Let Shooting Victims Sue Reckless Gun Manufacturers


Target: U.S. Congress

Goal: Reinstate the legal liability of gun manufacturers for shooting deaths

In 2004, relatives of the victims from the Washington DC sniper shootings sued the maker and seller of the rifle used in the attacks. They were awarded $2.5 million in the suit. The following year, the gun industry lobbied aggressively, and Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The act significantly reduced gun manufacturers and distributors’ legal liability in the event of reckless actions that lead to their guns ending up on the black market and in the hands of killers.

Gun companies and arms dealers should take responsibility for the lethal consequences of the products they sell. According to a New York Times op-ed by former Manhattan district attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, data suggests that between 30 and 40 percent of firearm sales take place without background checks in this country, due to loopholes that sometimes exist in online, gun show, and private collection transactions.

Gun manufacturers are undoubtedly making and selling a product that poses a potential threat to people’s lives. Because their product is so inherently dangerous, these companies need to take reasonable steps to make sure they do not end up in the wrong hands. If they fail to do so, these gun companies must be held accountable for failing to prevent illegal trafficking of their firearms.

If the victims of gun violence are able to sue gun companies, those companies will have a greater incentive to prevent illegal trafficking and gun sales abuse. Sign the petition below to tell Congress to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act so firearms companies can be held responsible for gun violence and shootings.


Dear U.S. Congress,

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act prevents shooting victims and their families from suing the gun manufacturers who made the firearms involved with the violence committed against them. This law infringes upon the rights of gun violence victims and lets gun companies get away without having to shoulder any responsibility.

Many gun companies engage in practices that make it easy for their products to slip into the black market. These companies don’t take enough measures to prevent such recklessness and should therefore be held at least partially accountable for any lives lost. If victims and their families can sue in the aftermath of shootings, the firearms manufacturers will have more incentive to close loopholes that allow people to buy their weapons without undergoing background checks.

Gun companies should fully understand the risks firearms pose. Repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act will force them to pay attention and take responsibility. We shouldn’t let these companies get away with reckless behavior that ignores the potential threats of the products they sell.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Svadilfari via Flickr

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