the type of a gun, people in general etc. are the reason given as talking points about why whomever kills anything).  I will say it one more time. The ONLY scientific thing regarding every killing, murder, injury are the gun and the bullet itself.

Let me assume that no one is going to believe that we Americans are going to get rid of every gun and / or every bullet. 

However, I myself say and the Representative Adam Schiff believe that his bill is needed to be passed as a way to allow suits to go forward when these entities are found to be negligent, or for product liability issues, let alone for selling a gun or any weaponry in a corrupt way (i.e.: knowingly selling guns and bullets to someone that you know will use it for a crime).

Since 2005, "numerous cases around the nation have been dismissed on the basis of PLCAA even when the gun dealers acted in a fashion that would qualify as negligent if it involved any other product," Schiff said in a letter to House colleagues seeking support for his bill. "The victims in these cases are denied the right to even discover and introduce evidence of negligence.

(Adam) Schiff goes on to say that his "bill will reinstate the intent of PLCAA, allowing civil cases to go forward against irresponsible actors" "Letting courts hear these cases would provide justice to victims while creating incentives for responsible business practices that would reduce injuries and deaths. At the same time, my bill will provide protection for gun companies who are sued when they do not act negligently, which was the purpose of PLCAA."

And, I agree with that 100%. With such a law in place, the incentive to not sell any old product to anyone would help root out a lot of these issues we face today. Certain people would not have a 13 gun arsenal in its hands (Authorities say dead suspect had more than a dozen firearms, including six recovered from the crime scene.). Schiff added that current law only protects the "worst actors in the industry," and said that "good gun companies" and I say gun sellers "don't need special protection from the law; bad companies don't deserve it."

Schiff's bill is co-sponsored by 11 other house Democrats, including Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). It has been dead since it was placed into action in January 2013. There have been thousands of people killed with guns and bullets since that day. 

Schiff also introduced another bill that would create a new, two-year sentence for "straw purchasers" of firearms, or people who are buying weapons for people who cannot pass a background check. He states that "the laws currently on the books targeting straw purchasers of firearms don't treat it as anything other than a paperwork violation." He also states that "we need to crack down on those who are buying weapons with the express purpose of providing them to those who can't pass a background check" and that "straw purchasing is not a 'paperwork' violation — it's a serious crime that has led to a horrendous increase in criminal access to firearms."

Our culture that is geared towards guns is fine to have in America. However, we Americans have lost our responsibility to do it.

CNN reported the other day about American deaths in terrorism vs. gun violence which they spelled out to everyone in one graph:
*Includes the following domestic terrorism incidents:
September 11 attacks (NY, DC, PA) 9/11/01
2001 Anthrax attacks (DC, NY, CT, FL) Oct., Nov. 2001
El Al counter shooting (California) 7/4/02
Beltway sniper attacks (DC, Mid-Atlantic) Oct. 2002
Knoxville church shooting (Tennessee) 7/27/08
Pittsburgh police officers killed (Pennsylvania) 4/4/09
Tiller abortion clinic (Kansas) 5/31/09
Fort Hood shooting (Texas) 11/5/09
Sikh Temple Shooting (Wisconsin) 8/7/12
St. John's Parish police ambush (Louisiana) 8/16/12
Boston Marathon Bombing (Massachusetts) 4/15/13
LAX Shooting (California) 11/05/13

Think about the money we spend on every year to combat terrorism compared to what we spend every year to combat Gun violence in America.

I ask every reader to understand that simple fact. I ask every reader to think about it that way. Either we need to cut down what we spend on terrorism or we need to have an equalling out affect to happen fast.

This POTUS (Barack Obama) stated the other day after the latest mass shooting was his 15th press release on them. 

I must also add that same day 4 people in the city of Philadelphia were killed at the same time this news story broke, yet there was no mention about it on any news outlet, except for the local ones surrounding the city of Philadelphia. 

Regardless of that happening in Philly that same day without the media taking hold of it, Obama did say that "the reporting is routine." Obama went on to say that his "response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this." He then went on to ask all news organizations to tally up the number of Americans killed through terrorist attacks in the last decade and compare it with the number of Americans who have died in gun violence. 

Accordingly to the writers at CNN, and them using numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that from 2001 to 2013, 406,496 people died by firearms on U.S. soil. (2013 is the most recent year CDC data for deaths by firearms is available.) This data covered all manners of death, including homicide, accident and suicide.

And, that according to the U.S. State Department, the number of U.S. citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2013 was 350.

In addition, CNN compiled all terrorism incidents inside the U.S. and found that between 2001 and 2013, there were 3,030 people killed in domestic acts of terrorism.* This brings the total to 3,380.


That is not normal how we think about the two issues here. We get free reign to spend whatever to thwart terrorism which I respect, we also have lost so many civil liberties in the process but then again, the same goes to try thwart gun violence. Mat Welch from Reason stated on the real Time With Bill Maher show Friday night that was why initially, that the 'stop and frisk' laws were set in place in most major cities in America. I think in either case that if one has nothing to hide, than it is mostly OK, however for the [people that do have things to hide, it is not good for the likes of them.

There have been 3 lawsuits to attempt to hold gun makers, sellers liable for shootings in 2015 so far. There was a legal complaint set up in Newtown, Connecticut after that horrid shooting and that lawsuit is relating the death of children with violence. The complaint tells about of the dead children throughout it. Jesse Lewis, 6, an only child, loved riding horses. His last meal was an egg sandwich with hot chocolate. Dylan Hockley, 6, loved garlic bread and the moon. His favorite color was purple. Benjamin Wheeler, 6, wanted to be an architect, a paleontologist or a lighthouse keeper. The three died Dec. 14, 2012, when Adam Lanza opened fire inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

They did the same thing describing the murdered people in Oregon this week when they read the names of those victims. They prefaced every one of them with something they believed in and liked to do. One was an animal activist if I remember correct but regardless of those tactics if you will, the suit had been filed in federal court in Connecticut in January, Soto et al. v. Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC. That is one of several lawsuits making their way through the court that seek money damages from gun shops and manufacturers. However, other than talking about the likes of the victims and what they did for the world, these cases have no weight per se and it is because of a decade-old federal law that I mentioned above (Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act) and that gives the gun industry total immunity to never be sued.

Here’s a look at the law:

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
President George W. Bush along with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist sign the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which shields the firearms industry from civil lawsuits brought by victims of gun crimes, on Oct. 26, 2005, in Washington. The legislation at the core of gun lawsuits is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Signed into law by President George W. Bush and by Dick Cheney in 2005. That law restricts there from being any civil lawsuits set up by crime victims against gun makers and sellers.

It first came about after the DC Killings when there were many law suits filed and therefore, the gun industry challenged a series of setbacks because of them. Among them was a suit brought up in New York City claiming how gun manufacturers and sellers had allowed their weapons to be sold in illegal markets, creating a public nuisance, and 2002 California legislation explicitly allowing suits against gun manufacturers.

The gun industry claimed at that time how civil law suits had cost it more than $100 million, and members of Congress began to voice concern about the fate of military weapon suppliers if the entire industry went bankrupt. “Where will our soldiers get the arms they need to protect our freedoms?” asked Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., according to the Los Angeles Times. “From France? From Germany?”

The law put the National Rifle Association against gun safety organizations. In the Washington Post that year, it had stated that the legislation “barely pretends to be anything other than a special-interest gimme designed to shield the gun industry from lawsuits.”

The debate was that if gun manufacturers and retailers are not held responsible, who pays when a mass shooting or another gun tragedy happens? It was stipulated back then in 2005. 

Then, with the Newtown massacre of those kids and when other mass shootings occurred, was when Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., introduced the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act. That would then hone in that law enacted in 2005 law by then allowing suits when manufacturers, wholesalers and dealers are negligent in the ways described in this article.

That law “denies the victims of gun violence and their families their day in court, and in doing so it protects the worst actors in the gun industry,” Schiff said.

The current law does include a few exceptions that allow gun manufacturers and retailers to be held liable: (1) when a manufacturer or seller knowingly falsifies federal or state records about the gun (however, it is against the Federal Law to alter or change any Federal Court Document or State Court Document anyway), (2) when a manufacturer or seller sells a gun to someone who they know is prohibited from having a gun (that means nothing without any national background check registry set in place), and (3) when a design defect directly results in property damage, physical injuries or death (which is negated because of the guns are manufactured today and is very hard to prove).

The exceptions of this is in the sates of Connecticut, Wisconsin and Alaska.

Currently, there are three cases being seen today and that were brought forth which are:

1. The Newtown suit
Two years after Adam Lanza went into the Sandy Hook Elementary School to for some reason, killed what were 20 children and six school staff members, the victims’ families announced plans to sue file suit against the manufacturer of the gun Lanza used, a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. They also added that the shop that sold the gun to Lanza to be part of that suit. The complaint, accuses the manufacturer and the seller total "disregard of the unreasonable risks the rifle posed outside of specialized, highly regulated institutions like the armed forces and law enforcement.” The Plaintiff's stated in the complaint how the gun maker and store owner should have known "that people unfit to operate the weapons would gain access to them." Most notably in that case, the plaintiff's state that, "Bushmaster should have known of the “unreasonably high risk” that the rifle would be used in a mass shooting."

They state how the AR-15 is designed as a "military weapon, engineered to deliver maximum carnage with extreme efficiency,” and that how its design of it features “exceptional muzzle velocity, the ability to accommodate large-capacity magazines, and effective rapid fire.”

Both the Plaintiff's involved in that law suit and The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry  that happens to be also located in Newtown, have not commented on the lawsuit to any media outlet covering it. The NRA also did not respond to anything with regard to that law suit and let alone about the suit that that they most likely feel should be shielded by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act legislation.

The Newtown case takes a different approach than many other law suits vs. gun sellers and directed at the gun manufacturing industry.

It focuses on negligence by the seller and by the manufacturer. And, it focuses on why we have assault types of weaponry readily available for sale to the general public. The legal angle is how it is negligent to allow assault styled weapons like we use at war and during war's pose a danger to a person not trained to use it. "While other lawsuits have focused on problems with the sale of a gun, this one claims that by introducing the Bushmaster AR-15 gun into the marketplace, the manufacturer should be held liable."

This is the first time this has been raised in any court system. Many legal experts have raised doubts on the lawsuit’s chances of success. Nicholas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University states that “it’s almost exactly the sort of claim that the legislation was designed to prevent,” I think it keeps the conversation going but at the same time, no one really talks about the suit today. Even the victims families that were interviewed this week on major media outlets never said one word about it. 

2. The Badger Guns case
In April this year, a gun lawsuit hit the courts in Wisconsin. The Norberg et al. vs. Badger Guns Inc. et al., is set forth because of injuries occurring when two Milwaukee police officers who were shot in 2009 by an 18-year-old kid named Julius Burton. They tried to pull him over for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk and were somehow shot because of it. The officers say that Badger Guns, is liable because the store should have known it was illegal to sell the handgun to an underage kid at the time. The under aged kid was however, with a friend that happened to be 21 years old. The lawsuit is set up because the gun store owner and sales person should have known that buyer of the gun was the under aged kid which had been stipulated clearly on the purchase slip. On that slip, it was written that the 21-year-old was not the buyer of the gun, let alone would not have been the owner.

The gun shop's defense is that that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act protects it from any liabilities in such a claim.

The officers claim how “it was a straw buy,” and how it's “our contention that there were plenty of legitimate red flags that surround the purchase.”

This Badger Guns gained national notoriety in 2005 when federal data showed it was the nation’s top seller of guns linked to crimes (537 of its guns were recovered by police). In that claim, the Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Conen ruled in favor of the officers in January 2014. It found the claim met one of the exceptions of the legislation, clearing the way for the upcoming trial.

3. A challenge in Alaska
This claim is basically a wrongful death lawsuit. In 2006, Simone Kim was fatally shot while painting at a Juneau supermarket. Later, a drifter named Jason Coday was convicted in the killing. The Kim family filed a wrongful death suit, alleging that a gun dealer illegally sold Coday the gun without a proper background check. The lawsuit alleges that Coday went to Rayco Sales and walked out with the gun after putting $200 on the counter as a bribe to be able to get it.

The gun shop owner told a very different story saying that when Coday came into the store, that he wasn’t interested in buying a gun that day. Coday evidently then put on his backpack as if he was going to leave the store, that the seller then walked away from the area. It was told that the gun shop employee saw the $200 in cash on a counter later on, and and he then realized that the gun had been stolen by Coday from the counter. It was also told that the gun seller quickly began to search for Coday and that he was not to be blamed for the bribery and/or the negligence.

Therefore, did Coday steal the gun without the sales clerk's knowledge or was there a bribe in action? Either way, there is negligence but one is willful knowledge and one was just for walking away while guns lay down on the counter with the great ease to swipe. A trial judge eventually dismissed the claim because its ruling was that of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. However, it was appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court that then ruled the case could go forward, saying it was not barred if the gun was sold illegally without the seller doing a background check. It went back to the trial courts in Alaska. 

It does turn out that licensed gun dealers have a protection that no other gun dealer has because think about it this way, if someone walks into anyone's house to steal their guns when it is not locked up in a safe manner, and then they take those guns to shoot people or to use it in crimes, whomever can indeed be sued for negligence. 

Conversely, if it is a licensed gun dealer, and somebody does that to them, they would be protected by this law. 

Overall, this issue needs to dealt with by the root. Which is by law. If we start by fixing that law, we can then start to place together the other pieces of it. Like doing national background checks. Like changing up the gun show loop hole and like to not allow there to be assault weapons sold to the general public. Until then, it will not stop. And, I will realize that no one is serious about gun safety issues. 

Because i maintain that any firm believers of that antiquated 2nd amendment (which the forefathers that enacted our amendments wrote them up to be altered and amended; it does not have to be written in stone so to speak like people make it out to be), have lost their privilege today. There is nothing wrong with a responsible gun manufacturer, gun seller and gun user. That's is not what this aimed to be against. It is for the corrupt people. Besides, if "Corporations are People Too My Friends," those corporations that make guns and sell them, should have morals too. It should nit be only about that other Amendment (14th) where it is only about creating as much profits and with as much profit margin as possible. I maintain there should be a moral fiber to that amendment too. 

Also and occasionally, a lobbying client may refer to a bill number from a previous Congress, either in error or because they are lobbying on a bill that has not yet been assigned a number. In these cases, it will appear as though they are lobbying on the bill sharing that number in the Congress in which they are filing, which in most cases is a different bill entirely. 

To see more information about the bill the client is lobbying on, you can look at the specific report under the "Report images" tab below on the lobbying client's profile page. 

Here is a list of them from 2014 at the Center for Responsive Politics:
Bill NumberCongressBill TitleNo. of Reports & Specific Issues*
H.R.1565113Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 20134
H.R.332113Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act4
H.R.452113Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 20134
S.54113Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 20134
S.649113Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 20133
H.R.4783113Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act of 20143
H.R.4806113Pause for Safety Act of 20143
H.R.4906113Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act3
S.1290113Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 20133
S.2445113Pause for Safety Act of 20143
S.2483113Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act3
And, here is a list of them from 2015:
Bill NumberCongressBill TitleNo. of Reports & Specific Issues*
H.R.1217114Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 20151
H.R.1701114Second Amendment Enforcement Act of 20151
H.R.1706114Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 20151
H.R.1885114Securing Access to Rural Postal Services Act of 20151
H.R.224114To require the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to submit to Congress an annual report on the effects of gun violence on public health.1
H.R.368114Safe and Responsible Gun Transfer Act1
H.R.402114National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 20151
H.R.410114Pause for Safety Act of 20151
H.R.752114Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act1
H.R.923114Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 20151
H.R.986114Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 20151
S.213114Look-Alike Weapons Safety Act of 20151
S.498114Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 20151
S.551114Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 20151
S.874114Second Amendment Enforcement Act of 20151

If you believe that there is an error, please e-mail the Center for Responsive Politics at info@crp.org. They will attempt to correct it.