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By Larry Pratt

November 2, 2005

S.397 will hopefully provide the relief from predatory lawsuits that is long overdue.

The same protection should be extended to all products, but firearms are the only ones singled out at the moment by lawsuits intended to bankrupt an entire industry. At least two companies have already gone under, even though one of them, Navegar, prevailed in the California Supreme Court -- after it was already out of business.

Some of the lawsuits have complained, unsuccessfully so far, that advertising has targeted criminals. Other suits involve guns that were stolen but the plaintiff wants to hammer the owner, retail store and manufacturer alike. Happily, those suits also have yet to be successful.

One of the frequent complaints about gun companies and dealers is "they just want to push as many guns out the door as possible." Imagine that. A business that wants to make money!

All of these cases are predicated on the vague notion that guns cause crime and the criminals are not responsible for their actions. With this logic, since criminals are not to be held accountable, someone else should pay for crime -- namely, those who made and sold or even owned the stolen gun. Ultimately, this is what the backers of these frivolous lawsuits are trying to achieve -- the crippling of the gun industry.

Opponents of gun ownership have been unsuccessful in pursuing their political agenda in the U.S. Congress and most state legislatures. Lawsuits have provided a lucrative alternative to legislative failure. The cost of legal defense and higher insurance premiums might well do to the gun industry what opponents of the right to keep and bear arms have failed to do politically. As stated by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, "We're going to hit [gun makers] right where it hurts -- in their bank accounts."

Gun Owners of America was very disappointed that the Congress was willing to pass this legislation, which enjoyed overwhelming support, with a nasty little piece of gun control tucked inside. S. 397 contained a provision that will require retail gun sales to include a gun lock of some kind with every handgun. The effect of this provision is to encourage handgun owners to lock up their safety.

The main beneficiary of gun locks is the criminal element. They will be happy to find victims who have foolishly locked up their gun. Even if one can find the key or remember the combination, one's dexterity is drastically curtailed under stress. Of course, the criminal will be under no such limitation.

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To prevent guns from being stolen, safes should be used. Otherwise, a gun intended for self-defense should not be encumbered by some device that only locks up one's safety.

� 2005 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

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Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:  

E-Mail: [email protected]









The proposal would have banned all gun and ammo sales except to security firms, sport clubs, and of course, the government.