Legislation has been introduced in the US House of Representatives, H.R. 1036, and in the U.S. Senate, S. 659, to give immunity from lawsuits to gun manufacturers and gun dealers.

Specifically, the legislation would block suits filed by governments, civic groups and individual victims of gun violence seeking to hold the gun industry accountable for irresponsible manufacturing or selling of guns. If a parent loses a child because a gun was not manufactured with a simple and inexpensive child safety device, the parent would have no recourse to make sure the same tragedy didn't happen to another family. Sweeping federal immunity would also stop lawsuits filed by victims seeking to hold gun manufacturers and sellers accountable for their role in recklessly marketing and supplying guns to criminals.

Also affected by this legislation would be the numerous lawsuits that have been filed by a variety of civic groups, including the NAACP. In the case of the NAACP lawsuit, the legal remedy we seek does not involve punitive damages; we are seeking injunctive relief to abate the public nuisance caused by the defendants’ practices in the distribution and sale of their guns. We simply want the gun industry to behave responsibly in how they manufacture and distribute their deadly products.

Guns kill nearly 30,000 Americans every year. Unfortunately, African Americans, and particularly African-American youth, suffer disproportionately from gun violence. Gun violence is the number one killer of African Americans ages fifteen to twenty-four, and though African Americans represent 13% of the total U.S. population, blacks account for 51% of gun homicides.

Manufacturers of every other consumer product in America must adhere to strict regulations. They must market their products responsibly. They must design their products safely. In America, teddy bears are more thoroughly regulated than guns. Gun industry immunity would further victimize survivors of gun violence by revoking their right to seek legal redress against negligent gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers. On personal Note: Since my (Noel Williams) nephew was a victim of gun violence in September 1998, I am as personally oppose to this very dangerous legislation.

Columbus, OH NAACP Branch

233 South High Street, Ste. 207, Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 464-1108 FAX (614) 464-1328