Amendment Text: H.Amdt.60 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)

There is one version of the amendment.

Shown Here:
Amendment as Offered (04/09/2003)

This Amendment appears on page H2982 in the following article from the Congressional Record.



[Pages H2968-H2996]
               PROTECTION OF LAWFUL COMMERCE IN ARMS ACT

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Sessions). Pursuant to House Resolution 
181 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of 
the

[[Page H2969]]

Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the 
bill, H.R. 1036.
  The Chair designates the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Shimkus) as 
chairman of the Committee of the Whole, and requests the gentleman from 
Idaho (Mr. Simpson) to assume the chair temporarily.

                              {time}  1131


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill 
(H.R. 1036) to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or 
continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of 
firearms or ammunition for damages resulting from the misuse of their 
products by others, with Mr. Simpson (Chairman pro tempore) in the 
chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is 
considered as having been read the first time.
  Under the rule, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) and 
the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. 
Sensenbrenner).
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, logic and fairness dictate that manufacturers and 
sellers should not be held responsible for the unlawful use of their 
lawful products. H.R. 1036 will stop ludicrous lawsuits against the 
manufacturer or seller of firearms for harm resulting from the criminal 
or unlawful misuse of their products by prohibiting such lawsuits from 
being filed in State or Federal court.
  H.R. 1036, which has significant bipartisan support, does not 
preclude lawsuits against a person who transfers a firearm or 
ammunition knowing that it will be used to commit a crime of violence 
or a drug trafficking crime. It also does not prevent lawsuits against 
a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se.
  The bill also includes several additional exceptions, including an 
exception for actions in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified 
product knowingly and willfully violates any State or Federal statute 
applicable to sales or marketing when such violation was a proximate 
cause of the harm for which relief is sought. Other exceptions include 
actions for breach of contract or warranty and an exception for actions 
for damages resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture.
  Recent litigation against the tobacco industry that forced 
multibillion dollar settlements has inspired lawsuits against a much 
smaller firearms industry on theories of liability that would hold it 
financially responsible for the harm caused, through no fault of its 
own, by those who criminally misuse its products. While some of these 
lawsuits have been dismissed, and some States have acted to limit them 
in one way or another, the fact remains that these lawsuits continue to 
be aggressively pursued. Such lawsuits threaten to rip tort law from 
its moorings in personal responsibility and drive firearms 
manufacturers out of business.
  John Coale, one of the personal injury lawyers suing the gun 
industry, told the Washington Post, ``The legal fees alone are enough 
to bankrupt the industry.'' The police, along with our military, also 
rely on the domestic firearms industry to supply them with reliable and 
accurate weapons that can best protect them in the line of fire. The 
best and most reliable guns are not going to be those designed under 
requirements personal injury attorneys seek to impose in firearms 
lawsuits.
  Lawsuits seeking to hold the firearms industry responsible for the 
criminal and unlawful use of its products are brazen attempts to 
accomplish through litigation what has not been achieved by legislation 
and the democratic process. Various courts have correctly described 
such suits as ``improper attempts to have the court substitute its 
judgment for that of the legislature.'' As explained by another Federal 
judge, ``The plaintiff's attorneys simply want to eliminate handguns.''
  Under the currently unregulated tort system, personal injury lawyers 
are seeking to obtain through the courts stringent limits on the sale 
and distribution of firearms beyond the court's jurisdictional 
boundaries. Such State lawsuits in a single county could destroy a 
national industry and deny citizens nationwide the right to keep and 
bear arms guaranteed by the Constitution. Insofar as these lawsuits 
have the practical effect of burdening interstate commerce in firearms, 
Congress has the authority to act under the commerce clause of the 
Constitution.
  In 1985, one Federal judge said it would be nonsensical to claim that 
a product can be defective under the law when it has no defect. He 
predicted that the plaintiff's unconventional application of tort law 
against such a product would also apply to automobiles, knives and even 
high-calorie food.
  In 1999, another judge observed that cities suing the firearms 
industry ``have envisioned the dawning of a new age of litigation 
during which the gun industry, liquor industry, and purveyors of junk 
food would follow the tobacco industry in reimbursing government 
expenditures.'' Only a few years later, that disastrous new age of 
litigation is already upon us, and even once-fanciful lawsuits against 
fast food companies are rapidly proliferating.
  Congress must do what it can to stop the slide down this slippery 
slope. It is time for Congress to fulfill its constitutional duty and 
exercise its authority under the commerce clause to prevent a few State 
courts from bankrupting the national firearms industry and denying all 
Americans their fundamental right to bear arms.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to control the time 
of the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) in opposition to the bill.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from North Carolina?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
  First of all, I think I want to clarify this debate because, starting 
at 7:30 this morning, eight o'clock this morning, I was on a television 
show debating about the bill I thought, and I heard all of the 
arguments related to how trial lawyers are irresponsible, how judges 
are irresponsible. I heard arguments about whether people ought to have 
guns or not have guns.
  I submit to my colleagues that this debate is not about any of that. 
It is about a bill which I believe is an extreme bill, and I want to 
call my colleagues' attention to five points.
  This is reform. I believe it is extreme reform. We are not talking 
about capping recoveries or putting a limit on recoveries from gun 
manufacturers, sellers, dealers, importers. We are talking about 
immunizing them from their liability for negligence. So this is extreme 
reform. It is not the kind of reform that we have been talking about in 
other contexts.
  The second point I want to make is, this is unprecedented reform. The 
reform that this bill would provide is not available to any other 
manufacturer in America. It is not available to the automobile 
industry. It is not available to the pharmaceutical industry. It is 
not, despite what my chairman has said, about the tobacco industry. It 
is not available to the tobacco or the cigarette industry. There is no 
industry in America that has this kind of immunity. So it is 
unprecedented reform that is being sought here.
  The third point I want to make is, this is not well-thought-out 
reform. There are major problems with this bill, and the committee made 
no effort to try to debate those problems, consider those problems, try 
to correct those problems.
  There was no markup. If my colleagues heard the debate on the rule, 
there really was no markup. The total markup of this bill in committee 
took a total of 44 minutes, 44 minutes, and most of that was spent 
debating and arguing about whether the previous question ought to have 
been called. So these issues have not been considered. So we have got a 
bill that has not been well thought out because nobody has taken the 
time to worry about the specific provisions in the bill.
  The fourth point I would make to my colleagues is that this is 
unconstitutional reform. We have a bill that says,

[[Page H2970]]

not only will it apply henceforth, now and forever, forward, but it 
will apply henceforth, now and forever, backwards. So if a person had a 
lawsuit and they are already in court, they already had their trial, 
their case is on appeal, this lawsuit would tell the appeals court to 
dismiss that lawsuit. If a person is in the middle of selecting a jury, 
if they have had motions and arguments about whether the conduct of the 
manufacturer or seller or dealer has been outrageous, this legislation 
would require that that lawsuit be dismissed. I think that 
retroactivity is unconstitutional, and if it is not unconstitutional, 
it is certainly unfair, unwise and unwarranted.
  The fifth point I want to make about this legislation is that it is 
politically motivated reform. The reason this bill had not gotten any 
attention in the Committee on the Judiciary and that nobody wants to 
take the time to really debate about it on the floor is that we are 
rushing this bill through to the other side so that 2 weeks from now, 
when the National Rifle Association convenes its national convention in 
Florida, they will be energized, they will be motivated to do whatever 
they need to do to support many of the supporters of this bill. There 
is no reason that this bill has to be dealt with in the form that it is 
being dealt with.
  So it is extreme. It is unprecedented. It is not well thought out, 
has not been debated. It is unconstitutional and if not 
unconstitutional, certainly unfair and unwise, and it is politically 
motivated.
  Those five things should give us pause today, even aside from how 
this bill got here. We should be concerned that this institution is 
moving an irresponsible piece of legislation that is solely for the 
benefit of some right-wing agenda.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume 
to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Stearns).
  Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the distinguished chairman of the 
Committee on the Judiciary for his help in bringing this bill to the 
floor. I also want to thank my colleagues, the gentleman from Louisiana 
(Mr. John), the gentlewoman from Pennsylvania (Ms. Hart) and the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Boucher) for their support.
  H.R. 1036, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, as we 
pointed out earlier, addresses the growing concerns of junk lawsuits 
filed with the intention of driving the firearms industry out of 
business by simply attempting to hold manufacturers and dealers liable 
for the criminal acts of third parties who are totally beyond their 
control.
  These suits are different from other lawsuits that affect other 
industries. The cities and counties are not representing specific 
victims nor are they claiming specific damage against city property. 
No, instead, they are simply suing because they happen to dislike a 
product, its appearance, its distribution and how it markets its 
product. Yet, under the Constitution, these companies have the 
constitutional right to manufacture these products.

                              {time}  1145

  Now, the previous speaker mentioned that this has been a very quick 
process and he thought it was extreme. That is the word he used, 
extreme, unprecedented. I have on this chart here 31 States which have 
already passed legislation that prohibits frivolous lawsuits against 
the firearm industry. So I would say to my colleagues, perhaps your 
State, when you come on the House floor, you should look at this chart 
to make sure before you vote whether your State has already passed a 
bill that has recognized the absurdity of these lawsuits. As such these 
States have acted to prohibit these types of suits, and H.R. 1036 is 
designed to simply mirror what the States have done.
  The goal is to seize the attempts at regulation through lawsuits that 
achieve nothing except the blatant interference in a company's 
constitutional right to sell and market a legal product and the 
constitutional duty of the Congress to regulate the commerce of such 
product. As I stated, creative legal theory does not make good public 
policy.
  We have seen through the course of these 30-plus suits that have come 
to the courts that the courts are not buying the theory either. Many of 
these suits have been dismissed. If my colleagues will bear with me, I 
will show my colleagues another chart. I have just taken a sample of 
the municipal lawsuits that have been dismissed, but I particularly 
want to highlight the city of Boston's case. Twenty-nine manufacturers 
and distributors and three associations were defendants. The alleged 
claim: negligent distribution. Very simply, negligent distribution was 
the claim against them, and 29 manufacturers were sued, distributors 
and associations. Defective design, deceptive advertising, nuisance, 
unjust enrichment. It was dismissed.
  The city dropped its own suit saying it was too expensive for the 
city to do and acknowledging that, through its vigorous prosecution, 
the suit would need hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, would 
go on forever and ever, and would not be realistic and concrete in its 
steps to reduce illegal acquisition of firearms, and need to reduce the 
incidence of firearm accidents and increasing public awareness 
concerning the safe handling and storage of firearms. So the city of 
Boston voluntarily decided this is wrong. Not the courts' decision, but 
the city of Boston, after spending all this money.
  We can go from New Orleans to Miami-Dade County. Twenty-six 
manufacturers, distributors, three associations, and two dealers were 
all sued simply because of their design, their distribution, and what 
they said was negligent deceptive advertising. It was dismissed at 
trial court and dismissed at appellate court. The Florida Supreme Court 
denied this petition. So it went through every one. The trial court, 
the appellate court, and the Supreme Court; and they all denied. So, my 
colleagues, this bill we have here is simply mirroring what has been 
done in the other 31 States.

  Now, the question comes up, this bill is just a carve-out for the 
firearms industry. The previous speaker mentioned that, so I would like 
to bring to his attention other Federal legislation that protects 
specific industries and other cases where these industries or groups 
have found themselves uniquely threatened by bizarre or novel legal 
situations.
  For example, in 1994, we passed legislation, the General Aviation 
Revitalization Act, which generally protects manufacturers of small 
planes more than 18 years old against personal injury lawsuits in both 
Federal and State courts.
  Let us take another act, the Federally Supported Health Centers 
Assistance Act of 1995, which declared certain community, migrant and 
homeless health care center employees to be employees of the Public 
Health Service, thus protecting them under the Federal Tort Claims Act 
from malpractice lawsuits in State courts.
  Another example: the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 
1996, which protects nonprofit organizations from State or Federal 
lawsuits arising from the nature, age, packaging or condition of 
apparently wholesome food received in good-faith donation to benefit 
the needy.
  The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 provides limited immunity from 
liability for volunteers acting on behalf of a nonprofit organization 
and preempts inconsistent State law unless such law provides additional 
protection.
  The Biomaterials Access Assurance Act of 1998, which supersedes State 
law to create an exclusion from liability for manufacturers of raw 
materials or components of medical implants.
  And let us not forget the Y2K Act of 1999, which limits punitive 
damages and establishes special procedures for liability in Y2K cases.
  The Public Health Improvement Act of 2000, which provides Good 
Samaritan liability protection for users of cardiac defibrillators.
  So, my colleagues, there are literally dozens and dozens of such 
pieces of legislation, major pieces of legislation, very similar, very 
like this bill that have been passed by Congress to protect and to 
enforce protection against nuisance lawsuits.
  Basically, what we have is a bill that has been cosponsored by 250 
colleagues here in the House. And the bill did not just happen to 
appear recently for anything like a convention of the NRA. This bill 
has gone through Congress. In

[[Page H2971]]

the 107th Congress, we had almost 240 sponsors. It went through the 
Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection and then the 
full committee and passed. It went through the appropriate subcommittee 
and the full Committee on the Judiciary in the 107th Congress. And we 
now have even more support for it, so the time is right for passage on 
the House floor.
  My colleagues will hear a lot about victims' rights from opponents to 
this bill. I want to emphatically state that this bill protects 
victims' rights. Their right to sue is protected in this bill, relying 
on product defect, negligent entrustment, and industry compliance with 
Federal and State law. What is not protected is the use of creative 
legal theory to sue the deepest pockets.
  My colleagues, we have a good bill here, one that 250 Members of 
Congress agree with. It is bipartisan, both sides. They agree that 
using the courts to circumvent the constitutional authority of this 
body to make public policy is an improper use of our judicial system.
  I will close in a moment, but want to leave my colleagues with 
several quotes. Dave Kopel, a professor at New York University Law 
School, has stated that the cities do not have to win in court with 
these nuisance suits. All they have to do is keep suing and suing. They 
will kill the industry with the cost of defending the lawsuits. He has 
got it right.
  And then I would like to give another quote here. This is from a 
former labor secretary in which he pointed out that if I had my way, we 
would have laws restricting hand guns, and we are launching here an 
effort to succeed where legislation has failed. The strategy may work, 
but at the cost of making our frail democracy even weaker. You might 
approve the outcome in these cases, but they establish a precedent for 
other cases that you might find wildly unjust.
  My point is that most nuisance lawsuits are taking to the courts an 
attempt to bankrupt these manufacturers. It is clear the courts agree, 
it is clear my colleagues agree, it is clear the State legislatures 
agree; and so I urge my colleagues to support the bill.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds, just long enough 
to respond to the gentleman that I am glad he demonstrated the court 
process is working. Most of the cases he talked about have been 
dismissed if they did not have merit, and that is exactly what should 
happen to them. And to distinguish for him between all of those cases, 
I know he would like to put this bill in the category of volunteer 
protections and Good Samaritans, but I do not think he is going to 
succeed on that front.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 3\1/4\ minutes to the gentleman from Virginia 
(Mr. Moran).
  Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, this legislation is an attempt 
to provide special legal protection for the gun industry at the expense 
of innocent Americans who have been harmed by the dangerous and 
irresponsible actions of some firearm manufacturers and sellers.
  The gun industry should be subject to the same legal standards of 
conduct that govern all other people and industries in society. Guns 
are only one of two consumer products, tobacco is the other, that are 
exempt from Federal health and safety regulation. Consequently, 
American consumers receive Federal protection from safety flaws in 
products such as children's toys, pillows, car seats, but not from 
deadly firearms.
  This legislation is especially unconscionable in light of the gun 
violence that continues to plague our Nation. Recently, Americans 
watched in horror as citizens were gunned down by a sniper in Maryland, 
the District of Columbia, and my home State of Virginia. While local 
law enforcement officials are prosecuting the snipers for their crimes, 
the families who lost loved ones in the attack have also filed civil 
lawsuits to ensure that those responsible for arming the snipers also 
are held accountable. This includes the gun store from which the 
assault rifle used in the shootings mysteriously disappeared, along 
with 238 other guns over the last 3 years alone. These are guns whose 
intended purpose is to kill other human beings.
  If H.R. 1036 is enacted into law, the families of the sniper victims 
will be thrown out of court without a hearing. Given the suffering 
experienced by gun violence victims, it is unconscionable for the gun 
lobby to call their efforts to obtain justice frivolous. Gun violence 
victims seeking their day in court have based their lawsuits on long-
standing rights well established in our Nation's common law.
  In addition to the civil lawsuits brought by the families of the 
sniper victims, another part of the fight to obtain justice for gun 
violence victims includes the NAACP's current legal action against 
firearms manufacturers and dealers who have facilitated the supply of 
hand guns to an unlawful underground market. Gun violence is the number 
one killer of African Americans ages 15 to 24. And though African 
Americans represent 13 percent of the total U.S. population, they 
account for the majority of gun homicides. The legal remedy being 
sought by the NAACP does not involve damages, but rather calls on the 
gun industry to behave responsibly.
  In the words of a New York Times editorial, ``Under cover of war, the 
domestic gun industry is prodding Congress to anoint it as the 
``arsenal of democracy'' by enacting a disastrous bill to give gun 
makers and dealers unprecedented protection from liability suits by 
State and local governments and victims of gun violence.
  ``The passage of this bill would do nothing for average gun owners. 
What the sudden pressure to get it through Congress makes clear is that 
the gun lobby, while theoretically concerned with the right to bear 
arms, is chiefly worried about protecting the right to make money off 
of them.''
  We, the representatives of the people, not the special interests, 
should reject this legislation which would undermine the legal rights 
of individuals and communities and provide unwarranted special immunity 
for the firearm industry. Let us do the right thing. Let us vote this 
bill down.

                              {time}  1200

  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Virginia (Mr. Boucher) to show the bipartisan nature of the 
support for this bill.
  (Mr. BOUCHER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. BOUCHER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. 
Sensenbrenner) for yielding me this time. I urge passage of this 
legislation by the House, and I am pleased to join with the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Stearns), the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. John), 
and the gentlewoman from Pennsylvania (Ms. Hart) as one of the 
principal cosponsors of the measure.
  Lawsuits which would impose liability on firearm manufacturers, 
distributors and dealers for misuse of the firearm by someone who comes 
into possession of it are thinly veiled attempts to impose gun control 
by judicial means. If liability is imposed on manufacturers in these 
circumstances, the result will be a large reduction in the availability 
of firearms for purchase by sportsmen and other law-abiding citizens. 
The rights of hunters, of gun collectors, and those who purchase 
firearms for self-defense must be considered. The lawsuits which this 
bill seeks to end leave little room for the consideration of those 
rights.
  The lawsuits are merely gun control by a nonlegislative means. I 
happen to oppose gun control, but even if I favored it, I would be for 
this bill which will remove gun control policy-making from the courts 
and return it to the legislative arena where it belongs and where all 
competing interests have an opportunity to be considered.
  Mr. Chairman, this bill deserves, and it has, broad bipartisan 
support. It will further the protection of gun-owner rights, and I urge 
its passage by the House.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4\1/4\ minutes to the gentlewoman 
from New York (Mrs. McCarthy).
  Mrs. McCARTHY of New York. Mr. Chairman, I would like to straighten a 
few things that are being said here on the floor: Number one, this has 
nothing to do with guns, and it does not; number two, we are not trying 
to shut down gun manufacturers, and we are not; number three, this is 
not about gun control, and it is not.
  What this is basically about is trying to have, as victims, our day 
in court.

[[Page H2972]]

  My colleague said that we have frivolous cases in court. Yet it is 
funny because we always get into the case, yet we are turned back 
because they say, go to the legislative branch. The legislative branch 
is where you should be trying to change law. That is not going to 
happen. This is a progun House and it is a progun Senate. Now we are 
basically taking away every right that victims have.
  Let me say why we look at the gun manufacturers on their 
distribution: mainly because we do know that a lot of these illegal 
guns that get on the streets come from certain areas and are going 
through certain distributions to gun stores. Yet the legislature here 
passed a law that our ATF agents cannot even go and inspect a gun store 
except once a year, but only if they call them first.
  What we hear is also, in my opinion, a reckless attempt at providing 
special legal protection for the gun industry. We do not do it with 
other manufacturers. This is different. The gun industry should be 
subject to the same legal standards of conduct that govern every other 
industry. What makes this particular industry so special, we all know 
that it is the lobbyists.
  But let me say what we are trying to do as far as the gun 
manufacturers. We are asking them to make the guns safer. The 
technology is out there. I asked the Committee on Rules last night to 
have child safety locks able to be sent out with every gun that goes 
out on the market. It certainly would be up to the consumer whether 
they used that particular product on the gun or not, but we do know it 
would save children's lives.
  An attempt to improve the bill, as I said, we see unintentional 
shootings commonly occur with children when they find an adult-loaded 
handgun in a drawer or closet, and while playing with it shoot 
themselves, a sibling or young friend. When reading the newspapers, one 
sees that this happens all too frequently. No matter how careful 
parents are, their child is still exposed to the potential negligence 
of a neighbor or relative or other adult that the child visits.
  Instead of providing immunity to a particular industry because of the 
potential legal costs associated with a lawsuit, we should first focus 
on the merits of the lawsuit. Many negligent suits brought against gun 
manufacturers are based on the claim that the product they manufacture 
and sell does not take into consideration the foreseeable dangers 
associated with their product, for example, a child playing with a 
handgun.
  Although I happen to agree with these claims, I believe we could 
limit them by ensuring the safety of a firearm if it falls into the 
hands of a child. There are many things our gun manufacturers could do. 
There are many things that have already been done against car dealers, 
against barbecue pits, all in the name of safety, all for the safety of 
our American people.
  When the gun manufacturers start really taking seriously where their 
guns are going, when the gun manufacturers start looking at the 
technology that is out there to save lives, when the gun manufacturers 
really start listening to, hopefully, the consumers and not the NRA. 
And by the way, I do not think there is anybody in this Chamber, right 
or left, that is trying to take away the right of someone to own a gun.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman 
from Louisiana (Mr. John) to show the continued bipartisan support for 
this bill.
  Mr. JOHN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. 
Sensenbrenner) for yielding me this time.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1036. As an original 
cosponsor of this piece of legislation, I also thank the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Stearns) for his vision and leadership in introducing this 
piece of legislation and allowing me to be part of the passage of this 
legislation through committee and now here on the floor.
  Mr. Chairman, frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers jeopardize 
a legitimate, legal, and I underscore and repeat, legal industry which 
is worth billions of dollars to our national economy. I cannot in good 
conscience support any of these actions.
  Being from Louisiana, officially known as the sportsmen's paradise, 
and I am an avid hunter and fisherman in a region that depends heavily 
on the sporting industry, I can easily see the potential that these 
lawsuits have to seriously restrict not only our freedoms but our 
constitutional rights. Not only would continued frivolous lawsuits 
against gun manufacturers threaten the firearm industry, but it would 
have an enormous impact on many other businesses that are dependent on 
this industry. These lawsuits could have serious negative economic 
impact on the various hunting and sportsmen-related industries which 
depend on safe, reliable gun manufacturing.
  However, of even more concern to me is the possibility that if we 
continue to allow municipalities across our country to file these suits 
against lawful gun manufacturers, we risk restricting freedoms of 
something very dear to me, and that is rural America where the use of 
firearms is a very important and integral part of our life-style and 
our livelihoods. Rather than acting as a deterrent, as many of the 
opponents of this legislation consider irresponsible, lawsuits such as 
these will take money away from beneficial programs and safety 
programs.
  The firearms industry has committed millions of dollars to the safe, 
legal and responsible sale and use of their product. Millions of 
dollars are spent each year by this industry to promote numerous 
preventive safety designs and educational programs that promote safe 
handling of firearms. I would hate to see the funding for these 
programs wasted, defending these needless lawsuits that in all 
probability will be thrown out and dismissed in our Nation's court 
systems.
  In response to these attacks on our Nation's firearms industry, many 
States, including Louisiana, have enacted laws. I urge Members to go 
along with 31 of the other States that have presented laws that have 
thrown out these lawsuits and urge support of H.R. 1036.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Scott).
  (Mr. SCOTT of Virginia asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, the bill has a number of 
technical problems which we have already heard discussed, including one 
for which I will have an amendment later in the debate. But the point I 
want to make here is, on page 3 of the bill, under findings, the 
findings have as the number one finding, citizens have a right 
protected by the second amendment to the United States Constitution to 
keep and bear arms.
  It is interesting that the word is ``citizens,'' plural, not an 
individual has a right. Just so there is no confusion, I think it is 
important to get the record straight on what the second amendment says, 
particularly in light of the fact that the supporters of the bill on 
numerous occasions in committee hearings have been unable to cite a 
single final judgment which supports the idea that an individual has 
the right to bear arms under the second amendment.
  This goes back to the United States v. Miller case in 1939, where the 
court held that for the proposition, in the beginning of the second 
amendment, mentioning well-regulated militia. It says that the 
possession of a weapon must be reasonably related to a well-regulated 
militia. The circuit courts have ruled on this.
  The First Circuit held that the second amendment applies only to 
firearms having a ``reasonable relationship to the preservation or 
efficiency of a well-regulated militia.'' That is a 1939 case.
  In 1996, in the Third Circuit, defendant's possession of machine guns 
did not have a connection with militia-related activity required for 
second amendment protections to apply.
  The Fourth Circuit, a 1995 case, stated that courts have consistently 
held that the second amendment only confers a collective right of 
keeping and bearing arms which bear a reasonable relationship to the 
preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.
  The Sixth Circuit, in 2000, held that the lower courts have uniformly 
held that the second amendment preserves a collective rather than an 
individual right.

[[Page H2973]]

  The Seventh Circuit, the second amendment establishes no right to 
possess a firearm apart from the role possession of the gun might play 
in maintaining a State militia. That is a 1999 case.
  The Eighth Circuit stated that the purpose of the second amendment is 
to restrain the Federal Government from regulating the possession of 
arms where such regulation would interfere with the preservation or 
efficiency of the militia. That is a 1992 case.
  The Ninth Circuit in 2002 stated that it is this collective rights 
model which provides the best interpretation of the second amendment.
  The Tenth Circuit, a 1977 case, to apply the amendment so as to 
guarantee an appellant's right to keep an unregistered firearm which 
has not been shown to have any connection with the militia, merely 
because he is technically a member of the Kansas militia, would be 
unjustifiable in terms of either logic or policy.
  The Eleventh Circuit, a 1997 case concerning motivating the creation 
of the second amendment, convinces us that the amendment was intended 
to protect only the use or protection of weapons reasonably related to 
a militia actively maintained and trained by the States.
  I want the Record to reflect, in case someone has read the second 
amendment, that our record is replete with what the second amendment 
means.

                    [From the Legal Action Project]

 A Sampling of Court Decisions that Support the Militia Interpretation 
                        of the Second Amendment


                           u.s. supreme court

       U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939).
       Lewis v. United States, 445 U.S. 55 (1980).


                         u.s. courts of appeals

       U.S. v. Wright, 117 F.3d 1265 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 
     522 U.S. 1007 (1997).
       U.S. v. Baer, 235 F.2d 561 (10th Cir. 2000)
       U.S. v. Oakes, 564 F.2d 384 (10th Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 
     435 U.S. 926 (1978).
       U.S. v. Swinton, 521 F.2d 1255 (10th Cir. 1975), cert. 
     denied, 424 U.S. 918 (1976).
       U.S. v. Hancock, 231 F.3d 557 (9th Cir. 2000), cert. 
     denied, 121 S. Ct. 1641 (2001).
       U.S. v. Finitz, 234 F.3d 1278 (9th Cir. 2000), cert. 
     denied, 121 S. Ct. 833 (2001).
       Hickman v. Block, 81 F.3d 98 (9th Cir.), Cert. denied, 519 
     U.S. 912 (1996).
       U.S. v. Lewis, 236 F.3d 948 (8th Cir. 2001).
       U.S. v. Farrell, 69 F.3d 891 (8th Cir. 1995).
       U.S. v. Hale, 978 F.2d 1016 (8th Cir.), Cert. denied, 507 
     U.S. 997 (1993).
       U.S. v. Nelson, 859 F.2d 1318 (8th Cir. 1988).
       Cody v. U.S., 460 F.2d 164 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 409 
     U.S. 1010 (1972).
       U.S. v. Decker, 446 F.2d 164 (8th Cir. 1971).
       U.S. v. Synnes, 438 F.2d 764 (8th Cir. 1971), vacated on 
     other grounds, 404 U.S. 1009 (1972).
       Gillespie v. City of Indianapolis, 185 F.3d 693 (7th Cir. 
     1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1116 (2000).
       Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove, 695 F.2d 261 (7th Cir. 
     1982), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 863 (1983).
       U.S. v. McCutcheon, 446 F.2d 133 (7th Cir. 1971).
       U.S. v. Napier, 233 F.3d 394 (6th Cir. 2000).
       U.S. v. Warin, 530 F.2d 103 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 426 
     U.S. 948 (1976).
       U.S. v. Day, 476 F.2d 562 (6th Cir. 1973).
       Stevens v. U.S., 440 F.2d 144 (6th Cir. 1971).
       U.S. v. Johnson, Jr., 441 F.2d 1134 (5th Cir. 1971).
       Love v. Pepersack, 47 F.3d 120 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 
     516 U.S. 813 (1995).
       U.S. v. Johnson, 497 F.2d 548 (4th Cir. 1974).
       U.S. v. Rybar, 103 F.3d 273 (3rd Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 
     522 U.S. 807 (1997).
       U.S. v. Graves, 554 F.2d 65 (3rd Cir. 1977).
       Eckert v. City of Philadelphia, 477 F.2d 610 (3rd Cir.), 
     cert. denied, 414 U.S. 839 (1973).
       U.S. v. Tot, 131 F.2d 261 (3rd Cir. 1942), rev'd on other 
     grounds, 319 U.S. 463 (1943).
       U.S. v. Toner, 728 F.2d 115 (2d Cir. 1984).
       U.S. v. Friel, 1 F.3d 1231 (1st Cir. 1993).
       Thomas v. City Council of Portland, 730 F.2d 41 (1st Cir. 
     1984).
       U.S. v. Cases, 131 F.2d 916 (1st Cir. 1942), cert. denied 
     sub nom.
       Velaquez v. U.S., 319 U.S. 770 (1943).


                      u.s. federal district courts

       Golt v. City of Signal Hall, 132 F. Supp. 2d 1271 (C.D. 
     Cal. 2001).
       Olympic Arms v. Magaw, 91 F. Supp. 2d 1061 (E.D. Mich. 
     2000).
       U.S. v. Willbern, 2000 WL 554134 (D. Kan. Apr. 12, 2000).
       U.S. v. Bournes, 105 F. Supp. 2d 736 (E.D. Mich. 2000).
       U.S. v. Boyd, 52 F. Supp. 2d 1233 (D. Kan. 1999), aff'd, 
     211 F.3d 1279 (10th Cir. 2000).
       U.S. v. Henson, 55 F. Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. W. Va. 1999).
       U.S. v. Visnich, 65 F. Supp. 2d 669 (N.D. Ohio 1999).
       U.S. v. Caron, 941 F. Supp. 2d 238 (D. Mass. 1996).
       Mascowitz v. Brown, 850 F. Supp. 1185 (S.D.N.Y. 1994).
       U.S. v. Kruckel, 1993 WL 765648 (D.N.J. Aug. 13, 1993).
       Krisko v. Oswald, 655 F. Supp. 147 (E.D. Pa. 1987).
       U.S. v. Kozerski, 518 F. Supp. 1082 (D.N.H. 1981), cert. 
     denied, 496 U.S. 842 (1984).
       Vietmanese Fishermen's Association v. KKK, 543 F. Supp. 198 
     (S.D. Tex. 1982).
       Thompson v. Dereta, 549 F. Supp. 297 (D. Utah 1982).
       U.S. v. Kraase, 340 F. Supp. 147 (E.D. Wis. 1972).
       U.S. v. Gross, 313 F. Supp. 1330. (S.D. Ind. 1970), aff'd 
     on other grounds, 451 F.2d 1355 (7th Cir. 1971).


                              state courts

       Arnold v. Cleveland, 616 N.E.2d 163 (Ohio 1993).
       State v. Fennell, 382 S.E.2d 231 (N.C. 1989).
       U.S. v. Sandidge, 520 A.2d 1057 (D.C.), cert. denied, 108 
     S. Ct. 193 (1987).
       Kalodimos v. Village of Morton Grove, 470 N.E.2d 266 (III. 
     1984).
       Masters v. State, 653 S.W.2d 944 (Tex.App. 1983).
       City of East Cleveland v. Scales, 460 N.E.2d 1126 (Ohio 
     App. 1983).
       State v. Vlacil, 645 P.2d 677 (Utah 1982).
       In Re Atkinson, 291 N.W.2d 396 (Minn. 1980).
       State v. Rupp, 282 N.W.2d 125 (Iowa 1979).
       Commonwealth v. Davis, 343 N.E.2d 847 (Mass. 1976).
       Burton v. Sills, 248 A.2d 521 (N.J. 1968), appeal 
     dismissed, 394 U.S. 812 (1969).
       Harris v. State, 432 P.2d 929 (Nev. 1967).
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman 
from Michigan (Mrs. Miller).

                              {time}  1215

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman 
yielding me this time.
  Mr. Chairman, our Nation's Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, 
guaranteed the people of America the fundamental right to keep and to 
bear arms in the second amendment of our Constitution. This right 
allows Americans to keep and own firearms for the protection of 
themselves, their families, and their property. This right has helped 
to guarantee freedom for every American citizen for over 214 years. 
Unfortunately, there are many people in our Nation who will do anything 
to destroy this freedom; and as a Member of Congress, I am fighting to 
uphold this basic right.
  Opponents of the second amendment have tried for years to pass laws 
to restrict the people's access to firearms. In that effort they have 
been successful in making the firearms industry one of the most 
regulated industries in America, but that is not enough for the 
antifirearm fanatics. Now they are attempting to sue domestic 
manufacturers of firearms with the express purpose of putting them out 
of business; and if these efforts are successful, not only would it 
destroy jobs and companies that produce a product that the Constitution 
itself protects our citizens' right to own, they would do serious 
damage to our homeland and our national security.
  Currently there are lawsuits attempting to punish companies that make 
firearms because of the actions of criminals. These lawsuits threaten 
the viability of these firms; and if successful, they would not keep 
firearms out of the hands of criminals, but they would potentially keep 
them out of the hands of those who protect our freedom. Take, for 
instance, the Colt Company, which is the target of one of these 
lawsuits. This company not only produces small arms, but it is also the 
sole provider of the M-16 rifle that is being used so ably by our 
troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom and by our soldiers fighting the war 
on terror worldwide. If this company is destroyed, where will our 
soldiers get the arms that they need to protect our freedoms? From 
France? From Germany?
  What about the Beretta USA Company, another target of these lawsuits? 
This company supplies the standard sidearm for all branches of the 
Armed Forces and provides firearms to countless law enforcement 
agencies across our Nation. If this company is destroyed, where will 
soldiers and law enforcement officers get the arms to protect our 
freedom and to keep our streets safe?
  Take the Sig Arms Company, another target of these lawsuits. This 
company makes a sidearm of choice carried by the men and women who 
protect the President of the United States, as well as the official 
sidearm of the Navy SEALS.
  The aim of such suits is clear, to destroy our American firearms 
industry, in a blatant attempt to deny law-abiding citizens access to 
firearms and to stop them from exercising their constitutional right to 
keep and to bear arms. Not only are the rights of American citizens at 
stake but so is our national security. The men and women in

[[Page H2974]]

the armed services and the men and women in law enforcement need to 
have the best possible firearms to protect our freedom, to defeat 
terrorists, and to safeguard our streets. We must protect freedom. I 
urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt).
  Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Chairman, I am genuinely concerned about our 
justice system in this country, both civilly and criminally. This bill 
is but the latest in a series of assaults by this Congress on the right 
of the people to apply to the courts to seek redress for their 
grievances. And it is also but the latest in a series of assaults on 
the right of the States to provide remedies under the law for the 
wrongs done to their citizens. If we continue, Mr. Chairman, we will 
have a justice system that is available only for business litigation. 
That is the direction in which we are going.
  What situation, what emergency would have prompted the sponsors of 
this bill to deny victims their remedies? According to the findings in 
this bill, the emergency is ``lawsuits have been commenced'' against 
the gun industry. I am not kidding. The reason given is that lawsuits 
have been commenced. One wonders what other industry would have the 
clout, let alone the audacity, to come to Congress and seek blanket 
immunity from the consequences of their misbehavior because lawsuits 
have been commenced against it.
  Lawsuits are commenced every day. Most of them never reach a jury. 
Sure enough, when I asked the industry witness how many of these 
lawsuits had actually resulted in a jury verdict awarding damages 
against the industry, he could come up with only one case in which a 
verdict had been returned, one case; and then it turned out upon 
further questioning that even that one award had been reversed on 
appeal. The truth is that this legislation will continue to erode our 
justice system as well as the 10th amendment. I cannot believe that 
this body continues to allow the rights of the individual States to be 
encroached on by the Federal Government. Whatever happened to 
devolution? Whatever happened to the 10th amendment?
  The State courts have been doing their job well. There has been no 
rash of questionable verdicts, no epidemic of excessive jury awards. In 
fact, the proponents have been unable to point to a single final 
judgment in any court in this country that supports the rationale for 
this legislation, not one. So, please, let us hear no more about 
lawsuits that have been commenced. Let them ask for immunity when the 
courts actually start holding them accountable for their negligence. 
That is when the proponents of this bill should come back to this 
Congress.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Boehlert), the chairman of the Committee on Science.
  (Mr. BOEHLERT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1036, 
the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The purpose and intent 
of this bill are simple. Legal manufacturers of legal products that are 
sold legally and purchased legally and used legally should not be held 
liable for the subsequent illegal misuse of their products somewhere 
far down the chain. Our Nation's firearm manufacturers have been 
providing high-paying, stable jobs for generations and have become part 
of the American tradition. They are supplying our Nation's hunters and 
target shooters and other sports enthusiasts with quality products 
which, once again, are legally manufactured, legally sold, legally 
purchased, and legally used for legal activities.
  My district is home to three such manufacturers, Remington Arms, the 
Ithaca Gun Company and Dan Wesson Firearms. Founded in 1816, Remington 
Arms has been a faithful supplier of quality firearms to this country 
in times of conflict and war and has been a leader in the commercial 
market for sporting arms and ammunition and accessories. For over 187 
years, the company has set the standard for safe and responsible use of 
firearms.
  The Ithaca Gun Company was founded in 1880, and it too has a proud 
and rich history. Today with the fast pace and rush-rush mode that is 
evident in just about everything, it is refreshing to know that every 
Ithaca gun is still finished and assembled in the same way as it was 
over 100 years ago, by the hands of a skilled Ithaca gun maker.
  Dan Wesson Firearms, located in Norwich, New York was founded back in 
1968 by the great grandson of D.B. Wesson, co-founder of Smith & 
Wesson. They too place an enormous amount of skill and craftsmanship 
into each firearm they manufacture.
  Remington Arms, Ithaca Gun Company and Dan Wesson Firearms are three 
classic examples of responsible American companies that take pride in 
producing quality products while at the same time employing thousands 
of American men and women, and I am proud to have them located in my 
district.
  It is time we put a stop to frivolous lawsuits against our Nation's 
responsible gun manufacturers. Those frivolous lawsuits not only cost 
manufacturers dearly in terms of what should be unnecessary legal 
costs, but they also cost America's sportsmen dearly in terms of the 
added charge which has to be built into the price of every firearm for 
those same unnecessary legal costs.
  Support our responsible firearm manufacturers and our honest law-
abiding sportsmen, and join me in support of this measure.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New 
Jersey (Mr. Pascrell).
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chairman, to the gentlewoman from Michigan, I need 
to respond because no one is suggesting in this body today that we 
change the right to bear arms, and to suggest that those who oppose 
this legislation are aiding criminals and terrorists and hurting our 
Armed Forces and uniformed law enforcement is incredible pap. That is 
what it is; and as a vet, I resent it.
  Those who profit from the sale of guns have the ultimate 
responsibility to safeguard the American public by ensuring that their 
weapons do not get into the wrong hands, but we all know that this is 
often not the case. We have all heard on far too many occasions stories 
of dealer negligence that results in tragic consequences.
  Take the case of David Lemongello. David is a graduate of Bloomfield 
High School in my district, had his career as a police detective, his 
lifelong dream, cut short from the injuries he sustained at the hands 
of a career criminal with a gun. And where did the gun that shot David 
three times come from? How did a criminal get his hands on the gun that 
ended David's career? It was thanks in large part to an irresponsible 
gun dealer. The criminal got it from a gun trafficker who bought it 
along with 11 other handguns from a West Virginia gun dealer.
  Do my colleagues not think that if someone comes into a gun shop with 
thousands of dollars and purchases a dozen handguns that an automatic 
red flag should go up? Do my colleagues not think that there should be 
some accountability when gun dealers do not take even the minimum 
amount of oversight? Is there anyone here willing to tell David 
Lemongello to his face that he does not have the right to hold this 
irresponsible gun dealer accountable for the pain and the anguish he 
has suffered? Who here will tell David Lemongello that he does not 
deserve his day in court?
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Iowa (Mr. King).
  Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me 
this time.
  I rise in support of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. 
If I had listened to the opposition on this and we had followed that 
path of logic, then auto dealers would be next. Lawful commerce in 
anything, where there are far more accidents and far more injuries with 
automobiles, I cannot disconnect the logic between the lawful 
manufacturers of firearms. But the goal of this reckless law is to 
financially destroy the firearms industry by filing countless meritless 
lawsuits. These suits are based on the absurd legal theory that gun 
manufacturers and dealers should be held responsible for the acts of 
violent criminals who use safe, nondefective firearms to commit violent 
crimes.

[[Page H2975]]

  Although losses in court continue to mount for lawyers who bring 
these baseless suits, the firearms industry is still saddled with the 
cost of defending them in court. We should be outraged that certain 
lawyers and gun-ban advocates feel that they can circumvent the 
legislative process by moving their anti-second amendment efforts into 
the courts.
  I am a stalwart defender of our second amendment freedoms. They are 
guaranteed to us by the Constitution, and I oppose any attempt to water 
down the principles embodied in the second amendment. The first and 
most important reason for the second amendment as intended by our 
Founding Fathers was to provide a deterrent for tyrants.

                              {time}  1230

  The right to keep and bear arms was meant to ensure that citizens can 
defend our democratic republic from despots and those who seek to take 
away our rights and free society.
  Today, lawsuits against the firearms industry threaten to drive it 
out of business. These businesses are vital to our national interest. 
They supply our troops with weapons that they use in the war in Iraq. 
Our homeland law enforcement officers also need the weapons 
manufactured by these companies to defend us against terror and protect 
our homeland. If we allow frivolous lawsuits to bankrupt the industry, 
we are only hurting ourselves, both at home and abroad.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Emanuel).
  (Mr. EMANUEL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. EMANUEL. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 1036, 
the Gun Manufacturer's Liability Reform Act. Shielding gun makers, 
dealers and distributors from liability and dismissing all pending 
lawsuits is the most egregious form of corporate welfare I have yet to 
see. This is special treatment for a special interest. The gun industry 
would become the envy of every industry. It is a back-handed insult to 
tens of thousands of victims of gun violence each year.
  Let us apply the Firestone tire test. We should all agree that those 
who have been in accidents caused by Firestone tires have the right to 
their day in court. If Firestone had provisions similar to H.R. 1036, 
Americans whose families were either killed or injured would lose their 
right and there would be no recourse.
  On July 3, 1999, 43-year-old Ricky Byrdsong, basketball coach for 
Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, was out walking with his 
children. During his walk, he was shot and killed with a gun which was 
illegally purchased from a dealer who probably should have known better 
than to sell the weapon.
  The family of Ricky Byrdsong, the coach, is currently suing. This 
bill on this floor today would automatically dismiss that suit without 
so much as a trial. I do not know if the dealer is liable in this case, 
but that is not my decision to decide, nor is it the people of this 
body's decision to decide.
  Mr. Chairman, this bill denies Americans one of their most basic 
rights. I understand that the issue of gun violence is a contentious 
one, but I think we can all agree that this body should work to protect 
our citizens, not the Washington gun lobby. This is special protection 
for a very special interest.
  This is a bad bill, which sets a dangerous precedent, and I strongly 
urge my colleagues on both sides, people of good values and good 
principles, to vote against this legislation.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Rhode 
Island (Mr. Langevin).
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me 
time.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 1036. By 
protecting an industry from liability, we eliminate a major incentive 
for it to operate in a safer way, and ultimately we make people and 
corporations less accountable for questionable manufacturing and sales 
practices.
  As an individual who was paralyzed at the age of 16 when a police 
officer's gun accidentally discharged and severed my spinal cord, I 
know how a person's life may be changed by gun violence or accidents.
  Our society frequently witnesses the needless misfortunes that can 
take place due to firearm mishandling, and we should strive to make our 
society safer. Yet this bill would move us away from that goal. Too 
many people who suffer from gun violence and accidents are victims of 
an industry that fights every effort to improve the safety of its 
products, including the installation of chamber load indicators and 
trigger locks, features that could have changed the course of my life.
  They are victims of dealers who look the other way as their wares are 
used for criminal activity, and gun control laws that are not 
sufficiently enforced. Supporters of the bill claim that it has 
exemptions to permit lawsuits in the case of clear knowledge of 
criminal activity or negligence. But they will not mention that the 
exemptions are so narrowly worded that they are meaningless.
  They also make intriguing parallels about how the gun industry is 
currently being held to a higher standard than other industries, while 
not recognizing the exemptions from Federal consumer safety laws that 
the gun industry enjoys.
  I am deeply disappointed that this measure will not do a single thing 
to prevent gun violence or accidents in the United States. However, I 
am even more disturbed that it may exacerbate our existing problem.
  Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge my colleagues to vote against H.R. 
1036, so that we can demonstrate our commitment to a safer America.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer).
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy 
in permitting me to speak on this.
  It is unfortunate that people are willing to accept the astoundingly 
high rate of gun violence in this country. Every Member of this Chamber 
knows people who have been touched by needless gun violence, and we are 
set to accept more damage unless and until we are willing to accept 
common-sense steps to reduce gun violence that will save lives. The 
step that my colleague from Rhode Island just mentioned will not 
interfere with anybody's right to hunt, will not interfere with the 
manufacture; it simply extends the simple common-sense consumer 
protection that we accept for toy guns to real guns. It is not rocket 
science, it is not a lack of compassion, it is just simply doing the 
right thing.
  I believe we will live to see the day when we stop the dark side of 
gun trafficking in this country, when we extend simple common-sense 
consumer protections, when we have the courage in this Chamber to fund 
adequate enforcement of the gun laws that we have. But, until that day 
comes, for God's sake, do not make the situation worse.
  Extending protections to the gun industry, unnecessary protections, 
alone, is not going to move us forward. It is a step backward. It 
reinforces the notion that we are powerless, that all we have to do is 
pander to the people who make a career out of twisting the second 
amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge that we reject this proposal today and 
avoid the shameful record that we have with unnecessary gun laws that 
lose lives and shatter families.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Chairman, I thank all Members who have participated in the 
debate. I would just reemphasize the five points that I made at the 
outset of this debate.
  This legislation is extreme. It is unprecedented because it will give 
gun manufacturers, sellers and dealers immunity that no other industry 
has in America. It is not well thought out, because it has not gone 
through the process in a proper way and had amendments put on it. It is 
unconstitutional. Finally, it is politically motivated.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to vote against this legislation.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. Chairman, the proponents of this bill have stated time and time 
again that courts have determined that those who file lawsuits against 
the firearms industry are doing so because they want to bankrupt the 
industry. They want to bankrupt the industry through

[[Page H2976]]

legal fees, and even though they might not win their cases in court, 
there is no reimbursement for the defense costs that have to be run up 
once a lawsuit is filed.
  Now, anybody who uses a firearm for illegal purposes, we should throw 
the book at. I certainly support what has gone on in Richmond in 
Project Exile, and I hope we can give the Justice Department enough 
money to extend Project Exile nationwide. I also strongly support the 
InstaCheck system that is designed to keep firearms out of the hands of 
people who have not been lawfully able to possess those firearms for 
over 70 years, convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents and 
some other people.
  But we should not use the judicial process to bankrupt an industry 
that produces a legal product. If you do not like the product, 
introduce a bill here to make it illegal. I will vote against it, but 
at least you can deal with that directly through the democratic 
process, rather than going through the back door and trying to get the 
courts to do what legislatures and the Congress have failed to do.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Illinois. Mr. Chairman, I would like to express my 
strong opposition to the words used by Congresswoman Cubin in reference 
to an amendment to H.R. 1036 offered by Congressman Watt. While her 
comments were within the parliamentary rules of the House of 
Representatives, they were clearly improper and offensive, and had at 
least the appearance of racial basis. I appreciate Congresswoman 
Cubin's subsequent apology, and her statement that her words were 
incomplete and misinterpreted, but I unequivocally denounce the 
original statement, and it is my sincere hope that it is not 
interpreted as indicative of the views and sentiments of this 
distinguished body.
  Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 1036, 
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
  The sole intent of this bill is to divert the responsibility of gun 
manufacturers in ensuring the safe distribution of firearms in our 
society. Passage of this legislation would cripple the public's ability 
to seek justice in instances of negligence by these manufacturers.
  Why are we exempting the gun industry from liability provisions that 
we apply to other manufacturers, even the makers of toy guns?
  It is in the timing of this bill that the true intent of the Majority 
becomes evident. This bill was conveniently taken off the schedule 
during the sniper shootings in the Washington metropolitan area last 
fall, but now been brought back just in time for the NRA's annual 
conference.
  Every step must be taken to keep these deadly weapons out of criminal 
hands. We must look past the interests of lobbyists and look deeply at 
the interests of the American public. If gun manufacturers and dealers 
are involved with the illegal and irresponsible sales of firearms, then 
it is essential that those who violate the law are held responsible.
  A study conducted by The Department of Justice revealed that 12.7 
percent of students age 12 to 19 reported knowing a student who brought 
a firearm to school. This statistic speaks directly to the need for 
providing additional safeguards to keep firearms away from children.
  We should not be taking up legislation that prevents gun 
manufacturers from being held accountable. Instead, we should be voting 
on legislation that will help to prevent gun violence from even 
occurring.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation.
  Mr. TOWNS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to H.R. 1036. If this 
bill were to become public law, the gun industry would be granted more 
liability protection than any other industry in America. I must say 
that I've heard of throwing bones to constituency bases before, but I 
might define this as the 96 ounce Peter Lugar's Porterhouse with all 
the sides included.
  The gun industry dumps thousands and thousands of guns onto the 
streets in municipalities like New York and has never been held 
responsible for their irresponsible actions. This bill would make it 
impossible to hold the industry accountable for their actions.
  H.R. 1036 would also prohibit future lawsuits and dismiss current 
liability lawsuits underway against the gun industry. I am particularly 
concerned about the timing of this bill given the lawsuit filed by the 
NAACP against the gun industry, which is currently taking place in U.S. 
District court in Brooklyn. This bill would prohibit that suit from 
going forward.
  Instead of dealing with the real problems that are confronting us 
such as job security or a prescription drug bill for seniors, the 
Republican leadership rushed this bill to the House floor before the 
NRA convention begins in a couple of weeks. This bill should be 
defeated.
  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I will vote against this bill, 
because I do not see why it is necessary or desirable for Congress to 
act now to restrict just one kind of lawsuit, against just one kind of 
manufacturer.
  My reluctance to support such legislation is increased when it not 
just prospective, but would require the immediate dismissal of cases 
that are now being considered by the courts.
  I am not a lawyer, and it seems to me that the courts are in a much 
better position than I am to decide whether the people bringing these 
lawsuits have valid claims or whether the complaints are frivolous.
  It happens that this bill deals with lawsuits against firearms 
manufacturers. But my concerns would be the same if the bill dealt with 
similar lawsuits against the makers of other consumer products--for 
example, automobiles, electronic appliances, or toys.
  During the debate, some of the bill's supporters have argued that 
firearms manufacturers are different because there is a Constitutional 
right to keep and bear arms. But the freedom of the press is also 
protected by the Constitution--yet I have not heard anyone say that 
Congress has to cut off lawsuits against the makers of printing presses 
or television cameras in order to sustain that right.
  And, if the lawsuits covered by the bill are contrary to the 
Constitution, I am confident that the judges--who are sworn to uphold 
the Constitution--will dismiss them.
  There is no doubt lawsuits can be costly, and I am not in favor of 
frivolous lawsuits. But, based on what I know now, I think we in the 
Congress should leave it to the courts to decide which of the lawsuits 
covered by this bill are frivolous and which are not.
  Therefore, I cannot support this legislation.
  Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 1036. 
This bill is special interest legislation of the worst kind. It would 
grant extensive immunity from liability to gun manufacturers and gun 
dealers.
  Under current law, gun manufacturers and gun dealers must act 
responsibly. Like other businesses and individuals, if they act 
negligently--or if they blatantly disregard the obvious consequences of 
their actions--they may be held liable.
  H.R. 1036 would eviscerate this protection. The bill says to gun 
manufacturers and gun dealers: go ahead and ignore common sense, 
disregard the consequences of your actions, and we will let you off the 
hook. You are no longer responsible for your actions. This special 
exemption will endanger our citizens and almost certainly cost lives.
  Furthermore, this bill is drafted so broad and carelessly that it 
could extend complete immunity from liability to gun dealers--even if 
they sell weapons to suspected terrorists.
  To resolve that ambiguity, I offered an amendment in the Rules 
Committee to ensure that gun dealers are held accountable when they 
sell weapons to people they know or suspect are members of terrorist 
organizations, or people they know are likely to supply these weapons 
to terrorist organizations.
  But the Rules Committee refused to allow debate on my amendment. This 
is simply inexplicable. My amendment would clarify that gun dealers who 
sell to terrorists are not shielded from liability. Are we so captured 
by the gun industry that we want to immunize the industry from 
liability even when terrorists are involved?
  There is an exemption in the bill that would hold dealers liable if 
they know or should have known that a buyer would use the weapons to 
injure himself or others. But what about the more dangerous prospect of 
a suspicious buyer who is acquiring the weapons to give to someone else 
in his terrorist organization.
  These is an exemption in the bill to preserve civil liability if the 
dealer is convicted of ``knowingly'' assisting the commission of a 
violent act. But what about a gun dealer that has a strong suspicion--
not definite knowledge--that the weapon is going to end up in the hands 
of a terrorist organization.
  This is precisely the difference between criminal conduct and civil 
negligence. Our civil liability laws require that people act 
reasonably, even if there is no criminal penalty. And this is exactly 
the protection this bill would eliminate.
  We are in a war against terrorism. The last thing we should do is 
immunize gun dealers who traffic with suspected terrorists. Yet that is 
just what this bill does. It is dangerously shortsighted that the Rules 
Committee blatantly ignored an opportunity to fix it.
  Civil liability should be determined based on a comprehensive review 
of all the relevant circumstances. But there should be no impregnable 
shield to liability, because that only encourages careless and reckless 
behavior. This is wrong, and it is dangerous. That's why this bill must 
be defeated.
  Mr. OTTER. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to address H.R. 1036, the 
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. In light of the concerted 
efforts by opponents of the Second Amendment to destroy the gun 
industry through frivolous lawsuits, it has become imperative we 
provide manufacturers and sellers

[[Page H2977]]

of firearms and ammunition protection from these attacks. I find the 
idea of holding an industry liable for the criminal misuse of their 
legal products deplorable. Our nation cannot allow the innocent to pay 
for the dealings of the guilty, or we serve to circumvent the very 
foundation of the rule of law. Those individuals, not the makers of the 
means, who commit violent crimes, with or without the use of a firearm, 
must take personal responsibility for their actions through the 
restitution and civil penalties affirmed by law.
  Without this legislation, further unfounded lawsuits against the gun 
industry will lead to an encroachment upon our second amendment rights. 
Congress must work diligently to reduce the level of political rhetoric 
surrounding gun control, protect the Second Amendment, and promote the 
role of personal responsibility in society.
  Mr. STARK. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong opposition to this 
outrageously irresponsible legislation put forth by the Republican 
Majority. Giving gun makers, gun dealers, and gun sellers total 
immunity from product liability doesn't make our streets safer of our 
neighborhoods any more secure.
  The manner in which this bill finds its way to the floor deserves 
some attention. It is my understanding that the Judiciary Committee 
Majority developed this legislation in secret, bypassed the 
subcommittee and prevented the Minority in Full Committee to make any 
amendments to it--a trend all too familiar.
  In the 107th Congress, similar gun liability legislation was 
introduced, made its way to the House calendar, but didn't get far. The 
media's focus of the sniper attacks in Washington, DC provoked an 
outcry of horror as the country watched the violence of guns first-
hand. Ironically, that atrocious bill was put on the back burner. It 
would have illuminated the legislation for what it was, autonomy from 
product liability for the gun lobby.
  So, here we are today to debate the issue in less traumatic times, 
but the fact remains that this legislation has not changed--it is 
reckless, pro gun political banter.
  Proponents will tout fallacies that H.R. 1036 is considered necessary 
to weed out frivolous lawsuits, and that this legislation will not 
outlaw lawsuits brought by injured private citizens. Instead, they say, 
it would simply prevent the gun industry from being held legally 
responsible because a criminal misused a gun. In fact, these 
allegations couldn't be farther from the truth. This bill will immunize 
the gun industry from most lawsuits brought by anyone--including 
private citizens and government entities.
  Manufacturers for every other consumer product in this country must 
adhere to strict regulations on product liability. However, my 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle believe the gun industry 
should be exempt from criminal and negligent acts.
  Conveniently, this bill is being debated just weeks before the 
National Rifle Association holds its annual meeting. That assures that 
House Republicans can show up at their conference having passed a 
priority bill for a huge campaign supporter.
  I have been a long time supporter of stricter laws regulating guns in 
our nation. I also oppose any individual or entity being granted 
blanket immunity from product liability. I urge my colleagues to vote 
against this bill that both weakens our gun laws and removes gun 
manufacturers from liability when their products are used to kill.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I oppose H.R. 1036, The 
Protection of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act.
  H.R. 1036 is nothing more than special interest legislation that 
grants the gun industry legal immunity from the vast majority of civil 
lawsuits. The bill generally prohibits any action ``brought by any 
person against a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product, or a 
trade association, for damages resulting from the criminal or unlawful 
misuse of a qualified product by the person or a third party.''
  This is a drastic departure from established principles of liability 
law, which generally hold that persons and companies may be held liable 
for the foreseeable consequences of their negligent or wrongful acts, 
including the foreseeable criminal conduct of others. H.R. 1036 will 
bar suits against not only gun manufacturers, but also dealers, 
distributors, and trade associations.
  If H.R. 1036 is passed, the well-accepted legal principle that gun 
manufacturers are liable for failing to include feasible safety devices 
that prevent injuries caused by foreseeable use or misuse of their 
products will be wiped out. Likewise, there will be no legal liability 
for dealers who have negligently sold numerous guns to gun traffickers.
  This legislation goes beyond simply holding the gun industry liable 
because a criminal misuses a gun. This legislation would make the gun 
industry immune from suits for negligent sales and defective designs. 
H.R. 1036 immunizes the gun industry from civil lawsuits by both 
government entities and individual citizens, both of whom would lose 
their legal rights to civil damages. This could have a profound impact 
on the victims of gun violence.
  At a minimum, the victims of gun violence have the right to have 
their day in court. It is ludicrous to deny the families of persons 
killed by negligently or recklessly manufactured or sold guns the right 
to seek justice in courts of law. H.R. 1036 not only deprives gun 
violence victims of the chance to bring future lawsuits, it dismisses 
all qualified pending civil lawsuits against the gun industry in both 
federal and state courts.
  In my home state of Texas, for example, the family of murder victim 
Raymond Lamb Payne will have their case against a pawn shop called EZ 
Pawn dismissed. In that case, Raymond Lamb Payne was shot and killed by 
David Lee Williams. David Lee Williams had been committed to a mental 
institution and was by law not permitted to purchase a gun. David Lee 
Williams' brother warned EZ Pawn that David Lee Williams had mental 
illness, and had threatened to kill people. Despite the warning EZ Pawn 
negligently sold David Lee Williams a gun. Five days later that same 
gun was used to murder Raymond Lamb Payne. Under H.R. 1036, EZ Pawn 
will be immune from liability and the family of Raymond Lamb Payne will 
have their pending case dismissed.
  The gun industry is one of only two industries, along with the 
tobacco industry, that is exempt from federal safety oversight. 
Lawsuits are an important tool, the only tool, available to motivate 
the gun industry to act responsibly, and to engage in reforms that make 
guns and gun sales safer. Lawsuits against the gun industry are not 
frivolous, as gun proponents claim. That is clear from the fact that 
many lawsuits against the gun industry have been successful in court.
  If passed without substantial amendment, H.R. 1036 will deny justice 
to America's gun violence victims. It will grant unfettered power to 
gun manufacturers to produce unsafe guns. It will enable gun merchants 
to negligently and recklessly sell their guns to criminals.
  I oppose H.R. 1036 as it is presently drafted, and support the 
Amendments offered by my colleagues.
  Mr. VITTER. Mr. Chairman, today I rise in strong support of H.R. 
1036, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
  This bill protects licensed manufacturers and sellers of firearms or 
ammunition from lawsuits based on criminal use by a third party. It's 
patently absurd--and bad legal theory as well--to allow these sorts of 
lawsuits to move forward. This legislation today is an important step 
in stopping it.
  Just as importantly, these lawsuits seriously threaten the Second 
Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. Time and again those who 
would curtail firearm rights enshrined in our Constitution have tried 
to regulate and legislate against our freedoms. The American people 
rightly have opposed and rejected these misguided efforts. Now the same 
folks are trying to use the courts and twist the law into achieving 
their aims. Therefore, this response from Congress is not something 
done to please any special interests other than the American people and 
the Bill of Rights.
  Thirty-one states have laws that prevent these junk lawsuits, and I 
am pleased that my home state of Louisiana is one of them. The Federal 
government should act quickly and I hope that the courts dismiss these 
junk lawsuits as well.
  I commend Congressman Stearns and the Judiciary Committee for their 
hard work in producing this legislation, and I strongly urge my 
colleagues to support this bill.
  Mr. CARSON of Oklahoma. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 1036, 
the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
  As my esteemed colleagues have discussed, H.R. 1036 would prohibit 
civil lawsuits from being brought against gun manufacturers by parties 
that have been injured by the unlawful use of firearms.
  Mr. Chairman, I am a great believer in personal responsibility. It is 
one of the key principles upon which America was founded. The 
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act would strengthen this great 
notion.
  Imposing liability on an entire industry for harm caused solely by 
the unlawful actions of others is an abuse of the United States legal 
system--it undermines public confidence in our judicial system and 
threatens the viability of law-abiding companies.
  Frivolous lawsuits against the firearm industry are nothing more than 
an attack on the Second Amendment. It seems a logical anti-gun tactic 
to me, if you can't lawfully prevent the sale of guns, then you go 
after the people who sell guns and make them afraid to sell their 
lawful products for fear of incurring substantial financial liability. 
Thus far, these frivolous and merit-less lawsuits have had little 
success in court. Their only success is in placing an enormous 
financial burden on gun manufacturers. However, these litigation costs 
are then passed onto consumers and makes it more difficult law-abiding 
citizens to own guns. In the end, the ones who suffer the most are law-
abiding consumers.
  H.R. 1036 would help protect our Second Amendment rights by 
protecting legitimate

[[Page H2978]]

businesses that comply with federal, state and local gun laws. It is 
time to stop these frivolous lawsuits that threaten to bankrupt a 
responsible American industry by blaming the firearm industry for the 
actions of criminals. I urge my colleagues to support the Protection of 
Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I rise today as a firm believer in the second 
amendment to the United States Constitution and an opponent of all 
federal gun laws. In fact, I have introduced legislation, the Second 
Amendment Restoration Act (H.R. 153), which repeals the misguided 
federal gun control laws such as the Brady Bill and the assault weapons 
ban. I believe that the second amendment is one of the foundations of 
our constitutional liberties. However, Mr. Speaker, another foundation 
of those liberties is the oath all of us took to respect the 
Constitutional limits on federal power. While I understand and 
sympathize with the goals of the proponents of the Protection of Lawful 
Commerce in Arms Act (H.R. 1036), this bill exceeds those 
constitutional limitations, and so I must oppose this bill.
  It is long past time for Congress to recognize that not every problem 
requires a federal solution. This country's founders recognized the 
genius of separating power amongst federal, state and local governments 
as a means to maximize individual liberty and make government most 
responsive to those persons who might most responsibly influence it. 
This separation of powers strictly limited the role of the federal 
governments in dealing with civil liability matters; instead, it 
reserved jurisdiction over matters of civil tort, such as gun related 
alleged-negligence suits, to the state legislatures from which their 
respective jurisdictions flow.
  While I am against the federalization of tort reform, I must voice my 
complete disapproval for the nature of these very suits brought against 
gun manufacturers. Lawsuits for monetary damages form gun violence 
should be aimed at the perpetrators of those crimes, not the 
manufacturers! Holding manufacturers liable for harm they could neither 
foresee nor prevent is irresponsible and outlandish. The company that 
makes a properly functioning product in accordance with the law is 
acting lawfully and thus should not be taken to court because of misuse 
by the purchaser (or in many cases, by the one who stole the weapon). I 
fear these lawsuits are motivated not by a concern for justice but by a 
search for deep pockets, since gun manufactures have higher incomes 
than the average criminals, and a fanatical anti-gun political agenda.
  These attacks on gun manufacturers are disturbing, since the gun 
industry provides our law enforcement and military with the necessary 
tools needed to fight crime and defend our country. We should be 
helping our law enforcement officers and military, not hurting them by 
putting reputable gun manufacturers out of business.
  However, Mr. Chairman, the most disturbing aspect of these lawsuits 
is the idea that the gun, an inanimate object, is somehow responsible 
for crimes. H.R. 1036 enables individuals to abrogate responsibility 
for their actions, in that it allows gun dealers to be sued because 
they ``should have known'' the gun would be used in a crime. Under H.R. 
1036, gun dealers will still be unjustly forced to scrutinize their 
customers for criminal intent.
  This further erodes the ethics of individual responsibility for one's 
own actions that must form the basis of a free and moral society. The 
root problem of violence is not the gun in the hand, but the gun in the 
heart: each person is accountable for the deeds that flow out of his or 
her own heart. One can resort to any means available to complete a 
crime (such as knives, fertilizer, pipes, and baseball bats). Should we 
start suing the manufacturers of these products as well because they 
are used in crimes? Of course not--its implications are preposterous.
  Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would remind my fellow supporters of gun 
rights that using unconstitutional federal powers to restrict state gun 
lawsuits makes it more likely those same powers will be used to 
restrict our gun rights. Despite these lawsuits, the number one threat 
to gun ownership remains a federal government freed of its 
constitutional restraints. Expanding that government in any way, no 
matter how just the cause may seem, is not in the interests of gun 
owners or any lovers of liberty.
  In conclusion, while I share the concern over the lawsuits against 
gun manufacturers, which inspired H.R. 1036, this bill continues the 
disturbing trend toward federalization of tort law. Enhancing the power 
of the federal government is not in the long-term interests of 
defenders of the second amendment and other constitutional liberties. 
Therefore, I must oppose this bill.
  Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Mr. Chairman, if there were previously 
any doubt about the importance of a vibrant and vigorous firearms 
industry in the United States, that doubt must surely have dissipated 
in the months since Sept. 11, 2001.
  Since that fateful day, American military personnel have been engaged 
in operations overseas, against those who seek and plot our 
destruction.
  At this moment, a quarter of a million of our soldiers, sailors, 
airmen and Marines are deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  Thousands of reservists are mobilized, not only to support operations 
in Iraq, but also to support Operation Enduring Freedom--maintaining 
the watch against acts of terrorism on American soil.
  Thousands of Coast Guardsmen are protecting our coastlines. Tens of 
thousands of federal, state, and local law enforcement and security 
personnel are guarding our communities and our public facilities
  And millions of private citizens are doing what they always have 
done--protecting themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods,
  One thing these Americans share in common is the need for firearms.
  Another thing in common is the firearms that they use. In many 
instances, our military, law enforcement, security personnel, and 
private citizens use firearms made by the same manufacturers.
  Unfortunately, frivolous lawsuits that have been filed against 
firearms manufacturers, with the sole intent of driving them out of 
business. These shameful efforts have been based upon outlandish and 
widely-rejected theories of liability--theories that would be equally 
absurd if applied against the manufacturers of any other lawful 
product.
  Many states have already acted to put an end to these unwarranted 
lawsuits, which seek to hold the firearms industry responsible for the 
acts of criminals.
  It is time for Congress to do so nationwide. It's the right thing to 
do for America's security.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. Chairman, today, I rise in support of H.R. 1036, 
the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2003.
  I am a cosponsor of this legislation for several reasons. First, I do 
not believe that licensed gun manufacturers and merchants should be 
held legally responsible for the unlawful use of their lawful products. 
Second, I feel this constitutes a violation of tort law, and could send 
a dangerous precedent for future lawsuits affecting many other 
industries to come.
  Tort law rests upon a foundation of individual responsibility in 
which a product may not be defined as defective unless there is 
something wrong with the product, rather than with the product's user.
  Today, this Congress has the opportunity to address frivolous 
lawsuits and protect a legal and law-abiding industry from legal 
excess. We should pass this legislation to end the effort to drive law-
abiding firearm manufacturers, distributors, and dealers into 
bankruptcy under the crushing weight of illegitimate lawsuits.
  Congress has a constitutional authority to protect the interstate 
commerce in firearms, a lawful and legal product. I urge my colleagues 
to vote for this sensible legislation and set a precedent of legal 
business protection.
  The CHAIRMAN. All time for general debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the committee amendment in the nature of a 
substitute printed in the bill shall be considered as an original bill 
for the purpose of amendment under the 5-minute rule and shall be 
considered read.
  The text of the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute is 
as follows:

                               H.R. 1036

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

        This Act may be cited as the ``Protection of Lawful 
     Commerce in Arms Act''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSES.

       (a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
       (1) Citizens have a right, protected by the Second 
     Amendment to the United States Constitution, to keep and bear 
     arms.
       (2) Lawsuits have been commenced against manufacturers, 
     distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms that operate 
     as designed and intended, which seek money damages and other 
     relief for the harm caused by the misuse of firearms by third 
     parties, including criminals.
       (3) The manufacture, importation, possession, sale, and use 
     of firearms and ammunition in the United States are heavily 
     regulated by Federal, State, and local laws. Such Federal 
     laws include the Gun Control Act of 1968, the National 
     Firearms Act, and the Arms Export Control Act.
       (4) Businesses in the United States that are engaged in 
     interstate and foreign commerce through the lawful design, 
     manufacture, marketing, distribution, importation, or sale to 
     the public of firearms or ammunition that has been shipped or 
     transported in interstate or foreign commerce are not, and 
     should not, be liable for the harm caused by those who 
     criminally or unlawfully misuse firearm products or 
     ammunition products that function as designed and intended.
       (5) The possibility of imposing liability on an entire 
     industry for harm that is solely caused by others is an abuse 
     of the legal system, erodes

[[Page H2979]]

     public confidence in our Nation's laws, threatens the 
     diminution of a basic constitutional right and civil liberty, 
     invites the disassembly and destabilization of other 
     industries and economic sectors lawfully competing in the 
     free enterprise system of the United States, and constitutes 
     an unreasonable burden on interstate and foreign commerce of 
     the United States.
       (6) The liability actions commenced or contemplated by the 
     Federal Government, States, municipalities, and private 
     interest groups are based on theories without foundation in 
     hundreds of years of the common law and jurisprudence of the 
     United States and do not represent a bona fide expansion of 
     the common law. The possible sustaining of these actions by a 
     maverick judicial officer or petit jury would expand civil 
     liability in a manner never contemplated by the Framers of 
     the Constitution, by the Congress, or by the legislatures of 
     the several states. Such an expansion of liability would 
     constitute a deprivation of the rights, privileges, and 
     immunities guaranteed to a citizen of the United States under 
     the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
       (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are as follows:
       (1) To prohibit causes of action against manufacturers, 
     distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or 
     ammunition products for the harm caused by the criminal or 
     unlawful misuse of firearm products or ammunition products by 
     others when the product functioned as designed and intended.
       (2) To preserve a citizen's access to a supply of firearms 
     and ammunition for all lawful purposes, including hunting, 
     self-defense, collecting, and competitive or recreational 
     shooting.
       (3) To guarantee a citizen's rights, privileges, and 
     immunities, as applied to the States, under the Fourteenth 
     Amendment to the United States Constitution, pursuant to 
     section 5 of that Amendment.
       (4) To prevent the use of such lawsuits to impose 
     unreasonable burdens on interstate and foreign commerce.
       (5) To protect the right, under the First Amendment to the 
     Constitution, of manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and 
     importers of firearms or ammunition products, and trade 
     associations, to speak freely, to assemble peaceably, and to 
     petition the Government for a redress of their grievances.

     SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON BRINGING OF QUALIFIED CIVIL LIABILITY 
                   ACTIONS IN FEDERAL OR STATE COURT.

       (a) In General.--A qualified civil liability action may not 
     be brought in any Federal or State court.
       (b) Dismissal of Pending Actions.--A qualified civil 
     liability action that is pending on the date of the enactment 
     of this Act shall be dismissed immediately by the court in 
     which the action was brought or is currently pending.

     SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

        In this Act:
       (1) Engaged in the business.--The term ``engaged in the 
     business'' has the meaning given that term in section 
     921(a)(21) of title 18, United States Code, and, as applied 
     to a seller of ammunition, means a person who devotes, time, 
     attention, and labor to the sale of ammunition as a regular 
     course of trade or business with the principal objective of 
     livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of 
     ammunition.
       (2) Manufacturer.--The term ``manufacturer'' means, with 
     respect to a qualified product, a person who is engaged in 
     the business of manufacturing the product in interstate or 
     foreign commerce and who is licensed to engage in business as 
     such a manufacturer under chapter 44 of title 18, United 
     States Code.
       (3) Person.--The term ``person'' means any individual, 
     corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, 
     society, joint stock company, or any other entity, including 
     any governmental entity.
       (4) Qualified product.--The term ``qualified product'' 
     means a firearm (as defined in subparagraph (A) or (B) of 
     section 921(a)(3) of title 18, United States Code, including 
     any antique firearm (as defined in section 921(a)(16) of such 
     title)), or ammunition (as defined in section 921(a)(17) of 
     such title), or a component part of a firearm or ammunition, 
     that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign 
     commerce.
       (5) Qualified civil liability action.--
       (A) In general.--The term ``qualified civil liability 
     action'' means a civil action brought by any person against a 
     manufacturer or seller of a qualified product, or a trade 
     association, for damages or injunctive relief resulting from 
     the criminal or unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the 
     person or a third party, but shall not include--
       (i) an action brought against a transferor convicted under 
     section 924(h) of title 18, United States Code, or a 
     comparable or identical State felony law, by a party directly 
     harmed by the conduct of which the transferee is so 
     convicted;
       (ii) an action brought against a seller for negligent 
     entrustment or negligence per se;
       (iii) an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a 
     qualified product knowingly and willfully violated a State or 
     Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the 
     product, and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm 
     for which relief is sought;
       (iv) an action for breach of contract or warranty in 
     connection with the purchase of the product; or
       (v) an action for physical injuries or property damage 
     resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of 
     the product, when used as intended.
       (B) Negligent entrustment.--In subparagraph (A)(ii), the 
     term ``negligent entrustment'' means the supplying of a 
     qualified product by a seller for use by another person when 
     the seller knows or should know the person to whom the 
     product is supplied is likely to use the product, and in fact 
     does use the product, in a manner involving unreasonable risk 
     of physical injury to the person and others.
       (6) Seller.--The term ``seller'' means, with respect to a 
     qualified product--
       (A) an importer (as defined in section 921(a)(9) of title 
     18, United States Code) who is engaged in the business as 
     such an importer in interstate or foreign commerce and who is 
     licensed to engage in business as such an importer under 
     chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code;
       (B) a dealer (as defined in section 921(a)(11) of title 18, 
     United States Code) who is engaged in the business as such a 
     dealer in interstate or foreign commerce and who is licensed 
     to engage in business as such a dealer under chapter 44 of 
     title 18, United States Code; or
       (C) a person engaged in the business of selling ammunition 
     (as defined in section 921(a)(17) of title 18, United States 
     Code) in interstate or foreign commerce at the wholesale or 
     retail level, consistent with Federal, State, and local law.
       (7) State.--The term ``State'' includes each of the several 
     States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the 
     Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, 
     American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
     Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United 
     States, and any political subdivision of any such place.
       (8) Trade association.--The term ``trade association'' 
     means any association or business organization (whether or 
     not incorporated under Federal or State law) that is not 
     operated for profit, and 2 or more members of which are 
     manufacturers or sellers of a qualified product.

  The CHAIRMAN. No amendment to the committee amendment is in order 
except those printed in House Report 108-64. Each amendment may be 
offered only in the order printed in the report, by a Member designated 
in the report, shall be considered read, shall be debatable for the 
time specified in the report, equally divided and controlled by a 
proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall 
not be subject to a demand for division of the question.
  It is now in order to consider Amendment No. 1 printed in House 
Report 108-64.


                  Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Watt

  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I offer Amendment No. 1.
  The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of Amendment No. 1 is as follows:
  Amendment No. 1 offered by Mr. Watt:

       In section 4(5)(A)(v), strike ``, when used as intended''.

  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 181, the gentleman from 
North Carolina (Mr. Watt) and a Member opposed each will control 10 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt).
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, the bill, because it has not been properly considered 
through the committee process, leaves a lot to be desired in terms of 
drafting. This amendment is an effort to correct a real problem with 
the bill, because the bill purports to give an exception for suits 
where there are physical injuries or property damage resulting directly 
from a defect in design or manufacture of the product when the product 
is used as intended.
  The problem is that there is no definition of ``when the product is 
used as intended,'' so you are left with this situation.
  I am sure my colleagues are going to tell you all kinds of things 
where lawsuits could go forward under this rubric, but I think a number 
of lawsuits are going to be foreclosed by this language, and I would 
like to just give one or two examples.
  First of all, I am holding in my hand 13 recall notices from 
manufacturers of weapons. These recall notices recall a product, a gun, 
a kind of gun, in a lot of cases because when it is accidentally 
dropped, the gun will discharge.
  Well, the question then becomes, if a gun is accidentally dropped, is 
it being used as intended? Is that gun being used as intended if a 
person accidentally drops the gun and it discharges?
  Mr. Chairman, you have heard the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. 
Langevin) say that was the exact situation which left him paralyzed 
here, and we should leave no doubt that in those circumstances that 
there should be liability.
  Under this bill, this would apply even if the manufacturer had sent 
out a recall notice and the person had not acted on that recall notice. 
In fact, some of those recall notices say, do not do anything 
immediately on this, we are going to get to you 6 months down the road, 
and you can bring the gun

[[Page H2980]]

back to the dealer, and we will correct whatever problem there is with 
the gun.

                              {time}  1245

  So even if it is during that time period, there could be no potential 
liability here under this bill.
  I think this language is irresponsible; and I am sure my colleagues 
are going to say, well, we did not intend that. But that is what the 
bill says, I am reading from the language, and if we had considered 
this bill in the regular process in the committee, perhaps we could 
have done a better job. But they were so intent on getting this bill 
out of committee to the floor and at the National Rifle Association's 
convention 2 weeks down the road that they did not care about the 
language.
  Mr. Chairman, we should correct this, and this amendment allows us to 
do that.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I rise to seek the time in opposition.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Utah (Mr. Cannon) is recognized for 
10 minutes.
  (Mr. CANNON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I would like to first thank the chairman of the full committee for 
his expeditious movement of this bill through a hearing and through 
markup. I would also like to thank the ranking member of my 
Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, the gentleman from 
North Carolina (Mr. Watt), with whom I sometimes differ, but who never, 
never differs without grace. I appreciate his positions.
  There are a number of issues upon which we differ here. Let me just 
point out, the markup was shortened, to some degree, partly because it 
was treated as a joke. Nevertheless, this legislation has been 
considered in the past and was subject to a hearing.
  The gentleman from North Carolina is pointing out that a number of 
lawsuits will be prohibited or stopped by this legislation; and the 
answer to that statement is yes, that is the purpose of this 
legislation. It is to stop lawsuits which are frivolous and intended 
only to destroy the manufacturers and distributors and importers of 
guns in America as viable commercial activities.
  The gentleman also pointed out that some of these lawsuits that will 
be prohibited would be wrongly prohibited, and that is where we 
disagree. The gentleman referred to 13 recall notices. The gentleman 
will recall that in our hearing, we had an expert from the gun industry 
who said that if a weapon discharged because of a defect which was 
subject to a recall notice, or even if it was not subject to a recall 
notice, but if it discharged improperly, they would, that is the 
industry, the gun manufacturing industry, would still be responsible 
for that defect according to current law.
  Now, the bill before us does not change current law. It only preempts 
the recent rash of frivolous lawsuits that are intended and explicitly 
intended by the proponents of these lawsuits to destroy the industry.
  This amendment should be defeated because it would strip away from 
the bill an essential protection from frivolous lawsuits. The bill 
allows manufacturing and product defect cases to go forward provided 
that the product was used as intended. This phrase is vital to, for 
example, protect a gun manufacturer from a frivolous claim that the gun 
should have been designed to prevent someone from sticking a gun up his 
nose to scratch, with his finger on the trigger. That is clearly not 
what was intended for the use of the gun.
  Another example, while all manufacturers under national standards 
voluntarily adopted by the industry design guns to be safe from firing 
on impact when dropped, a person who uses a pistol as a hammer should 
not be able to sue for defective design, which just makes sense, when 
the gun discharges after its foolish abuse of the design.
  As one important product liability case stated, it is well settled 
that a manufacturer is under a duty to use reasonable care in designing 
his product when used in the manner for which the product was intended. 
The phrase ``used as intended'' is today routinely applied by courts 
and juries based on circumstances of the case and what the court or the 
jury sees as a reasonable intended use. Of course, the juries will no 
doubt draw extensively on, for example, the owner's manual of a firearm 
for guidance as to what the intended use is.
  It would seem clear in most circumstances to carry a gun is an 
intended use and that manufacturing and design defects that cause harm 
when a person drops the gun during the course of its intended use 
properly and appropriately falls within the exceptions of the bill's 
provision. It would also seem clear that in most, if not all, 
circumstances pointing a gun at an innocent person and pulling the 
trigger is not an intended use. These would be fact-intensive 
inquiries, however, best left to the discretion of judges and juries. 
The phrase ``used as intended'' is by no means an unfamiliar term in 
the case law. The amendment should be defeated so existing case law 
among the States can be used to appropriately apply it on a case-by-
case basis.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Engel).
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
time, and I rise in support of his amendment to close that loophole in 
the bill when used as intended.
  But I also rise in opposition to the whole bill itself, to H.R. 1036. 
The bill would provide Federal immunity to gun manufacturers and, in my 
opinion, would halt progress towards safer guns and greater industry 
accountability. H.R. 1036 would block suits filed by individuals, 
victims of gun violence seeking to hold the gun industry accountable 
for irresponsible manufacturing or selling of guns.
  Now, gun manufacturers and sellers are exempt from Federal consumer 
product safety regulation. The gun lobby made sure that the gun 
industry was exempted from regulation when the Consumer Product Safety 
Commission was established in the 1970s. This is wrong. The only other 
product that enjoys this exemption is tobacco. And in my estimation, 
Teddy bears are more regulated for safety than guns. Giving the gun 
industry immunity would remove the only incentive to gun manufacturers 
and dealers to ensure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands.
  Past suits have resulted in improved safety features such as internal 
locks to prevent unauthorized access. Right now, there are local 
governments who are in court attempting to show that the manufacturers 
that make guns that too often surface in illegal activities, and the 
stores that make no attempt to follow the law in selling guns, should 
be held liable for the relentless damages of gun violence. Now, 
survivors of some of the Washington area sniping victims have gone to 
court to sue the manufacturer of the gun that is said to be the murder 
weapon and the gun shop that sold it after discovering that the dealer 
had reported 238 guns missing from its inventory in 3 years alone. This 
bill would prevent these lawsuits from going forward.
  I believe that this industry, like every other industry, has an 
obligation to its consumers and to the public to ensure that their 
product is manufactured and sold in ways that are safe, legal, and 
responsible. So I urge my colleagues to support the gentleman's 
amendment and to vote against this bill.
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 15 seconds to respond to the 
gentleman.
  We have, in fact, protected manufacturers in dozens of industries. 
One example is the light aircraft industry where we have set up rules 
so that we could actually continue, or actually re-create, our light 
aircraft industry in America.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
Dingell).
  (Mr. DINGELL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Chairman, I thank my distinguished friend for 
yielding me this time, and I rise in support of this much-needed 
commonsense legislation.
  I am the proud and original supporter of this legislation entitled 
the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms

[[Page H2981]]

Act. It will shield gun manufacturers from irresponsible lawsuits and 
from damages in cases where firearms are used during criminal acts of 
third parties, and only there. It does not protect them against wrong-
doing and negligent entrustment; it does not protect gun manufacturers 
against negligent manufacture of dangerous firearms, but only where the 
firearm is sold legitimately and lawfully.
  The legislation is based on a simple, sound premise. We ought not sue 
Boeing because somebody took a Boeing jet and crashed it into the World 
Trade Center. We ought not sue Ford Motor Company because of negligence 
of a drunk driver.
  The bill has broad support with 251 cosponsors, including some 46 
Democrats. The legislation is supported by organized labor, including 
local affiliates of the United Auto Workers and the United Mine 
Workers. It is necessary simply because there are junk lawsuits which 
are being filed to harass law-abiding businessmen. If successful, such 
lawsuits would bankrupt U.S. firearms manufacturers and destroy a 
legitimate, lawfully, and carefully and intensely regulated industry in 
which the manufacturers and sellers are regulated intensely by ATF and 
other Federal and State regulatory agencies.
  Some two dozen lawsuits have been filed in States and municipalities 
that would be dealt with under this. The courts have spoken with regard 
to these lawsuits, dismissing them almost entirely. In spite of the 
fact that the lawsuits filed against the firearms industry have 
produced no lawful or successful results, cities, counties, and others 
continue to file them, mostly for harassment purposes. These lawsuits 
cost not only the firearms industry, but municipalities, hundreds of 
millions of dollars. This legislation is directed at curtailing that.
  The bill does not affect the right of a lawsuit to sue for negligence 
or other wrong-doing.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Washington (Mr. Inslee).
  (Mr. INSLEE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Watt amendment. I 
think anyone who has been listening to this debate realizes that this 
is not a debate about the ability of Americans to have responsible gun 
ownership, something I think everyone in this debate has recognized. 
But I rise to support the Watt amendment because it shows some 
attention to the over 1,000 children a year, our children, who kill 
themselves using a firearm. I rise to pay some attention to the 
hundreds of children every year who shoot their playmates 
unintentionally, our children.
  The reason these children deserve some standing in this debate is 
that those children would be alive if there was some way that these 
guns were secured so that our children did not get access to these 
firearms. Right now, many people of common sense who may stand as 
jurors believe that manufacturers should provide responsible gun owners 
with the ability to secure their firearms so kids do not get them. That 
may include trigger locks, it may include boxes, it may include these 
new computerized systems to keep our kids from shooting their playmates 
and shooting themselves in a moment of temporary teenage depression.
  But this legislation, without the Watt amendment, would preclude 
jurors from holding manufacturers responsible and prevent jurors, 
reasonably minded jurors, from finding them responsible and not giving 
consumers what they deserve. And consumers of a firearm deserve the 
ability to lock them away and not allow them to be used by their 
children. If we adopt the Watt amendment, we will allow jurors to make 
that decision.
  I have to tell my colleagues, when I read about some 10-year-old 
getting his uncle's gun and shooting his playmate because it was not 
secured, I stand for the proposition that jurors ought to be able to 
say that trigger locks ought to be sold with these firearms so that 
consumers will have them.
  Support the Watt amendment.
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Stearns), the author of the underlying bill.

                              {time}  1300

  Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague, the gentleman from 
Utah, for yielding time to me.
  Mr. Chairman, the Watt amendment is attacking the words ``used as 
intended'', and he has sort of indicated that those words are vague and 
perhaps they should be deleted because the courts could not quite 
understand them.
  I have Black's Law Dictionary back in my office, Mr. Chairman. I went 
up and looked up the words. It is defined as ``the intended use 
doctrine,'' defined as ``The rule imposing a duty on a manufacturer to 
develop a product so that it is reasonably safe for its intended or 
foreseeable users.''
  In fact, if we look up the words ``used as intended,'' for example, 
the words ``manufacturing defects'' or ``design defects,'' any of these 
terms which, at first glance, would connote some nebulous concept. 
Indeed, it is not a nebulous concept; there is a strict interpretation 
of these words in tort law.
  In Westlaw, which is a commonly used legal database, if we go into 
that and put in the words ``used as intended,'' we come up with that it 
has been cited in 1,300 State cases and over 900 Federal cases come up. 
That is ample guidance for courts to use regarding what ``used as 
intended'' means in a case alleging defective design or manufacture.
  The treatise American Law of Products Liability states that ``Courts 
have consistently refused to impose liability on manufacturers of 
firearms that function exactly as intended.''
  Mr. Chairman, I think what I am saying is, there is ample evidence in 
the law, both in the Federal and in the State, where the term ``used as 
intended'' is clearly understood in tort law, so there is no ambiguity 
here.
  Mr. Chairman, I would urge defeat of the Watt amendment.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I think, regarding the people who have made statements 
in support of and against this amendment, I think the problem is that 
we have left a substantial ambiguity in the law because we have not 
taken the time to deal with this in the committee, where it should have 
been dealt with.
  With all respect to the chairman of my subcommittee, the gentleman 
from Utah (Mr. Cannon), whom I respect and admire greatly, the fact 
that somebody shows up at a hearing and says that this language, ``used 
as intended,'' means one thing or another really is not going to be 
what controls that. The same judges that they have said are 
irresponsible are going to be making that determination.
  Mr. Chairman, when we write a piece of legislation, it is our 
responsibility to write it in a way that leaves them no discretion 
about what we mean. I would submit that a child who picks up a gun and 
drops it, and it discharges, most of us would stand here and say that 
that gun was not being used as intended. Therefore, the parents of that 
child would have no recourse; nobody would have any recourse against 
the manufacturer.
  I would submit that anybody who drops a gun and it accidentally 
discharges, as it did in the case of the gentleman from Rhode Island 
(Mr. Langevin), could reasonably argue that that was not, or that that 
falls within the exception.
  It is our responsibility to close these loopholes, not open 
additional ones. I ask my colleagues to support the amendment.
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt), 
my friend, for his gracious comments.
  Referring back to the prior speaker, the gentleman from Washington, 
he made a couple points that I think are important. This is not about 
the right to own a gun; this is an entirely different discussion.
  I indicated, on his concern about seeing trigger locks on all guns, 
frankly, we need to research and improve safety devices over time. 
Hopefully, some of those improvements in safety will come from a 
healthy, robust manufacturing center in our country that can afford to 
develop the kinds of technologies that will keep the many police 
officers who are shot with their own guns safe from their own guns. 
That takes a robust industry to do that.

[[Page H2982]]

  In closing, let me just point out to the gentleman, if we enter the 
words ``used as intended,'' ``manufacturing defect,'' or ``design 
defect'' into Westlaw, a commonly used database, we come up with 1,300 
State cases and 900 Federal cases. We have a great deal of 
understanding about the concept that is being attacked in this 
amendment.
  I encourage the Members of this body to oppose this amendment, to go 
with legislation that is sensible and reasonable and will improve the 
environment in which we have to exercise our right to keep and bear 
arms in America.
  The CHAIRMAN. All time has expired.
  The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from North 
Carolina (Mr. Watt).
  The amendment was rejected.
  The CHAIRMAN. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 2 printed 
in House Report 108-64.


            Amendment No. 2 Offered by Mr. Scott of Virginia

  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I offer amendment No. 2.
  The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate amendment No. 2.
  The text of amendment No. 2 is as follows:

       Amendment No. 2 offered by Mr. Scott of Virginia:
       In section 4(5)(A), strike clause (i) and insert the 
     following:
       (i) an action brought against a transferor who transfers a 
     firearm in violation of section 924(h) of title 18, United 
     States Code, or a comparable or identical State felony law, 
     by a party directly harmed by conduct of the transferee 
     involving the firearm;

  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 181, the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Scott) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott).
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, the underlying right for redress would apply if the 
defendant transfers a firearm in violation of the law and is convicted 
of that crime. In other words, if the defendant has been convicted of 
an illegal transfer of a firearm, he loses the benefits of the bill.
  This amendment eliminates the requirement under the bill for a 
conviction before a defendant can be sued, and substitutes the 
requirement that the defendant actually committed the crime. Requiring 
a conviction before a defendant can be sued for civil consequences of 
his unlawful acts would constitute an extraordinary change in 
traditional civil liability standards. Moreover, such a requirement 
would create bizarre results based on what a prosecutor decides to do 
in a particular case and when he decides to do it.
  The prosecutor may choose not to prosecute a particular case for 
various reasons. This would preclude a claim, regardless of how 
egregious the injuries are or how clear the liability; or even if a 
case is prosecuted, the prosecutor may decide to plea bargain a case, 
allowing a defendant who has illegally transferred many guns to plead 
guilty to one transfer and drop the other cases. It would be absurd to 
suggest that only the victims in the case pleaded to can sue while the 
others cannot.
  Of course, there is always a possibility the case can be thrown out 
because of an unlawful search or seizure, because of a coerced 
confession, or simply because the prosecutor is unable to prove his 
case beyond a reasonable doubt. The case might be lost because a jury 
was pretty sure the defendant was guilty, but not beyond a reasonable 
doubt.
  Even where there is a conviction, the timing of the conviction alone 
might be dispositive of the claim because there is nothing in the bill 
or the law which tolls the statute of limitations in a civil claim 
pending prosecution and appeals.
  Mr. Chairman, this is a dramatic departure from traditional civil 
proceedings. In an automobile accident, for example, one can be 
successful if one can prove that the defendant went through the red 
light. We do not lose our case because the police officer did not give 
the defendant a ticket, or gave him a ticket but did not get a 
conviction. Say one brings the witnesses to court and proves the 
defendant, in fact, went through the red light. Under the theory under 
this bill, that person would lose his case if the police officer failed 
to successfully prosecute the defendant.
  If this amendment is adopted, even without the conviction, the 
unlawful transfer would still have to be proven in order to pursue the 
case. Under traditional civil law, we would still have to prove the 
defendant violated the law and that the violation was the proximate 
cause of the injury.
  If someone's criminal activity causes injury, he should not escape 
civil liability merely because he was not technically convicted of that 
crime. So I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Florida (Mr. Feeney) is recognized 
for 10 minutes.
  Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I respectfully disagree with the amendment of the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott), and would ask a ``no'' vote on his 
proposed amendment.
  In essence, this is a battle about two competing theories with 
respect to gun manufacturers and gun sellers in America. There is one 
theory that presumes that gun manufacturers and gun sellers are 
inherently guilty of something, somewhere, almost all of the time. The 
other theory is that, consistent with the second amendment, if we 
really believe that the second amendment protects the right to bear and 
own arms, that we must inherently protect the right of people to 
manufacture and distribute those arms.
  What the gentleman's amendment does, as I read it, is basically 
several things that are very, very important, including allowing civil 
courts to find somebody guilty of criminal offenses without all of the 
inherent protections that we give to people who are accused of crimes.
  It actually flies in the face of a subsequent amendment filed by the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Linda T. Sanchez), who makes the 
keystone of her amendment actually that one be convicted and found 
guilty of a crime before they are responsible in a civil action.
  What this amendment of the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) does 
is to remove the requirement that you are convicted of any criminal act 
before you are held guilty in civil responsibility. It would allow 
lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, dealers, or importers if the 
action is against a transferor who knowingly transfers a firearm, 
knowing that such firearms will be used to commit a crime of violence 
or drug trafficking crime.
  The bill currently allows for suits against people if the transferor 
is actually convicted of a crime. What this amendment does is to 
undermine the ability of somebody to defend themselves with all the 
inherent criminal protections that they ought to have before they are 
essentially found to have committed a crime.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds.
  Mr. Chairman, I would just point out that without this amendment, 
this bill protects criminals. Without the amendment, we could have a 
criminal actually admitting to the crime, but unless there was a 
conviction, we could not use that admission in a civil case.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina 
(Mr. Watt).
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I just want to join in support of this 
amendment offered by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott). Again, 
this is a case where, had we taken the time in committee to evaluate 
the language and allow the amendment of the gentleman from Virginia 
(Mr. Scott), which was at the desk when the question was called on the 
bill in committee, if we had had this debate, we could probably have 
corrected this language to say what the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Feeney) would like for it to say.
  Unfortunately, the bill says what it says. As much as he would like 
for it to say something different than what it says, it does not. It 
says that in order to pursue a cause of action, we have to have had a 
conviction.

[[Page H2983]]

  That is ridiculous. The bill should not say that. Now, maybe the 
drafters did not intend for it to say that, which is exactly the point 
that I have been making throughout this process: If we had taken the 
time to evaluate the provisions of this bill, then we could have at 
least gotten the bill to say what they intend for it to say.
  However, no judge is going to have the luxury of saying, well, they 
intended to say this, and therefore I am going to interpret this 
statute in that way. The judge has to look at the law as we have 
written it. Right now, this bill does not say what my colleagues would 
like for it to say because we have not taken the time to make it say 
that.
  Mr. Chairman, we are being irresponsible and we are passing 
legislation through this House that we know has a serious flaw, and 
they are looking at us saying, well, you cannot read. I learned to read 
a long time ago. I can read what the language of this bill says, and it 
says exactly what the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) says it says. 
Nothing that my colleagues on the other side can say can change that.
  We need to amend the bill so that it says what they want it to say.
  Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 3 minutes.
  Mr. Chairman, the gentleman is a very capable reader. I have 
discovered that in committee, and enjoy working with him.
  However, I can read as well. What the bill does is say, before you 
are treated as a criminal, you need to be tried as a criminal in a 
criminal court, and you need to be convicted as a criminal. That is the 
American way.
  What the amendment says is that you can be treated as a criminal even 
though you have never been tried as a criminal, and even though you 
have never been in a criminal court and certainly never been convicted.
  Members will recall that the Bill of Rights, aside from protecting 
the right to bear firearms, also protects certain rights before one is 
convicted of a crime. It is the great American criminal jurisprudence.

                              {time}  1315

  Among other things, before you are a criminal, you have the right to 
a trial, you have the right to face your accusers, you have a right to 
call witnesses, you have a right to an attorney, you have a right to 
due process, and you have a right to be proven guilty beyond a 
reasonable doubt.
  What the gentleman's amendment does is to essentially eviscerate all 
of the protections we give people in America who are accused of a crime 
and make them criminals even though they have never had a day to 
protect themselves in a criminal court.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I would ask the gentleman if he could state any other 
civil statute that requires a criminal conviction as a predicate. And I 
would point out on page 9 of the bill ``in an action in which a 
manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly and willfully 
violated,'' but it does not say anything about a conviction. So the 
manufacturer or seller is not afforded any of those rights we just 
heard of. And I just want to know if there is any other civil law that 
requires a criminal conviction as a predicate to your right to get 
civil remedies.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.
  Mr. Chairman, I would suggest that there are thousands of civil laws 
both at the Federal level and the State level, and we will try to get 
some research on which ones actually require a criminal predicate. But 
what I would suggest to the gentleman is that the part of the bill that 
he references regarding statutes that have been violated could be 
either a civil or criminal statute. So it does not require a civil 
court to find an individual defendant guilty of a crime. It actually 
permits a case against a gun manufacturer who violates a State law or 
Federal law in a civil matter. And I think this is very different 
because what the gentleman's amendment does is to specify a Federal 
criminal offense and to suggest civil courts can find you guilty even 
though you have never had your day in court, never been in criminal 
court, and certainly never been convicted in criminal court.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, since the gentleman is defending the bill, I would ask 
him on page 8 of the bill, lines 17 through 22, whether or not the word 
``transferee'' on line 22 and ``transferor'' on lines 17 and 18, 
whether that is a typographical error.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, actually I was debating the gentleman's amendment, and 
we have got staff taking a look at the specific provisions you have 
referred to. What I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, is ultimately this 
amendment is an attempt to eviscerate the second amendment in a way 
that the Constitution would not permit, in a way the courts fortunately 
have not permitted, and in a way that elected representatives and 
legislatures around the country and in this Congress would not permit.
  What it basically does is to try to, through all sorts of litigation 
against gun manufacturers and gun sellers, make weapons that are 
protected under the second amendment unavailable. So what it does is to 
say that the second amendment to the United States Constitution, while 
it may protect your theoretical right to own and bear a weapon, 
actually is meaningless because we are not going to allow anybody 
either to manufacture or to sell those weapons.
  And I would suggest that the adversaries of this bill and the people 
that are trying to weaken or undermine or eviscerate the bill refer 
back to Oliver Wendell Holmes's great statement in 1894 where he 
explained why you hold certain people responsible. He said:

       Why is not a man who sells firearms answerable for assaults 
     committed with pistols bought of him since he must be taken 
     to know the probability that sooner or later someone will buy 
     a pistol of him for some unlawful end? The principle seem 
     pretty well established, in this country at least, that 
     everyone has the right to rely upon his fellow man acting 
     lawfully.

  What the opponents of this bill want to do is to presume that 
everybody who manufactures or sells a weapon is guilty of something, 
ought to be put out of business through bankruptcy or some other means.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time to close.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee).
  (Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I rise to support what is an 
enormously sensible amendment to legislation that has come to the floor 
with a lot of its own baggage. I recognize that we have legislation 
that people proudly say there are 250 sponsors. I have not had my time 
on the floor, so I will just add 250 celebratory sponsors gearing 
themselves toward a pending convention and looking, of course, towards 
making a lot of new friends in the National Rifle Association.
  But we have to deal with life and death on the floor of the House. We 
have to deal with the question of saving lives. And certainly I would 
think that the amendment that the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) 
has offered again provides added protection to those who are left most 
vulnerable with this legislation.
  Clearly I think if we were to explain this in the ABC's and we would 
explain to the American people that we are closing the door on a number 
of petitioners who have been injured and/or killed because of the 
misuse of a firearm, they would understand that this is not in conflict 
with the second amendment. We all believe that the second amendment 
does give the right to Americans to bear arms. I believe, 
unfortunately, that it dealt with the militia, but to bear arms. But we 
also understand that there is normal product liability, if you will, 
laws that deal with the protection of those who have the right to 
engage in a lawsuit because they have been injured.
  This particular amendment deals with the requirement under the bill 
for

[[Page H2984]]

the conviction of a transferer who knowingly transfers a firearm 
knowing that such a firearm will be used to commit a crime of violence 
before a transferer can be sued. And we eliminate that requirement.
  It makes sense that if you are dealing with a criminal element and 
that you have been injured and that there has been some misuse, then 
you should not be limited and not have that additional requirement.
  Mr. Chairman, this is an intelligent amendment to a bill that has 
been on a fast track so that we can all celebrate at the National Rifle 
Association convention.
  Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Chairman, how much time remains?
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) has 1\1/2\ 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from Florida (Mr. Feeney) has 4 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from Florida has the right to close.
  Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt).
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I rise to ask my colleague from Virginia a 
question.
  Suppose there is a conviction in a case and then a civil lawsuit is 
filed which would be allowed, and then the conviction is reversed on 
appeal. What would happen under this bill under those circumstances?
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. WATT. I yield to the gentleman from Virginia.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for the 
question; and, frankly, Mr. Chairman, I do not know. You would have 
someone who has filed his lawsuit, gets a judgment. The underlying 
conviction is overturned. I do not know. Maybe the gentleman from 
Colorado can help answer the question. In my opening remarks I made a 
point that pending prosecution and all the appeals, if you start off 
with an acquittal, with a case thrown out and then reinstated on 
appeal, maybe after the statute of limitations. There is no other 
situation where you have to get a conviction before the civil lawsuit 
can go forward; and I would ask the gentleman from Colorado.
  The CHAIRMAN. The Chair recognize the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Feeney) unless the gentleman wants to close.
  Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my 
time.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, in the bill we have the action 
of a manufacturer who willingly and knowingly violates a State or 
Federal statute and can be sued. You do not have to have a conviction.
  You have to have a conviction in this situation. The gentleman from 
North Carolina (Mr. Watt) has revealed a bazaar situation. Some people 
can bring a case and not bring a case depending upon whether their case 
was part of a plea bargain or not.
  This is a major departure from any civil procedure, and if the 
gentleman can advise us if there is any other civil lawsuit that 
requires a conviction as a predicate rather than knowingly violated the 
statute, we would like to hear it.
  Mr. Chairman, I hope we would adopt the amendment.
  Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Chairman, I want to apologize to my colleague because they asked 
the gentleman from Colorado to respond, and while Colorado is a great 
sunshine State, I actually represent the Sunshine State of Florida.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. FEENEY. I yield to the gentleman from Virginia.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I apologize to the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Feeney).
  Mr. FEENEY. Reclaiming my time, there is no offense taken. Colorado 
is a beautiful State, but please come visit the Sunshine State when you 
get a chance.
  I will give you this answer, and that is, while it will take me some 
time to research the tens of thousands of Federal and State civil 
actions to see which ones are predicated on a criminal conviction, I am 
also not aware of any situation where a civil court without the 
protections of the Bill of Rights can find one guilty of a Federal 
criminal offense that carries a 10-year punishment. And I think that is 
the crux of what this amendment gets to.
  Because, as you know, the Supreme Court has stated, quoting James 
Madison in the case of The New York Times v. Sullivan: ``Some degree of 
abuse is inseparable from the proper use of everything.''
  That includes hammers, ice picks, steak knives, lawn mowers, other 
things that have been used as weapons. What the opponents of the bill 
suggest is that every manufacturer and every seller must be guilty of 
something simply because they are selling a product that is not only a 
legal product, but it is particularly and especially protected by the 
second amendment to the United States Constitution.
  A violation of section 18 of the U.S. Code, section 927(h) is exactly 
what the amendment that the gentleman gets to. A conviction under that 
statute carriers up to a 10-year imprisonment and a fine potentially.
  What the gentleman wants to do is to basically say that somebody can 
be found guilty of that Federal criminal statute in a civil court, 
basically declaring somebody a criminal even though they have never 
been in a criminal court. For example, they would be called a criminal 
as actually the gentlewoman just did and she said we are protecting 
criminals if we do not adopt this wonderful amendment.
  Ultimately, what we are doing here is to say to an accused person 
they will be found guilty in a civil court of a crime even though they 
never had the rights afforded them by the Bill of Rights, including the 
right to an attorney, the right to face your accuser, the right to call 
witnesses, the right to due process, and the right to be proven guilty 
of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
  Please protect innocent parties, and please protect the second 
amendment and oppose the amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott).
  The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings 
on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) 
will be postponed.
  The CHAIRMAN. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 printed 
in House Report 108-64.


     Amendment No. 3 Offered by Ms. Linda T. Sanchez of California

  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, I offer an 
amendment.
  The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Amendment No. 3 offered by Ms. Linda T. Sanchez of 
     California:
       In section 4(5)(A)--
       (1) redesignate clauses (ii) through (v) as clauses (iii) 
     through (vi), respectively; and
       (2) insert after clause (i) the following:
       ``(ii) an action brought against a transferor convicted of 
     a violation of paragraph (3) or (4) of section 922(d) of 
     title 18, United States Code, or of a comparable or identical 
     provision of State law, by a party directly harmed by conduct 
     of which the transferee is convicted;''
       In section 4(5)(B), strike ``(A)(ii)'' and insert 
     ``(A)(iii)''.

  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 181, the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Linda T. Sanchez) and a Member opposed each will 
control 10 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Linda T. 
Sanchez).
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such 
time as I may consume.
  (Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California asked and was given permission to 
revise and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, H.R. 1036, the 
Protection of Lawful Commerce and Arms Act, seeks to prohibit civil 
liability actions from being brought or continued against 
manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms

[[Page H2985]]

or ammunition for damages resulting from the misuse of their product by 
others.
  The bill makes certain exceptions, however, to allow lawsuits against 
gun manufacturers, sellers, distributors, and importers. For example, 
it allows a lawsuit to proceed in case of negligence per se or 
negligent entrustment. It also allows lawsuits for victims in certain 
cases where the gun seller or manufacturer knowingly or willingly broke 
State or Federal law.
  My amendment would be one of the smaller exceptions to the ban on 
lawsuits. It would essentially do more than require gun sellers or 
manufacturers to obey the law that already exists.

                              {time}  1330

  Section 922 of title XVIII of the U.S. Code establishes that it is 
unlawful for any person to sell guns or ammunition to someone who uses 
or is addicted to illegal drugs or who has been adjudicated as a mental 
defective. Later on, the same section makes it illegal for drug users 
or abusers or persons with adjudicated mental problems to ship, possess 
or receive guns or ammunition that have been in interstate commerce.
  This makes sense. Congress has decided that there are certain people 
who should not have access to firearms, and these are the two 
categories of people who are restricted.
  Congress further decided that the responsibility for this restriction 
is on both the buyer and the seller. If the gun sellers and 
manufacturers are not checking to be sure that they do not sell guns to 
people with drug or mental problems, then how can we keep the guns out 
of their hands? That is why the U.S. Code specifically prohibits both 
the sale and the purchase.
  I just want the gun sellers to do the proper background checks. If 
they do not and it turns out they sold weapons or ammunition to a 
person in one of those categories, then they should not have the 
benefit of immunity from the court system. As a matter of public 
policy, we should most definitely provide victims with an opportunity 
to take their case to court, and we should allow judges the opportunity 
to decide if what the gun seller did was a violation of the law.
  Last fall, when there were suspicions that the Beltway sniper might 
have had a mental illness, the House rapidly passed a bill to enforce 
the already-existing law that requires the FBI to list any person who 
has been adjudicated as a mental defective on the National Instant 
Criminal Background Check system. It is important to note that the bill 
did not create this requirement; rather, it sought to provide incentive 
grants to encourage the use of it.
  That bill unfortunately did not pass the Senate, but that does not 
change the fact that this requirement already exists. If we are intent 
on requiring that the information be listed in the system, and if we 
say that gun sellers must do background checks, then how can we go 
wrong by holding them liable if they fail to do the background check?
  Having already mentioned some of my opposition to this bill, and 
having tried to correct one of the many, many problems with it, I would 
like to talk about the egregious manner the Majority has used in moving 
this bill through the House.
  This is a fairly partisan bill, which went through a very partisan 
Committee, the Judiciary Committee. No hearings were held at Full 
Committee. Essentially, no markup occurred either. Technically, the 
Committee met and we started debate on what should have been 10-15 
amendments. The first one was offered and withdrawn. Shortly after we 
began discussing the second one, offered by Mr. Watt, the Majority 
called the previous question. And with that, our so-called democratic 
debate on an important piece of legislation ended.
  The Majority has since made claims that they cut off debate because 
no amendments were at the desk. This is patently untrue. As I said, and 
as the transcript from that markup shows, we were in the MIDDLE of the 
debate on an amendment when the previous question was called.
  I realize that the Majority wouldn't have liked a lot of our 
amendments, in which case they would have had the freedom to vote 
against then. But to not even allow debate on a topic of such divergent 
opinions is a disgrace. We're talking about a bill that includes 
findings that have no basis in fact or law. A bill that makes sweeping 
changes to liability, thus cutting off legitimate victims' access to 
the court system. A bill that rewards certain shoddy gun dealers with 
the same immunity that it gives to honest manufacturers who have worked 
diligently to improve their products.
  That appalling markup happened last Thursday. Now here we are today, 
less than a week later, debating the bill on the Floor. But one again, 
a true democratic effort has been thwarted, because the Majority has 
only permitted us five amendments. Five amendments. Again, I'm sure 
that the Majority didn't like all of the amendments we offered. But 
that doesn't mean they are non-germane. And it's no reason to cut off 
debate. If that's going to be the basis for how we run this body, then 
we should stop claiming to be a democracy.
  And, frankly, the amendments allowed today don't include all of the 
``heavy'' amendments we offered. Let's be honest--my amendment has a 
much smaller impact than some of the other ones offered today. I think 
it represents an important change, but I also think there were a whole 
host of other important changes that could have been made--had we had a 
full markup, or had the Rule been an open one.
  I am shocked by the complete disregard to Majority has demonstrated 
for the democratic process. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle to resist this kind of disintegration of our free speech and our 
democratic process. Otherwise, the democratic ideals our troops are 
fighting for in the Middle East may as well be meaningless.
  I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn) 
seek the time in opposition?
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn) is 
recognized for 10 minutes in opposition.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the base bill and in opposition to 
the Sanchez amendment. The language in this amendment would allow 
lawsuits to be brought against gun manufacturers and dealers for 
damages that are caused by the criminal misuse of that product by a 
third party if the firearm transferor knows or has reasonable cause to 
believe that the recipient is an unlawful user of or addicted to any 
controlled substance or has been adjudicated as a mental defective or 
committed to a mental institution.
  Making such a transfer to a drug addict or someone who has been 
declared mentally incompetent is already illegal under the Gun Control 
Act and the laws of many States. It is clearly covered by the existing 
language of this bill.
  Those who support H.R. 1036 have no intention of preventing lawsuits 
against those convicted of criminal acts, and under the language of the 
bill, we do not need to list every possible violation for them to be 
held accountable.
  What we do want to do is prevent junk lawsuits against the firearms 
industry. Many of these companies operate on narrow margins, and those 
who oppose the second amendment hope to use our legal system and the 
threat of costly lawsuits to bankrupt a legal industry. This is clearly 
wrong, and I would urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and 
support passage of H.R. 1036.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such 
time as I may consume.
  I do not understand how my colleagues on the other side of the aisle 
can say that this case is clearly set forth in the proposed 
legislation, because the negligence, number one, the negligence per se 
doctrine, does not exist in every State, and I believe it is the 
citizens of those States who deserve the kind of protections included 
in this amendment.
  The other exception that is stated in this bill is for knowingly or 
willfully violating Federal or State law, and it requires a conviction, 
and that does not apply here either. That implication or that state of 
mind, that mens rea, requires a specific mens rea, whereas my amendment 
here only includes a reasonable cause to believe standard.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. 
Jackson-Lee).
  (Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend her remarks.)

[[Page H2986]]

  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, allow me to thank the 
gentlewoman from California for a very thoughtful amendment that really 
seems not to be understood by the opponents of the amendment.
  First of all, I think we should make it very clear that what is 
happening with H.R. 1036 is that right as we speak, Mr. Chairman, we 
are stopping dead in its tracks any lawsuit by any jurisdiction, local, 
State or civilian, against a manufacturer, distributors and dealers 
dealing with firearms. This is an outrage on its face. It makes 
absolutely no sense that we would begin to intrude into State's rights 
and individual petitioner rights that would disallow pending lawsuits.
  That means that a law enforcement officer who brutally kills and/or 
injures him or his family, her or her family, cannot engage in a 
lawsuit. It means that this is, in fact, a pay-as-you-go legislation, 
and good amendments, of which I support all of the amendments that are 
on the floor today, are not taken seriously.
  This amendment is a good amendment because it is required by law that 
a person not sell to addicted individuals. What this amendment says is, 
we do not have to have a conviction. It simply says, if these are 
addicted individuals and a person illegally sells to them, or people 
suffering with mental illness or have a mental health condition or in 
need of mental services, that they have a problem; and therefore, when 
I say problem, those gun sellers or manufacturers, that they, in fact, 
should be liable under the laws of this land.
  This legislation says in an affronting way, insulting way, that a 
person does not have the ability to go into the courthouse. Besides the 
insult of the way this bill came to the floor of the House and the 
insult of the process, good amendments are on the floor that are not 
being accepted, and amendments that were in the Committee on Rules, 
amendments to protect children, amendments that dealt with assault 
weapons and amendments that dealt with law enforcement officers, were 
rejected.
  I would simply ask my colleagues to overlook the fact that we have a 
convention of the National Rifle Association pending, and let us try to 
do what is good for America. Look at the Sanchez amendment and realize 
that it makes sense because it is existing law. A person cannot sell to 
addicted individuals; a person should not sell to people suffering from 
mental illness, and it is that person's responsibility to check. If, in 
fact, it reflects back on the gun seller and then the manufacturer, 
that is what should be decided in a court of law.
  The ultimate affront, as I said, is the very fact that existing, 
pending lawsuits that are going on in our courts today, in State courts 
and Federal courts, will cease and desist because of this legislation. 
Can we think of a more unfair action in this Congress in light of the 
fact that we believe we live in a democracy? I cannot.
  I would just simply say in closing, I hope the gentlewoman's 
amendment is accepted. I hope the Meehan amendment is accepted, the two 
Watt amendments are accepted. I wish they were, and of course, the 
Scott amendment, and I really hope our colleagues would vote against 
this legislation.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  The claims have been made that the bill's requirement that a knowing 
violation of the statute occurs is unjust. The claim that it is too 
burdensome to require that a person knowingly violates the law before 
they can be said to meet the exceptions to the bill fails to understand 
the flexible nature of the requirement.
  A typical jury instruction regarding what the requirement 
``unknowing'' means states as follows: ``Knowledge may be proved by all 
of the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. You, the jury, may 
infer knowledge from a combination of suspicion and indifference to the 
truth. If you find that a person had a strong suspicion that things 
were not what they seemed or that someone had withheld some important 
facts, yet shut his eyes for fear of what he would learn, you may 
conclude that he acted knowingly.''
  The knowing standard is clearly flexible enough to produce justice in 
our courts in all circumstances.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Stearns).
  Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman from Tennessee for 
yielding to me.
  I would say to the gentlewoman from Texas that I understand her 
feelings when she mentions she finds this bill an insult, and she sort 
of indicates it is perhaps because of what happened in the Committee on 
the Judiciary. She has mentioned that perhaps the rule, and she 
mentioned the NRA convention, but I still do not think that those kinds 
of statements necessarily apply and convince Members not to vote for 
this bill because, basically, H.R. 1036 already incorporates what the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Linda T. Sanchez) is providing under 
her amendment.
  I have to be honest. I think what she is saying is praiseworthy, but 
the amendment is not necessary because we already have in the bill the 
language that is needed.
  We have used the words ``negligent entrustment,'' and this is a legal 
term, and that term is used in the bill. Because of the way it is used 
in the bill, it automatically covers what the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Linda T. Sanchez) wants to put in her amendment as part 
of the bill, and I might read ``negligent entrustment'' just to clarify 
what the actual legal definition is, as defined.
  It is ``supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by 
another person when the seller knows or should know the person to whom 
the product is supplied is likely to use the product and, in fact, does 
use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical 
injury to the person and others.''
  The bill already allows suits for negligent entrustment or negligence 
per se or where a manufacturer or seller knowingly and willfully 
violates a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing 
of the product and the violation has a proximate cause of the harm for 
which relief is sought.
  In a nutshell, we have in H.R. 1036 all the necessary language to 
cover what the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Linda T. Sanchez) is 
talking about. So I urge my colleagues not to support the Sanchez 
amendment. It is unnecessary because H.R. 1036 already holds liable 
anyone who violates any State or Federal statute.
  The Sanchez amendment also eliminates a requirement that a violation 
of a Federal statute must actually cause an injury before liability can 
attach. So I urge my colleagues to vote no on the Sanchez amendment.
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield 30 seconds 
to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE. Mr. Chairman, I thank the distinguished gentlewoman 
for yielding to me.
  Let me quickly just cite for the gentleman, and I will not pose it in 
terms of a question for him to respond, but under section 3, subsection 
(b), any pending litigation against gun manufacturers, distributors and 
dealers would be immediately dismissed under this enactment. It might 
include actions that would come under the gentlewoman's particular 
amendment, and so if her amendment would be included, it would mean 
that any pending action that was based upon firearms in the hands of 
those suffering from mental illness or those who are drug addicted 
would continue.
  This gentleman wants those lawsuits to be extinguished and those 
injured to be denied their justice.
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such 
time as I may consume.
  I think it is important to clarify something that was stated by my 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle. They keep talking about 
negligent entrustment, but negligent entrustment liability only applies 
when someone knows that person is going to commit a crime. However, 
this amendment specifically speaks to a different type of mens rea. It 
speaks to the reasonable cause to believe standard. It does not 
require, as the current bill stands, the mens rea of knowingly or 
willfully, plus a conviction, in order to hold these distributors and 
manufacturers liable.

[[Page H2987]]

  I think the purpose of this amendment is strictly as an incentive to 
make sure that sellers and manufacturers and dealers are actually doing 
the criminal background checks that the law already requires of them; 
and again, I am talking about having a reasonable cause to believe that 
somebody is either addicted to drugs or has been mentally adjudicated 
as incompetent.
  I think that requiring a higher standard of proof in terms of the 
intent of the seller or the distributor, plus a conviction, denies 
legitimate plaintiffs the right to sue in civil court, and so I would 
urge my colleagues to please support this amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to 
the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Stearns).
  Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Chairman, maybe I could just have a colloquy with 
the gentlewoman on her amendment.
  Would my colleague not agree that the language dealing with negligent 
entrustment is not part of the bill, H.R. 1036?
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman 
yield?
  Mr. STEARNS. I yield to the gentlewoman from California.
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, it is part of the 
bill. My understanding it is a definition in part of the bill.
  Mr. STEARNS. Would the gentlewoman not agree that that term 
``negligent entrustment'' is fully understood under tort law?

                              {time}  1345

  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman 
will continue to yield, I would say no, I believe it is applied on a 
case-by-case basis under tort law.
  Mr. STEARNS. But the consensus is, when we read the gentlewoman's 
amendment, in fact everything she has asked for is already included in 
our bill. So we think the amendment, as praiseworthy as it might be, in 
effect it is already being spoken to and clarified in our bill, so we 
just do not think the gentlewoman's amendment is necessary.
  Can the gentlewoman define very clearly why the term ``negligent 
entrustment'' does not cover all that is necessary in tort law and why 
the gentlewoman's amendment would be needed with that already in 
existence?
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Well, if the intention is to 
cover the incidence that I am talking about, of dealers or sellers or 
manufacturers who have reasonable cause to believe, why not state that 
intention clearly in the legislation?
  My understanding is that the negligence per se definition section in 
the bill does not state those cases.
  Mr. STEARNS. Well, reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I disagree. 
Negligent entrustment, as I read the definition earlier, it is all laid 
out.
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. So we agree to disagree, in other 
words.
  Mr. STEARNS. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I urge a ``no'' vote 
on the Sanchez amendment.
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the 
balance of my time. In closing, I just want to say that if we had had 
the opportunity to bring these amendments up in subcommittee and to 
discuss them at length, I think we probably could have come to some 
agreement in terms of what cases we chose to cover by this piece of 
legislation and which cases we did not.
  However, we were not afforded that opportunity because the question 
was called and debate was cut off. Now we find ourselves here on the 
floor of the House debating amendments, a scant five, when we had 10 to 
15 to offer in subcommittee. This, in essence, cuts off the democratic 
process, which in essence does not give us the chance to meaningfully 
consider the amendments as a way to improve this bill.
  I urge that my colleagues vote ``yes'' on my amendment.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  As we have heard from the discussion, the provisions that have been 
mentioned are covered. I would encourage my colleagues to vote ``no'' 
on this amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Linda T. Sanchez).
  The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded 
vote.
  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings 
on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Linda 
T. Sanchez) will be postponed.
  It is now in order to consider amendment No. 4 printed in House 
Report 108-64.


                 Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Meehan

  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
  The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Amendment No. 4 offered by Mr. Meehan:
       In section 4(5)(A), strike clause (ii) and insert the 
     following:
       (ii) an action brought against a manufacturer, seller, or 
     trade association for negligence;
       In section 4(5)--
       (1) strike ``(A) In general.--'';
       (2) strike subparagraph (B); and
       (3) redesignate clauses (i) through (v) as subparagraphs 
     (A) through (E), respectively; and
       (4) move the matter preceding the provisions redesignated 
     by paragraph (3) of this amendment, and each of such 
     provisions, 2 ems to the left.
  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 181, the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan) and a member opposed each will control 10 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan).
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  (Mr. MEEHAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, I do not think any industry should be given 
blanket immunity for its negligence, especially when it results in the 
deaths of innocent people. My amendment would allow the victims of gun 
violence to recover damages from the manufacturers or sellers of 
firearms where their negligence allows guns to fall into the hands of 
criminals. It would ensure that manufacturers, distributors, and 
retailers are held responsible for their negligence just as every other 
industry and every other individual may be held responsible.
  Now, without my amendment, the bill would essentially immunize 
manufacturers from lawsuits from victims of gun violence, and it would 
allow these victims to sue retailers only under exceedingly narrow 
circumstances. Even if my colleagues think strict liability or rather 
expansive legal theories should not be available in gun cases, should 
we not all be able to agree that a well-settled set of principles of 
negligence should apply to guns in the same way that they apply to 
virtually every other context under State common law?
  As reported by the Committee on the Judiciary, the bill would bar 
suits against manufacturers entirely, and it would limit claims against 
retailers to theories based on negligent entrustment or negligence per 
se. The problem with negligent entrustment is that it would apply only 
where the person to whom the gun is supplied uses it in a manner 
involving an unreasonable risk or a physical injury to that person or 
to others. This means the retailers who negligently sells a gun to a 
straw purchaser would not be liable if the ultimate recipient uses the 
weapon to shoot a police officer, because straw purchasers transfer 
guns to criminals rather than using them themselves to commit the crime 
of violence themselves.
  So what does that mean? It means this bill really does immunize the 
entire chain of suppliers, even when they have reason to know that the 
weapons they sell will end up in the hands of criminals. The problem 
with negligence per se is that some States do not even recognize that 
doctrine. And the ones that do oftentimes require plaintiffs to show 
that the retailer has violated a specific statute or regulation that is 
expressly designed to protect people from the misuse of guns. This 
means that if the seller has reason

[[Page H2988]]

to think a buyer may give the gun to a criminal but the sale complies 
with statutory formalities, like the background check, negligence per 
se would not apply. This is the reason why my amendment is essential.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentlewoman from Pennsylvania (Ms. Hart) ask 
for time in opposition?
  Ms. HART. I rise in opposition, Mr. Chairman.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman is recognized for 10 minutes.
  Ms. HART. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Having lost the fight in Congress and in the States to deny the 
rights of law-abiding firearm owners and to prevent firearm ownership 
in general, the gun control lobby has pursued a novel path. They have 
begun to abuse the courts by filing frivolous lawsuits, which wastes 
time and money in attempts to ruin law-abiding manufacturers and 
dealers of lawful firearms.
  In fact, the city of Boston has already voluntarily dismissed its 
lawsuit against the firearms industry, stating that during the 
litigation the city has learned that members of the firearm industry 
have a long-standing commitment to reducing firearm accidents and to 
reducing criminal misuse of firearms; and also stating that the city 
and the industry have now concluded that their common goals can be best 
achieved through mutual cooperation and communication rather than 
through litigation, which has been expensive to both industry and 
taxpayers, time consuming, and distracting in this time of national 
crisis. That is last year in Boston.
  This bill would prevent such frivolous lawsuits while allowing suits 
for negligent entrustment and negligence per se, which are well defined 
in the bill. This amendment strikes at the specific negligence language 
and replaces it allowing any suit for general negligence, which is 
undefined in the amendment.
  This amendment guts the bill, Mr. Chairman. It would leave it up to 
any judge across the Nation to make a decision whether or not to 
single-handedly conjure up any random, brand-new theory of negligence, 
a theory that could bankrupt our Nation's firearm industry, seriously 
harming our fundamental right to bear arms, and also creating thousands 
of new unemployed who formerly worked in the firearms industry.
  It is a flawed amendment, Mr. Chairman; and it should be rejected.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Look, there is no need for a definition of what negligence is in this 
amendment because negligence has been established in case law all 
across this country in all 50 States. All 50 States have case law that 
determine what the standard of negligence is. This particular 
underlying bill tends to undermine the States' ability for people to go 
into court and be made whole that are victims of negligence under those 
individual State laws.
  Now, it may well be great in Boston that they decided not to follow 
through with a suit because it was frivolous. And I believe that to the 
extent that frivolous suits are dismissed, even against the gun 
companies, that is a fine thing and that is the way it should work. But 
let me give an example of why my amendment is necessary.
  Let us take for example the case of Ken McGuire and David Lemongello, 
two New Jersey police officers who were shot in the line of duty and at 
this moment in time are seriously injured. These officers have filed a 
civil action against a West Virginia pawnshop that had a clerk sell 12 
guns in one cash transaction to a suspicious straw purchaser. Twelve 
guns, cash transaction, suspicious straw purchaser.
  In fact, the deal was so suspicious that after the sale the pawnshop 
later called the ATF to report the sale. Sure enough, this gun 
trafficker sold the gun illegally to a known criminal who shot Officer 
McGuire and Officer Lemongello. None of the so-called ``exception to 
immunity'' confirmed by the committee's mark would prevent their suit 
from being dismissed under this bill.
  West Virginia law does not even recognize negligence per se, and the 
sale apparently complied with all of the relevant statutory 
requirements, even though the pawnshop's employee obviously thought the 
transaction was extremely suspicious. Their case would fail under the 
so-called negligent entrustment exception because they negligently sold 
guns to the straw purchaser, not the user of the gun.
  The exception for knowingly or willfully would not apply because the 
standard of willful intent is extremely difficult to meet, and the bill 
seems to suggest that liability arises only where the seller has actual 
knowledge that the buyer intends to use the gun to commit a crime.
  So this is just one example of why this amendment is needed in a case 
that I do not think anyone in this body would want to see dismissed 
because of the underlying bill in this case.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. HART. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  The gentleman claims that the bill has too narrow an opportunity for 
a legitimate lawsuit to be heard. We have already heard from a court in 
his home State suggesting that the current situation is too wide open. 
The language in the amendment makes it probably about equal to what it 
is today. My question would be, What then do we do?
  It is well settled that negligence per se is an accepted theory as 
well as negligent entrustment. It is clear that if a gun dealer sells a 
gun to someone who is a known criminal, that gun dealer would be liable 
under the bill. This amendment is, therefore, not necessary.
  All of the frivolous lawsuits filed, however, have been under some 
type of general negligence theory. Many activists claim that 
manufacturers are negligent for not requiring extraordinarily 
burdensome and counterproductive schemes in addition to existing legal 
requirements. These activists may claim that any gun designed to suit 
the needs of gun buyers or the rules enacted by legislatures in our 
democracy, rather than their own policy preferences, is a sign of 
negligence. Some activists even claim that when the industry is 
successful in selling firearms in a specific region they are guilty of 
negligent oversupply and should reduce sales.
  This bill is narrowly tailored to block these junk lawsuits while 
allowing legitimate causes of action, such as the gentleman described, 
to move forward. The Meehan amendment would unravel the logic of the 
bill and, therefore, take us back to square one where frivolous suits 
are out of hand.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, will the gentlewoman yield?
  Ms. HART. I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, let me ask a question. What about the case 
of Ken McGuire and David Lemongello, two New Jersey police officers 
shot in the line of duty and seriously injured at this moment in time? 
They want to file a civil suit. Is that a frivolous case suit, and 
should they not have a right to go in a State court in New Jersey and 
have a judge hear the case and hear the facts of the case? And if the 
pawnshop is found guilty, should they not have a remedy in common law 
in New Jersey?

                              {time}  1400

  Ms. HART. If there is a theory under which the pawnshop is reasonably 
liable, yes. But just because there is injury does not mean that the 
seller of the firearm is liable. That is the theory that a lot of these 
frivolous suits are based on. There is no question that many people who 
file suits have legitimate injury. The question is, who is liable. In 
most of these cases, it is not the gun dealer that is liable.
  Mr. MEEHAN. If the gentlewoman would continue to yield, what about 
this case? There is a pawnshop where somebody comes in and buys 12 
guns, and they buy them all with cash and then go out and give them to 
known criminals. In fact, the person who sold the guns was so 
suspicious that they called the ATF and said, there was a guy in here 
who bought 12 guns, they gave me cash, and now they left.
  Would the gentlewoman say that is more than a frivolous lawsuit?
  Ms. HART. I would tell the gentleman, yes. In this country today, it 
is

[[Page H2989]]

required that there be background checks. It is required that those who 
purchase firearms use them properly. They are liable themselves if they 
do not use them properly, they are liable themselves if they sell them 
illegally, and the seller is liable if they sell them illegally.
  Therefore, in the gentleman's case, there is no problem if they sell 
them legally.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I would suggest that Officers Ken McGuire and David Lemongello from 
New Jersey have a right to have their case heard, and their case should 
not be thrown out because of this underlying bill, which would take 
away their right to be heard because somehow this person who sold the 
guns illegally did not have a background check. In this instance, the 
person who sold them was suspicious and they called the ATF. Maybe that 
example is not good enough, so let me provide another example of a suit 
against a negligent gun manufacturer.
  Let us consider the manufacturers that supply weapons to dealers who 
repeatedly sell the guns to straw buyers, and then directly to violent 
criminals.
  Robert Ricker, a former gun industry insider, has alleged that it is 
common knowledge within the gun industry that certain sellers routinely 
engage in straw purchases. Ricker says manufacturers know who the 
problem dealers are because they supply the data to the ATF that they 
use to trace the guns that are used back to retailers. I have not heard 
Mr. Ricker testify, nor have I had access to any of the discovery in 
any of these cases, but I think that is exactly why we need to allow 
the suits to proceed, to get to the bottom line what information gun 
makers and distributors have about how their firearms wind up being 
used in crime.
  Under this bill, no jury will ever test the credibility of Mr. 
Ricker's statements, and we may never find out what kind of 
manufacturer data is about that shows patterns of criminal activity 
associated with specific retailers. Let us at least give an opportunity 
for the victims of crime, for the people of this country to hear 
whether or not Mr. Ricker's statements are credible and stand up in a 
court of law where a person has a right to be heard.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. HART. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Wyoming (Mrs. Cubin).
  (Mrs. CUBIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend her 
remarks.)
  Mrs. CUBIN. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to this 
amendment and all of the other amendments which have been offered today 
on this bill, and I encourage Members to vote against the amendments 
and for the bill.
  I am the mother of two sons. One time when they were young, little 
boys, the boys and I were alone at night and we had a burglar break 
into our house. The fear that caused me to find out that someone had 
been in my house, rifling through my house, really made me take a look 
at self-defense and my right to own and bear arms. I became a big 
advocate of that at that time.
  I appreciate all of the scenarios the other side is throwing out 
about why we need this amendment, because I agree, there are too many 
deaths due to gunshot wounds in this country. Too many children are 
dying because they are getting ahold of weapons that were legally 
owned, but were not taken care of correctly and were not separated from 
the ammunition. That is happening, and that is a problem. But these 
folks have entirely the wrong answer.
  We need a common-sense, balanced answer to treating problems like 
this, and it does not involve taking away our second amendment, our 
right to own and defend ourselves. We not only deserve to be defended 
from terrorists home and abroad, but we also deserve to be able to buy 
guns to defend ourselves in our own home.
  My sons are 25 and 30. They are blond-haired and blue-eyed. One 
amendment today said we could not sell guns to anybody under drug 
treatment. So does that mean if you go into a black community, you 
cannot sell a gun to any black person, or does that mean because my----
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I demand that the words of the gentlewoman 
from Wyoming (Mrs. Cubin) be taken down.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. Isakson). The gentlewoman from Wyoming 
will suspend and will be seated. The Clerk will report the words.

                              {time}  1415

  For what purpose does the gentlewoman from Wyoming rise?
  Mrs. CUBIN. Mr. Chairman, I wanted to point out that I did not break 
any rulings of the House, but I also want to point out just as a fellow 
Member that I certainly would never say anything or even think anything 
that would offend my neighbors on the other side, and well, obviously 
it did happen. So I would like to apologize to my colleague for his 
sensitivities, but certainly I would never do that. So I would like to 
continue on with my remarks. But the next question I wanted to ask is, 
does that amendment mean----
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentlewoman will suspend. Did the Chair 
correctly understand the gentlewoman's statement to say that the 
gentlewoman would withdraw the words?
  Mrs. CUBIN. No, I will not withdraw the words.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Did the Chair understand the gentlewoman to 
say that the gentlewoman apologized if the words were of offense to any 
Member of the House?
  Mrs. CUBIN. Yes. Yes, I did apologize if the words were offensive to 
anyone in the House. But I will not say I broke rules of the House. I 
did not. I apologized because as a person I want to do that.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentlewoman will suspend.
  The Chair would ask the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt), the 
gentlewoman has apologized to anyone in the House to whom her words 
would have been offensive, and the gentleman has asked those words to 
be taken down. Does the gentleman insist on his position, or does the 
gentleman withdraw his demand?
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I do not need the gentlewoman to apologize 
for my sensibilities. She needs to be apologizing for using words that 
are insulting to the entire African American race. And if that is what 
she is doing, then I gracefully accept her apology. But if she is 
saying that this is somehow because I am sensitive to those words, then 
I will not.
  Mrs. CUBIN. Mr. Chairman, I do not withdraw my words.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. For both Members' edification and the 
Chair's, it is the understanding of the Chair that the gentlewoman from 
Wyoming (Mrs. Cubin) did not ask unanimous consent to withdraw her 
words. The gentlewoman from Wyoming (Mrs. Cubin) did apologize to any 
Member in the House to whom there was offense.
  Mr. WATT. That is not what she said, Mr. Chairman.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Does the gentleman insist the words be 
taken down?
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I do insist, yes.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will transcribe and report the 
words.
  The Clerk read as follows:
  My sons are 25 and 30, they are blonde haired and blue eyed. One 
amendment today said we could not sell guns to anybody under drug 
treatment. So does that mean that if you go into a black community, you 
cannot sell a gun to any black person or does that mean because my----
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Committee will rise.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
LaHood) having assumed the chair, Mr. Isakson, Chairman pro tempore of 
the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported 
that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 
1036) to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or 
continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of 
firearms or ammunition for damages resulting from the misuse of their 
products by others, certain words used in debate were objected to and 
on request were taken down and read at the

[[Page H2990]]

Clerk's desk, and he herewith reported the same to the House.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the words objected to 
in the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union.
  The Clerk read as follows:
  My sons are 25 and 30, they are blonde haired and blue eyed. One 
amendment today said we could not sell guns to anybody under drug 
treatment. So does that mean that if you go into a black community, you 
cannot sell a gun to any black person or does that mean because my----
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair finds that the words are not 
unparliamentary under the rules and precedents of the House.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Speaker, I appeal the ruling of the Chair.


              Motion to Table Offered by Mr. Sensenbrenner

  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I move to lay the appeal on the 
table.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) to lay on the table the 
appeal of the ruling of the Chair.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.


                             Recorded Vote

  Mr. WATT. Mr. Speaker, I demand a recorded vote.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 227, 
noes 195, answered ``present'' 1, not voting 11, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 119]

                               AYES--227

     Aderholt
     Akin
     Bachus
     Baker
     Ballenger
     Barrett (SC)
     Bartlett (MD)
     Barton (TX)
     Bass
     Beauprez
     Bereuter
     Biggert
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (UT)
     Blackburn
     Blunt
     Boehlert
     Boehner
     Bonilla
     Bonner
     Bono
     Boozman
     Boucher
     Bradley (NH)
     Brady (TX)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Burgess
     Burns
     Burr
     Burton (IN)
     Buyer
     Calvert
     Camp
     Cannon
     Cantor
     Capito
     Carter
     Castle
     Chabot
     Chocola
     Coble
     Cole
     Collins
     Combest
     Cox
     Crane
     Crenshaw
     Cubin
     Culberson
     Cunningham
     Davis, Jo Ann
     Davis, Tom
     Deal (GA)
     DeLay
     DeMint
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     Dingell
     Doolittle
     Dreier
     Duncan
     Dunn
     Ehlers
     Emerson
     English
     Everett
     Feeney
     Ferguson
     Flake
     Fletcher
     Foley
     Forbes
     Fossella
     Frank (MA)
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gallegly
     Garrett (NJ)
     Gerlach
     Gibbons
     Gilchrest
     Gillmor
     Gingrey
     Goode
     Goodlatte
     Goss
     Granger
     Graves
     Green (WI)
     Greenwood
     Gutknecht
     Harris
     Hart
     Hastings (WA)
     Hayes
     Hayworth
     Hensarling
     Herger
     Hobson
     Hoekstra
     Hostettler
     Hulshof
     Hunter
     Isakson
     Issa
     Istook
     Janklow
     Jenkins
     Johnson (CT)
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones (NC)
     Keller
     Kelly
     Kennedy (MN)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Kirk
     Kline
     Knollenberg
     Kolbe
     LaHood
     Latham
     LaTourette
     Leach
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Linder
     LoBiondo
     Manzullo
     McCotter
     McCrery
     McHugh
     McInnis
     McKeon
     Mica
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Moran (KS)
     Murphy
     Musgrave
     Myrick
     Nethercutt
     Ney
     Northup
     Norwood
     Nunes
     Nussle
     Obey
     Osborne
     Ose
     Otter
     Oxley
     Paul
     Pearce
     Pence
     Peterson (PA)
     Petri
     Pickering
     Pitts
     Platts
     Pombo
     Porter
     Portman
     Pryce (OH)
     Putnam
     Quinn
     Radanovich
     Ramstad
     Regula
     Rehberg
     Renzi
     Reynolds
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Royce
     Ryan (WI)
     Saxton
     Schrock
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shadegg
     Shaw
     Shays
     Sherwood
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simmons
     Simpson
     Smith (MI)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Souder
     Stearns
     Sullivan
     Sweeney
     Tancredo
     Tauzin
     Taylor (NC)
     Terry
     Thomas
     Thornberry
     Tiahrt
     Tiberi
     Toomey
     Turner (OH)
     Upton
     Vitter
     Walden (OR)
     Walsh
     Wamp
     Weldon (FL)
     Weldon (PA)
     Weller
     Whitfield
     Wicker
     Wilson (NM)
     Wilson (SC)
     Wolf
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)

                               NOES--195

     Ackerman
     Alexander
     Allen
     Andrews
     Baca
     Baird
     Baldwin
     Ballance
     Becerra
     Bell
     Berkley
     Berman
     Berry
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Boswell
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (OH)
     Brown, Corrine
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardin
     Cardoza
     Carson (IN)
     Carson (OK)
     Case
     Clay
     Clyburn
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Costello
     Cramer
     Crowley
     Cummings
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (FL)
     Davis (IL)
     Davis (TN)
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     DeLauro
     Deutsch
     Dicks
     Doggett
     Dooley (CA)
     Doyle
     Edwards
     Emanuel
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Etheridge
     Evans
     Farr
     Fattah
     Filner
     Ford
     Frost
     Gonzalez
     Gordon
     Green (TX)
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hall
     Harman
     Hastings (FL)
     Hill
     Hinchey
     Hinojosa
     Hoeffel
     Holden
     Holt
     Honda
     Hooley (OR)
     Hoyer
     Inslee
     Israel
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Jefferson
     John
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones (OH)
     Kanjorski
     Kaptur
     Kennedy (RI)
     Kildee
     Kilpatrick
     Kind
     Kleczka
     Kucinich
     Lampson
     Langevin
     Lantos
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lipinski
     Lofgren
     Lowey
     Lucas (KY)
     Lynch
     Majette
     Maloney
     Markey
     Marshall
     Matheson
     Matsui
     McCarthy (NY)
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McIntyre
     McNulty
     Meehan
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Menendez
     Michaud
     Millender-McDonald
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Mollohan
     Moore
     Moran (VA)
     Murtha
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal (MA)
     Oberstar
     Olver
     Ortiz
     Owens
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Peterson (MN)
     Pomeroy
     Price (NC)
     Rahall
     Rangel
     Reyes
     Rodriguez
     Ross
     Rothman
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Sabo
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Sanders
     Sandlin
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Scott (GA)
     Scott (VA)
     Serrano
     Sherman
     Skelton
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Snyder
     Solis
     Spratt
     Stark
     Stenholm
     Stupak
     Tanner
     Tauscher
     Taylor (MS)
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tierney
     Towns
     Turner (TX)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Van Hollen
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Waters
     Watson
     Watt
     Waxman
     Weiner
     Wexler
     Woolsey
     Wu
     Wynn

                        ANSWERED ``PRESENT''--1

       
     Abercrombie
       

                             NOT VOTING--11

     Boyd
     Delahunt
     Gephardt
     Hefley
     Houghton
     Hyde
     Lewis (GA)
     Lucas (OK)
     McCarthy (MO)
     Ryun (KS)
     Strickland


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaHood) (during the vote). Members are 
reminded there are 2 minutes remaining on this vote.

                              {time}  1453

  Messrs. BISHOP of New York, CARSON of Oklahoma, and HALL changed 
their vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''
  Mr. OXLEY changed his vote from ``no'' to ``aye.''
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE changed his vote from ``no'' to ``present.''
  So the motion to table was agreed to.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Committee will resume its sitting.
  Accordingly the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole 
House on the State of the Union for the further consideration of the 
bill, H.R. 1036, with Mr. Quinn (Chairman pro tempore) in the Chair.
  (Mrs. CUBIN asked and was given permission to speak out of order.)


                      Stereotyping Is Always Wrong

  Mrs. CUBIN. Mr. Chairman, I do appreciate the Chair's ruling and the 
fact that it was upheld, but this is not something that I can just 
leave as it is, because I do not think that the situation that just 
occurred is good for the body, and it is not good for the individual 
people involved in it.
  My words intended to state, and if I had been able to finish my 
sentence and my thought, they would have stated that I do not believe 
in stereotyping anyone, any time, ever, for anything. That is what I 
believe, and I believe that from the bottom of my heart. I do 
apologize, not just to the gentleman from North Carolina. I apologize 
to everyone who may have been hurt in any way or insulted because of my 
remarks. But I really intend only, only to make the point, and I will 
speak on this bill later, but to make the point that stereotyping is 
always wrong. It does not matter who it is; it is always a wrong thing 
to do.
  I thank the Chairman, and I thank the gentleman for allowing me to 
have the time to address the body.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan), who has 2 minutes remaining.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.
  Mr. Chairman, my amendment would not gut the underlying bill. It 
would still bar claims based on strict liability. Without my amendment, 
there is

[[Page H2991]]

no way to sue for negligence cases of straw purchases. Do not forget 
the case of Ken McGuire and David Lemongello, two New Jersey police 
officers who were shot in the line of duty and seriously injured. They 
filed a civil action in West Virginia because a pawnshop clerk sold 12 
guns for cash to a straw purchaser. Those two police officers ought to 
have the right to have their case heard in court in West Virginia. This 
case would deny them, because the purchaser of the guns was a straw 
purchaser.
  Ms. HART. Mr. Chairman, I wish to reserve the right to close.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield the remainder of my time to the 
gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. Langevin), a distinguished member of 
the Committee on Armed Services.

                              {time}  1500

  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding time 
to me.
  Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the efforts of the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan) to hold gun dealers and manufacturers truly 
accountable for negligence and strongly support his amendment.
  Our Nation is familiar with cases of gun dealers who sell to 
criminals and claim ignorance about their intentions. Bullseye Shooter 
Supply, the Washington State gun dealer that was the source of the 
sniper rifle allegedly used by John Mohammed and John Lee Malvo in the 
D.C. sniper shootings, says it cannot account for that weapon, or 237 
other guns in its inventory. We should be cracking down on deadbeat gun 
dealers, not exempting them from liability.
  I have introduced legislation to improve enforcement and inspection 
of these facilities, and I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Meehan) for his support of that measure and for drawing attention to 
this matter with his amendment today.
  I strongly urge my colleagues to support the Meehan amendment.
  Ms. HART. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, the amendment is not helpful to the cause that the 
gentleman appears to be seeking to address. The amendment actually 
removes the cause of action for negligent entrustment, which means that 
someone who should have known has entrusted a firearm to someone who is 
going to do damage with it.
  This bill protects the right to sue for that reason. This bill 
protects the right to sue for negligence, per se. This bill is simply 
addressing an issue that is very widespread in this Nation, that is, 
suits that are intended to bankrupt gun dealers, gun manufacturers; and 
therefore, put out of business small business people and out of work 
many people across the Nation who depend upon a very strong firearms 
industry and recreational use of firearms, safe and legal.
  Mr. Chairman, there is a better way to deal with the issue of illegal 
use of firearms, which is what the gentleman has cited in his examples. 
There is a better way to control gun crimes. These lawsuits do not 
help. These lawsuits, in fact, will bankrupt the companies that need to 
pay legitimate lawsuits.
  We need to enforce the many gun laws that are currently on the books. 
I am proud to support Project Safe Neighborhoods, a proven and common-
sense way to combat gun violence. Project Safe Neighborhoods is 
operating in 94 locations across the country. It is a network of 
Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials working together to 
fight gun crime. The program works. Increases in prosecution, over 20 
percent, occurred last year.
  We must combat gun crimes by enforcing our gun laws, that is what 
works, not with ridiculous and frivolous lawsuits. H.R. 1036, as it is, 
precludes frivolous lawsuits; it protects the rights of America's law-
abiding manufacturers, dealers, and owners of firearms. It makes sure 
those who use them illegally, who sell them illegally, who offer them 
to someone else illegally are taken care of through the courts.
  What we do here, Mr. Chairman, is create a bill that will allow 
legitimate suits, curb frivolous suits, and allow recovery by those who 
really need it.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. Quinn). All time has expired.
  The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan).
  The question was taken; and the Chairman pro tempore announced that 
the noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan) will be postponed.
  It is now in order to consider amendment No. 5 printed in House 
Report 108-64.


                  Amendment No. 5 Offered by Mr. Watt

  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I offer amendment No. 5.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate amendment No. 5.
  The text of amendment No. 5 is as follows:

       Amendment No. 5 offered by Mr. Watt:
       In section 2(a)(2), strike ``, distributors, dealers, and 
     importers''.
       In section 2(a)(3)--
       (1) strike ``, importation, possession, sale, and use''; 
     and
       (2) strike ``are'' and insert ``is''.
       In section 2(a)(4), strike ``, manufacture, marketing, 
     distribution, importation, or sale to the public'' and insert 
     ``and manufacture''.
       In section 2(a)(5), strike ``an entire industry'' and 
     insert ``firearm and ammunition manufacturers''.
       In section 2(b)(1)--
       (1) strike ``, distributors, dealers, and importers''; and
       (2) strike ``or unlawful''.
       In section 2(b)(5), strike ``, distributors, dealers, and 
     importers of firearms or ammunition products, and trade 
     associations,'' and insert ``of firearms or ammunition 
     products''.
       In section 4(1), strike ``, and, as applied'' and all that 
     follows and insert a period.
       In section 4(5)(A)--
       (1) strike ``(A) In general.--'';
       (2) strike ``or seller of a qualified product, or a trade 
     association,'';
       (3) strike ``or unlawful'';
       (4) strike clauses (i) and (ii);
       (5) in clause (iii)--
       (A) strike ``or seller''; and
       (B) strike ``sale or marketing'' and insert ``design or 
     manufacture''; and
       (6) redesignate and indent clauses (iii) through
       (v) as subparagraphs (A) through (C), respectively.
       In section 4(5), strike subparagraph (B).
       In section 4, strike paragraphs (6) and (8) and redesignate 
     paragraph (7) as paragraph (6).
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 181, the 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt) and a Member opposed each will 
control 10 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt).
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I would say to my colleagues that the effect of this 
amendment would be to limit the application of this bill to 
manufacturers only.
  As I said during the brief debate that we had in the committee, the 
Committee on the Judiciary, on this bill, there are, in fact, some 
manufacturers who are attempting to address concerns that the public 
has about gun safety. Some of them are trying to develop safety locks. 
Some are trying to develop computerized techniques for ownership 
identification.
  If there is a rationale for this bill, which I do not believe there 
is, the rationale would be to reward those manufacturers who are acting 
responsibly. Unfortunately, the effect of this bill will be to reward 
them and incentivize them to act irresponsibly. I think that is a very, 
very unfortunate consequence of this bill.
  On the other hand, most of the outrageous stories that we hear about 
irresponsibility are not necessarily about the manufacturers of guns; 
they are about dealers and sellers who refuse to acknowledge anything 
other than their own profit motives. They want, when someone walks into 
their store, when somebody walks into their pawnshop, when somebody 
approaches them with some money, they want that money and they do not 
care what happens after that. We have heard example after example after 
example of that kind of irresponsibility on the part of dealers.
  Now, it is unfortunate that this bill covers not only manufacturers, 
it covers dealers, sellers, importers, the whole range of providers 
that put these guns into the stream of commerce. If there is any 
rationale for the bill, it is for the manufacturers.

[[Page H2992]]

  I do not think we ought to be excusing irresponsible dealers, such as 
the dealer who ignored the frequent disappearance of guns from his 
inventory. One of hundreds of missing guns, which were never reported 
missing despite having been prominently displayed in the store, ends up 
being used in the sniper attacks in Washington. This bill would 
immunize that dealer from liability. That is irresponsible.
  Mr. Chairman, let us have a debate about those manufacturers who are 
being responsible. I applaud their activities. Perhaps we could make a 
reasonable argument that they should be immunized from liability 
because they are making a product that is legal. I have heard that 
argument. I do not subscribe to it, but at least it has some 
credibility to it. But when we start immunizing everybody in the stream 
of commerce regardless of how responsible or irresponsible they are, 
that is where I draw the line.
  Mr. Chairman, I would encourage a ``yes'' vote on my amendment, which 
limits the impact of this bill to manufacturers only.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentleman from Utah (Mr. Cannon) is 
recognized for 10 minutes.
  (Mr. CANNON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, the Watt amendment strikes language throughout the bill 
protecting dealers and importers of firearms, as well as trade 
associations. Under the amendment of the gentleman from North Carolina 
(Mr. Watt), only firearms manufacturers would receive protection from 
lawsuits based on criminal misuse of their product by a third party. 
This amendment would gut the bill and the firearms industry.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Weldon).
  Mr. WELDON of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for 
yielding time to me.
  As one of the 250 cosponsors of H.R. 1036, the Protection of Lawful 
Commerce in Arms Act, I rise in strong support of this bill and against 
this amendment.
  The right of law-abiding citizens to purchase and own firearms is 
guaranteed in the second amendment. Those behind these lawsuits have 
one aim, and that is to undermine the guarantee in the Bill of Rights.
  As we speak, anti-second amendment organizations are shopping around 
for sympathetic judges who will be willing to rule that firearms 
manufacturers are liable for individuals using guns in the commission 
of crimes. While virtually every lawsuit brought against gun 
manufacturers has been thrown out of court, it is only a matter of time 
until a liberal judge, sympathetic to the anti-second amendment lobby, 
rules in their favor.
  The aim of these suits is to tie up firearms manufacturers in court 
and raise the cost of firearms to those who purchase them legally. The 
only end result of these lawsuits would be a larger underground market 
in firearms.
  Defenders in these lawsuits will say it is about justice for crime 
victims. The true impetus behind these lawsuits, however, is to bypass 
the Congress, the will of the American people, and to enact de facto 
gun control by using the courts.
  Gun control advocates have come to realize that they have very little 
chance of moving their anti-second amendment agenda through Congress, 
so they have turned to excessive lawsuits and the courts. This 
legislation not only will not protect gun distributors who do not 
follow the strict laws regarding firearms; it will also not protect 
manufacturers that sell defective products. It merely protects firearms 
manufacturers who are abiding by the law from frivolous lawsuits 
designed to bankrupt legal, law-abiding gun manufacturers.
  No one would think of holding GM responsible for an accident caused 
by a drunk driver, or Louisville Slugger responsible for someone using 
a baseball bat in the commission of a crime. So why should law-abiding 
firearms manufacturers be punished for criminals using their products 
illegally?
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Rush).
  Mr. RUSH. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman for yielding 
time to me. I rise to support the Watt amendment and to oppose passage 
of the irresponsible and shameful underlying bill.
  Mr. Chairman, I fully understand that many sponsors of this bill have 
progun constituents who have been unrelenting in their blind fight to 
preserve and to expand their ability to bear arms.
  I can appreciate the willingness of any Representative to consider 
the interests of his or her constituents. But, Mr. Chairman, what I 
cannot appreciate is the willingness of some to support legislation 
that so maliciously attacks the will of my constituents to bring 
legitimate actions before their individual State courts.
  What I cannot appreciate is the unwillingness of the majority to 
allow consideration of amendments at committee. It is appalling and 
shameful that a bill which may have such far-reaching consequences for 
so many did not enjoy the consideration that it deserves. And what I 
cannot appreciate is the emboldened eagerness of some Representatives 
to sponsor legislation that so clearly places the special interests of 
the gun lobby ahead of the vital interests of the American people.
  Mr. Chairman, I am aware that the sponsors of this bill closed the 
so-called ``negligent entrustment'' loophole. But if this bill is 
passed, no supporter, and I repeat, no supporter should walk away 
believing that the tragedies committed and contemplated under the 
original bill will not happen under this one.
  I would ask the Members of this body to consider the case of an 
Illinois gun dealer who should have known that 72 mostly identical guns 
that he sold to an unlicensed gun trafficker were not for personal use. 
One of those guns was used by Benjamin Smith, a white supremacist who 
drove through Chicago and Indiana, randomly shooting blacks and Jews, 
including former Northwestern University basketball coach Ricky 
Byrdsong.
  Indeed, Mr. Speaker, if this bill passes, we in Congress will be no 
better than the unscrupulous and irresponsible gun dealer who turned a 
blind eye to the violence and mayhem that his actions ultimately 
caused.
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, in response to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Rush), 
who calls this bill irresponsible and shameful, let me just point out 
that a gun dealer who does wrong things is still going to be liable 
under this bill. A very large majority of Members of this body have 
already cosponsored the bill, just in refutation.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Wyoming (Mrs. 
Cubin).

                              {time}  1515

  Mrs. CUBIN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out that the laws we 
have in existence today are very, very adequate to take care of all the 
situations that have been brought up by Members on the other side if 
they are enforced.
  The changes that need to be made in this country are to do things 
like to fund drug treatment programs, to fund the war on drugs, to help 
single parents be able to find time to give guidance to their children, 
to have doctors not be afraid to ask their patients if they have guns 
in their house, and if they have guns in their house, how do they store 
them. They ask every other health care issue about patients.
  We need to change our society, and we need to acknowledge that gun 
ownership is not an unhealthy thing, but what is unhealthy is not 
enforcing the laws that we have on the books right now; and the laws 
that we have are totally adequate.
  I urge my fellow Members to reject this amendment and support this 
bill and protect our second amendment rights.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Ohio 
(Mrs. Jones).
  Mrs. JONES of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the gentleman 
from North Carolina (Mr. Watt) for yielding me time.
  As I sat here on the floor today, the spirit and the greatness of 
great trial

[[Page H2993]]

judges and great trial lawyers have been disparaged by a claim that we 
are just seeking dollars on behalf of our constituents and our clients.
  I would say I support the amendment of the gentleman from North 
Carolina (Mr. Watt) because it does, in fact, limit the responsibility 
against manufacturers of guns and those who have made steps to cure the 
dilemma or the difficulty or the dangerousness of guns. But I would 
suggest that if the laws are sufficient, then give trial judges and 
give trial lawyers the ability to bring their claims on behalf of their 
clients and let us proceed as we have done. I support the Watt 
amendment.
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield to myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, in response to the gentlewoman from Ohio (Mrs. Jones), 
this is not about trial lawyers and their profits. That would come 
under the rubric maybe of asbestos where they are taking huge returns 
compared to the minor returns that the individuals are taking.
  Mrs. JONES of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. CANNON. I yield to the gentlewoman from Ohio.
  Mrs. JONES of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, I am only responding to the 
statement of another Member that disparaged the faith and loyalty of 
trial lawyers on the floor just before I got up.
  Mr. CANNON. Reclaiming my time, this is not a bill that deals with 
that issue, let me point out for clarifications purposes, but it is 
about people who would destroy an industry using the thousand cuts of 
litigation.
  Mr. John Coale, one of the personal injury lawyers suing the firearms 
industry, told The Washington Post: ``The legal fees alone are enough 
to bankrupt the industry.'' That is what is going on that we are trying 
to deal with here with this legislation.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 3\1/4\ minutes to the gentleman from Florida 
(Mr. Stearns), the author of the underlying bill.
  (Mr. STEARNS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague from Utah (Mr. 
Cannon) for yielding me time.
  Let me say to my colleagues that the grievances that you have perhaps 
with the way the rule was developed or the procedure is really not a 
reason to vote against this bill. And I rise against the Watt 
amendment.
  Local dealers or distributors are often sued simply to prevent 
removal of a case to a Federal court. Should trade associations be sued 
under conspiracy theories of industry behavior? I mean, that would 
create a chilling effect on advocacy of their membership, their 
interests, their activity, which is clearly protected by the first 
amendment.
  The Watt amendment would allow them to be sued, local dealers, trade 
association. So I think it is clear, the Watt amendment would actually 
hurt the bill.
  Let me call your attention as we conclude this debate to my chart 
here which shows that 31 States have recognized the absurdity of these 
lawsuits which are no different from the ridiculous lawsuits we saw 
filed against many other cases including the food industry. The goal is 
to cease this attempt at regulation through lawsuits, and that is why 
these 31 State passed pretty much the same bill that we have here on 
the floor today.
  The second chart I will show you examples where cases are dismissed. 
This is just one of many charts I could have up here, 30 or 40 cases. 
For example, in Bridgeport where 21 manufacturers and distributors and 
12 dealers and three were sued for negligent distribution, deceptive 
advertising, defective design, nuisance, conspiracy and unjust 
enrichment, unjust enrichment. Now, they proceeded but when they got 
not too far along, they were dismissed. And the Supreme Court of 
Connecticut affirmed that.
  So I would say to all my colleagues that the States have recognized 
this, and that is why there are 31 States that have supported the 
language in this bill.
  Let me just read what the judge in the lawsuit against the firearm 
industry in the City of Bridgeport said. What has happened here, the 
people who are suing ``have envisioned the dawning of a new age of 
litigation.'' A new age of litigation, during which the gun industry, 
the liquor industry, the purveyors of junk food would follow the 
tobacco industry in reimbursing government expenditures. So taxpayers 
would have to pay at the local level, at the municipal level, at the 
State level to sue gun dealers, associations, gun manufacturers, all on 
the basis of unjust enrichment, deceptive advertising.
  So I conclude, I believe this bill is responsible. Attempting to 
bankrupt a legal American industry through junk lawsuits is not. This 
bill protects legal actors while allowing suits to continue against 
those who break the law. It is a good balance, a fair bill; and I urge 
its passage.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. Quinn). The Chair would remind Members 
that the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt) has 2\1/2\ minutes 
remaining. The gentleman from Utah (Mr. Cannon) has 1\3/4\ minutes 
remaining, and the gentleman from Utah reserves the right to close.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt).
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I am prepared to close if the gentleman does 
not have other speakers.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Does the gentleman from Utah (Mr. Cannon) 
have further speakers?
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I have one further speaker, and then I will 
close.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 30 seconds to the gentlewoman from Colorado 
(Mrs. Musgrave).
  Mrs. MUSGRAVE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment.
  This amendments paints all dealers with a very broad brush. In fact, 
every one of us knows that all retail gun sales are subject to a 
Federal criminal background check, either directly by the FBI or by a 
system that the individual States use. If a dealer violates any Federal 
or State law on gun sales, it loses its protection under this bill. If 
retailers are sued out of business, the protection for the 
manufacturers would be absolutely meaningless. This is a blatant attack 
on our second amendment rights and on our law-abiding citizens.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. 
Watt) has 2\1/2\ minutes remaining.
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the remainder of my time.
  Mr. Chairman, let me say that if we want to protect dealers simply 
because they comply with the letter of the law, even though they know 
that they are making irresponsible decisions such as in the case of the 
officer, Officer Lemongello, who was shot by a gun that was sold by a 
dealer, they did follow all of the black letter of the law; but at the 
same time they knew that they were selling the guns not to the person 
who bought them, to the female person who bought the guns, but to the 
male person who was in there selecting the guns and identifying them. 
And they were so concerned that as soon as they walked out of the store 
they called ATF and said we have done something irresponsible, even 
though they had complied with the law.
  Now, all we are trying to do is make dealers and everybody throughout 
the process be responsible. And if we want to immunize that kind of 
conduct, then, I mean, I guess you are going to vote for this bill. 
Because that is what it does. But I am telling you we are being 
irresponsible when we do that. And if we really want to reward people 
who are trying to deal with gun violence, then we cannot keep rewarding 
dealers who act irresponsibly knowing that they act irresponsibly, 
importers, sellers. Perhaps there is a rationale for protecting 
manufacturers who have demonstrated a willingness to try to act 
responsibly. Some of them are trying to do the trigger lock thing, 
trying to do computerized identification. I think this bill is going to 
set them back because basically once we pass this bill, they do not 
have any incentive to even continue to do that.
  But if there is anybody who has a rationale, it perhaps is the 
manufacturers; and that is what this amendment would do, limit the 
effects of the bill to the manufacturers. I encourage my colleagues to 
support the amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentleman from Utah (Mr. Cannon) has 
1\1/4\ minutes remaining, and he has the right to close.
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

[[Page H2994]]

  Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out we have heard much 
characterization of the dealer who sold the gun to the person who ended 
up getting the gun to the criminal who shot Officer Lemongello. Let me 
point out that if the characterization that has been overwrought and 
overstated by the opposition is correct, then there is a claim under 
the law that is not preempted by this bill for Mr. Lemongello to seek 
redress.
  The fact is this bill does not take away the traditional common-law 
claims for negligent entrustment and violations of law. It only makes 
it clear that frivolous lawsuits cannot proceed erratically around the 
country.
  Mr. Chairman, I would like to read two quotes to finish up. First of 
all, let me point out that the industry has been responsible.
  When the city of Boston voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit against the 
firearms industry, they said, ``During litigation the city has learned 
that the members of the firearm industry have a long-standing 
commitment to reducing firearm accidents and reducing criminal misuse 
of firearms.'' And they go on and make further points.
  So what is this bill all about? What is the litigation all about that 
we are trying to deal with in this bill. It is about what John Coale 
said: ``The legal fees alone are enough to bankrupt the industry.''
  What we want to do is protect the industry in America. I urge the 
Members to vote against this amendment and other amendments and support 
the underlying bill.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Chairman, this legislation is part of a 
gun industry effort to preempt cities and counties across the United 
States from exercising their legal right to reform dangerous gun 
industry practices. Worst yet, under the measure, any case pending at 
the time of enactment would be dismissed. I support the amendment 
proposed by Representative Watt because it will restore an individual 
plaintiff's ability to pursue all currently accepted product liability 
causes of action. Thus, existing gun victims will be allowed to 
exercise their right to a day in court. It will further the goals of 
this civilized society, which is based on the rule of law.
  There are many examples--from the lawsuit brought because Ford Pintos 
were exploding to the toxic pollutant cases against Pacific Gas & 
Electric made famous in the movie ``Erin Brockovich''--that individuals 
can get justice in a courtroom from the reckless and irresponsible 
actions of gunmakers and dealers. But if H.R. 1036 is enacted into law 
without this amendment, cases such as these will immediately after 
enactment be thrown out of court.
  The pending case filed by Pamela Grunow, a resident of Palm Beach 
County, would also be immediately dismissed. On May 26, 2000, 13-year-
old student Nathaniel Brazil shot and killed his language arts teacher 
Barry Grunow at Lake Worth Middle School, in my district. Pamela Grunow 
is seeking to hold the distributor of the gun responsible for selling 
an unreasonably dangerous and defective product. My colleagues, we do 
not know better than the state governments legislating on this issue, 
or the judges listening to these lawsuits.
  The Majority, encouraged by a forceful and wealthy industry, is 
pushing Congress to enact a disastrous bill to give gunmakers and 
dealers extraordinary shelter from liability suits. Without this 
amendment, gun victims will be harmed by the federal legislature. The 
Watt amendment will not fix the underlying bill, but will make it more 
responsible in the short term. I thank the Congressman from North 
Carolina for his efforts, and I encourage my colleagues to support this 
amendment.
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The question is on the amendment offered by 
the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt).
  The amendment was rejected.


          Sequential Votes Postponed In Committee Of The Whole

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, 
proceedings will now resume on those amendments on which further 
proceedings were postponed in the following order: amendment No. 2 by 
Mr. Scott of Virginia, amendment No. 3 by Ms. Linda T. Sanchez of 
California, amendment No. 4 by Mr. Meehan of Massachusetts.
  The Chair will reduce to 5 minutes the time for any electronic vote 
after the first vote of this series.


            Amendment No. 2 Offered By Mr. Scott of Virginia

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The pending business is the request for a 
recorded vote on amendment No. 2 by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. 
Scott) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the 
noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 148, 
noes 278, not voting 8, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 120]

                               AYES--148

     Abercrombie
     Ackerman
     Allen
     Andrews
     Baird
     Baldwin
     Ballance
     Becerra
     Berman
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (OH)
     Brown, Corrine
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardin
     Carson (IN)
     Case
     Castle
     Clay
     Clyburn
     Conyers
     Crowley
     Cummings
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (FL)
     Davis (IL)
     DeGette
     Delahunt
     DeLauro
     Deutsch
     Dicks
     Doggett
     Doyle
     Emanuel
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Etheridge
     Evans
     Farr
     Fattah
     Filner
     Ford
     Frank (MA)
     Frost
     Gephardt
     Gonzalez
     Gutierrez
     Harman
     Hastings (FL)
     Hinojosa
     Hoeffel
     Holt
     Honda
     Hoyer
     Inslee
     Israel
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Jefferson
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones (OH)
     Kaptur
     Kennedy (RI)
     Kildee
     Kilpatrick
     Kirk
     Kleczka
     Kucinich
     Langevin
     Lantos
     Larson (CT)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lofgren
     Lowey
     Lynch
     Majette
     Maloney
     Markey
     Matsui
     McCarthy (NY)
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McNulty
     Meehan
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Menendez
     Millender-McDonald
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Moore
     Moran (VA)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal (MA)
     Obey
     Olver
     Owens
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Price (NC)
     Rangel
     Rodriguez
     Rothman
     Roybal-Allard
     Rush
     Sabo
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Scott (VA)
     Serrano
     Sherman
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Snyder
     Solis
     Spratt
     Stark
     Tauscher
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tierney
     Towns
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Van Hollen
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Waters
     Watson
     Watt
     Waxman
     Weiner
     Wexler
     Woolsey
     Wu
     Wynn

                               NOES--278

     Aderholt
     Akin
     Alexander
     Baca
     Bachus
     Baker
     Ballenger
     Barrett (SC)
     Bartlett (MD)
     Barton (TX)
     Bass
     Beauprez
     Bell
     Bereuter
     Berkley
     Biggert
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (UT)
     Blackburn
     Blunt
     Boehlert
     Boehner
     Bonilla
     Bonner
     Bono
     Boozman
     Boswell
     Boucher
     Bradley (NH)
     Brady (TX)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Burgess
     Burns
     Burr
     Burton (IN)
     Buyer
     Calvert
     Camp
     Cannon
     Cantor
     Capito
     Cardoza
     Carson (OK)
     Carter
     Chabot
     Chocola
     Coble
     Cole
     Collins
     Combest
     Cooper
     Costello
     Cox
     Cramer
     Crane
     Crenshaw
     Cubin
     Culberson
     Cunningham
     Davis (TN)
     Davis, Jo Ann
     Davis, Tom
     Deal (GA)
     DeFazio
     DeLay
     DeMint
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     Dingell
     Dooley (CA)
     Doolittle
     Dreier
     Duncan
     Dunn
     Edwards
     Ehlers
     Emerson
     English
     Everett
     Feeney
     Ferguson
     Flake
     Fletcher
     Foley
     Forbes
     Fossella
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gallegly
     Garrett (NJ)
     Gerlach
     Gibbons
     Gilchrest
     Gillmor
     Gingrey
     Goode
     Goodlatte
     Gordon
     Goss
     Granger
     Graves
     Green (TX)
     Green (WI)
     Greenwood
     Grijalva
     Gutknecht
     Hall
     Harris
     Hart
     Hastings (WA)
     Hayes
     Hayworth
     Hefley
     Hensarling
     Herger
     Hill
     Hinchey
     Hobson
     Hoekstra
     Holden
     Hooley (OR)
     Hostettler
     Hulshof
     Hunter
     Isakson
     Issa
     Istook
     Janklow
     Jenkins
     John
     Johnson (CT)
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones (NC)
     Kanjorski
     Keller
     Kelly
     Kennedy (MN)
     Kind
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Kline
     Knollenberg
     Kolbe
     LaHood
     Lampson
     Larsen (WA)
     Latham
     LaTourette
     Leach
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Linder
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Lucas (KY)
     Manzullo
     Marshall
     Matheson
     McCotter
     McCrery
     McHugh
     McInnis
     McIntyre
     McKeon
     Mica
     Michaud
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Mollohan
     Moran (KS)
     Murphy
     Murtha
     Musgrave
     Myrick
     Nethercutt
     Ney
     Northup
     Norwood
     Nunes
     Nussle
     Oberstar
     Ortiz
     Osborne
     Ose
     Otter
     Oxley
     Paul
     Pearce
     Pence
     Peterson (MN)
     Petri
     Pickering
     Pitts
     Platts
     Pombo
     Pomeroy
     Porter
     Portman
     Pryce (OH)
     Putnam
     Quinn
     Radanovich
     Rahall
     Ramstad
     Regula
     Rehberg
     Renzi
     Reyes
     Reynolds
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher

[[Page H2995]]


     Ros-Lehtinen
     Ross
     Royce
     Ruppersberger
     Ryan (OH)
     Ryan (WI)
     Sanders
     Sandlin
     Saxton
     Schrock
     Scott (GA)
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shadegg
     Shaw
     Shays
     Sherwood
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simmons
     Simpson
     Skelton
     Smith (MI)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Souder
     Stearns
     Stenholm
     Strickland
     Stupak
     Sullivan
     Sweeney
     Tancredo
     Tanner
     Tauzin
     Taylor (MS)
     Taylor (NC)
     Terry
     Thomas
     Thornberry
     Tiahrt
     Tiberi
     Toomey
     Turner (OH)
     Turner (TX)
     Upton
     Vitter
     Walden (OR)
     Walsh
     Wamp
     Weldon (FL)
     Weldon (PA)
     Weller
     Whitfield
     Wicker
     Wilson (NM)
     Wilson (SC)
     Wolf
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)

                             NOT VOTING--8

     Berry
     Boyd
     Houghton
     Hyde
     Lucas (OK)
     McCarthy (MO)
     Peterson (PA)
     Ryun (KS)


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Quinn) (during the vote). Members would 
be reminded they have 2 minutes in which to cast their votes.

                              {time}  1548

  Messrs. BARTLETT of Maryland, WELDON of Florida, REYNOLDS, BROWN of 
South Carolina, and BELL changed their vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''
  Messrs. KLECZKA, THOMPSON of California, VISCLOSKY, and KIRK changed 
their vote from ``no'' to ``aye.''
  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.


                Announcement by the Chairman Pro Tempore

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. Quinn). Pursuant to clause 6 of rule 
XVIII, the remainder of this series will all be conducted as 5-minute 
votes.


     Amendment No. 3 Offered by Ms. Linda T. Sanchez of California

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The pending business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Linda T. Sanchez) on which further proceedings were 
postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. This is a 5-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 134, 
noes 289, not voting 11, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 121]

                               AYES--134

     Abercrombie
     Ackerman
     Allen
     Andrews
     Baldwin
     Ballance
     Becerra
     Bell
     Berkley
     Berman
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (OH)
     Brown, Corrine
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardin
     Carson (IN)
     Case
     Clay
     Clyburn
     Conyers
     Crowley
     Cummings
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (FL)
     Davis (IL)
     DeGette
     Delahunt
     Deutsch
     Dicks
     Doggett
     Doyle
     Emanuel
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Etheridge
     Evans
     Farr
     Fattah
     Filner
     Frank (MA)
     Gephardt
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hastings (FL)
     Hoeffel
     Holt
     Honda
     Hoyer
     Inslee
     Israel
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Jones (OH)
     Kaptur
     Kennedy (RI)
     Kildee
     Kilpatrick
     Kleczka
     Kucinich
     Langevin
     Lantos
     Larson (CT)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lofgren
     Lowey
     Lynch
     Majette
     Maloney
     Markey
     Matsui
     McCarthy (NY)
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McNulty
     Meehan
     Meek (FL)
     Menendez
     Millender-McDonald
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Moran (VA)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal (MA)
     Olver
     Owens
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Price (NC)
     Ramstad
     Rangel
     Rothman
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Sabo
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Scott (VA)
     Serrano
     Shays
     Sherman
     Slaughter
     Solis
     Spratt
     Stark
     Tauscher
     Thompson (MS)
     Tierney
     Towns
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Van Hollen
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Waters
     Watson
     Watt
     Waxman
     Weiner
     Wexler
     Woolsey
     Wu
     Wynn

                               NOES--289

     Aderholt
     Akin
     Alexander
     Baca
     Bachus
     Baird
     Baker
     Ballenger
     Barrett (SC)
     Bartlett (MD)
     Barton (TX)
     Bass
     Beauprez
     Bereuter
     Berry
     Biggert
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (UT)
     Blackburn
     Blunt
     Boehlert
     Boehner
     Bonilla
     Bonner
     Bono
     Boozman
     Boswell
     Boucher
     Bradley (NH)
     Brady (TX)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Burgess
     Burns
     Burr
     Burton (IN)
     Buyer
     Calvert
     Camp
     Cannon
     Cantor
     Capito
     Cardoza
     Carson (OK)
     Carter
     Castle
     Chabot
     Chocola
     Coble
     Cole
     Collins
     Combest
     Costello
     Cox
     Cramer
     Crane
     Crenshaw
     Cubin
     Culberson
     Cunningham
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (TN)
     Davis, Jo Ann
     Davis, Tom
     Deal (GA)
     DeFazio
     DeLauro
     DeLay
     DeMint
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     Dingell
     Dooley (CA)
     Doolittle
     Dreier
     Duncan
     Dunn
     Edwards
     Ehlers
     Emerson
     English
     Everett
     Feeney
     Ferguson
     Flake
     Fletcher
     Foley
     Forbes
     Ford
     Fossella
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Frost
     Gallegly
     Garrett (NJ)
     Gerlach
     Gibbons
     Gilchrest
     Gillmor
     Gingrey
     Gonzalez
     Goode
     Goodlatte
     Gordon
     Goss
     Granger
     Graves
     Green (TX)
     Green (WI)
     Greenwood
     Gutknecht
     Hall
     Harman
     Harris
     Hart
     Hastings (WA)
     Hayes
     Hayworth
     Hefley
     Hensarling
     Herger
     Hill
     Hinchey
     Hinojosa
     Hobson
     Hoekstra
     Holden
     Hooley (OR)
     Hostettler
     Hulshof
     Hunter
     Isakson
     Issa
     Istook
     Janklow
     Jefferson
     Jenkins
     John
     Johnson (CT)
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones (NC)
     Kanjorski
     Keller
     Kelly
     Kennedy (MN)
     Kind
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Kirk
     Kline
     Knollenberg
     Kolbe
     LaHood
     Lampson
     Larsen (WA)
     Latham
     LaTourette
     Leach
     Lewis (KY)
     Linder
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Lucas (KY)
     Manzullo
     Marshall
     Matheson
     McCotter
     McCrery
     McHugh
     McInnis
     McIntyre
     McKeon
     Mica
     Michaud
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Mollohan
     Moore
     Moran (KS)
     Murphy
     Murtha
     Musgrave
     Myrick
     Nethercutt
     Ney
     Northup
     Norwood
     Nunes
     Nussle
     Oberstar
     Obey
     Ortiz
     Osborne
     Ose
     Otter
     Oxley
     Paul
     Pearce
     Pence
     Peterson (MN)
     Petri
     Pickering
     Pitts
     Platts
     Pombo
     Pomeroy
     Porter
     Portman
     Pryce (OH)
     Putnam
     Quinn
     Radanovich
     Rahall
     Regula
     Rehberg
     Renzi
     Reyes
     Reynolds
     Rodriguez
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Ross
     Royce
     Ryan (OH)
     Ryan (WI)
     Sanders
     Sandlin
     Saxton
     Schrock
     Scott (GA)
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shadegg
     Shaw
     Sherwood
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simmons
     Simpson
     Skelton
     Smith (MI)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smith (WA)
     Snyder
     Souder
     Stearns
     Stenholm
     Strickland
     Stupak
     Sullivan
     Sweeney
     Tancredo
     Tanner
     Tauzin
     Taylor (MS)
     Taylor (NC)
     Terry
     Thomas
     Thompson (CA)
     Thornberry
     Tiahrt
     Tiberi
     Toomey
     Turner (OH)
     Turner (TX)
     Upton
     Vitter
     Walden (OR)
     Walsh
     Wamp
     Weldon (FL)
     Weldon (PA)
     Weller
     Whitfield
     Wicker
     Wilson (NM)
     Wilson (SC)
     Wolf
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)

                             NOT VOTING--11

     Boyd
     Cooper
     Houghton
     Hyde
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (GA)
     Lucas (OK)
     McCarthy (MO)
     Meeks (NY)
     Peterson (PA)
     Ryun (KS)


                Announcement by the Chairman Pro Tempore

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (during the vote). Members will be reminded 
there are 2 minutes remaining in this vote. Two minutes, please.

                              {time}  1556

  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  Stated for:
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Chairman, I inadvertently voted ``no'' on rollcall 
vote No. 121 today. I would like the Record to reflect that I intended 
to vote ``aye.''


                 Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Meehan

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The pending business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on amendment No. 4 offered by the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan) on which further proceedings were postponed 
and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. This is a 5-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 144, 
noes 280, not voting 10, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 122]

                               AYES--144

     Abercrombie
     Ackerman
     Allen
     Andrews
     Baldwin
     Ballance
     Becerra
     Bell
     Berkley
     Berman
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (OH)
     Brown, Corrine
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardin

[[Page H2996]]


     Carson (IN)
     Case
     Castle
     Clay
     Clyburn
     Conyers
     Crowley
     Cummings
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (FL)
     Davis (IL)
     DeGette
     Delahunt
     DeLauro
     Deutsch
     Dicks
     Doggett
     Doyle
     Emanuel
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Evans
     Farr
     Fattah
     Filner
     Frank (MA)
     Frost
     Gephardt
     Gonzalez
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Gutknecht
     Harman
     Hastings (FL)
     Hinchey
     Hoeffel
     Holt
     Honda
     Hooley (OR)
     Inslee
     Israel
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Jefferson
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones (OH)
     Kennedy (RI)
     Kildee
     Kilpatrick
     King (NY)
     Kleczka
     Kucinich
     Langevin
     Lantos
     Larson (CT)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lofgren
     Lowey
     Lynch
     Majette
     Maloney
     Markey
     Matsui
     McCarthy (NY)
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McNulty
     Meehan
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Menendez
     Millender-McDonald
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Moore
     Moran (VA)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal (MA)
     Obey
     Olver
     Owens
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Price (NC)
     Rangel
     Rothman
     Roybal-Allard
     Rush
     Sabo
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Scott (VA)
     Serrano
     Shays
     Sherman
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Snyder
     Stark
     Tauscher
     Thompson (MS)
     Tierney
     Towns
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Van Hollen
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Waters
     Watson
     Watt
     Waxman
     Weiner
     Wexler
     Woolsey
     Wu
     Wynn

                               NOES--280

     Akin
     Alexander
     Baca
     Bachus
     Baird
     Baker
     Ballenger
     Barrett (SC)
     Bartlett (MD)
     Barton (TX)
     Bass
     Beauprez
     Bereuter
     Berry
     Biggert
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (UT)
     Blackburn
     Blunt
     Boehlert
     Boehner
     Bonilla
     Bonner
     Bono
     Boozman
     Boucher
     Bradley (NH)
     Brady (TX)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Burgess
     Burns
     Burr
     Burton (IN)
     Buyer
     Calvert
     Camp
     Cannon
     Cantor
     Capito
     Cardoza
     Carson (OK)
     Carter
     Chabot
     Chocola
     Coble
     Cole
     Collins
     Combest
     Cooper
     Costello
     Cox
     Cramer
     Crane
     Crenshaw
     Cubin
     Culberson
     Cunningham
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (TN)
     Davis, Jo Ann
     Davis, Tom
     Deal (GA)
     DeFazio
     DeLay
     DeMint
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     Dingell
     Dooley (CA)
     Doolittle
     Dreier
     Duncan
     Dunn
     Edwards
     Ehlers
     Emerson
     English
     Etheridge
     Everett
     Feeney
     Ferguson
     Flake
     Fletcher
     Foley
     Forbes
     Ford
     Fossella
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gallegly
     Garrett (NJ)
     Gerlach
     Gibbons
     Gilchrest
     Gillmor
     Gingrey
     Goode
     Goodlatte
     Gordon
     Goss
     Granger
     Graves
     Green (TX)
     Green (WI)
     Greenwood
     Hall
     Harris
     Hart
     Hastings (WA)
     Hayes
     Hayworth
     Hefley
     Hensarling
     Herger
     Hill
     Hinojosa
     Hobson
     Hoekstra
     Holden
     Hostettler
     Hoyer
     Hulshof
     Hunter
     Isakson
     Issa
     Istook
     Janklow
     Jenkins
     John
     Johnson (CT)
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones (NC)
     Kanjorski
     Kaptur
     Keller
     Kelly
     Kennedy (MN)
     Kind
     King (IA)
     Kingston
     Kirk
     Kline
     Knollenberg
     Kolbe
     LaHood
     Lampson
     Larsen (WA)
     Latham
     LaTourette
     Leach
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Linder
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Lucas (KY)
     Manzullo
     Marshall
     Matheson
     McCotter
     McCrery
     McHugh
     McInnis
     McIntyre
     McKeon
     Mica
     Michaud
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Mollohan
     Moran (KS)
     Murphy
     Murtha
     Musgrave
     Myrick
     Nethercutt
     Ney
     Northup
     Norwood
     Nunes
     Nussle
     Oberstar
     Ortiz
     Osborne
     Ose
     Otter
     Oxley
     Paul
     Pearce
     Pence
     Peterson (MN)
     Petri
     Pickering
     Pitts
     Platts
     Pombo
     Pomeroy
     Porter
     Portman
     Pryce (OH)
     Putnam
     Quinn
     Radanovich
     Rahall
     Ramstad
     Regula
     Rehberg
     Renzi
     Reyes
     Reynolds
     Rodriguez
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Ross
     Royce
     Ruppersberger
     Ryan (OH)
     Ryan (WI)
     Sanders
     Sandlin
     Saxton
     Schrock
     Scott (GA)
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shadegg
     Shaw
     Sherwood
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simmons
     Simpson
     Skelton
     Smith (MI)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Souder
     Spratt
     Stearns
     Stenholm
     Strickland
     Stupak
     Sullivan
     Sweeney
     Tancredo
     Tanner
     Tauzin
     Taylor (MS)
     Taylor (NC)
     Terry
     Thomas
     Thompson (CA)
     Thornberry
     Tiahrt
     Tiberi
     Toomey
     Turner (OH)
     Turner (TX)
     Upton
     Vitter
     Walden (OR)
     Walsh
     Wamp
     Weldon (FL)
     Weldon (PA)
     Weller
     Whitfield
     Wicker
     Wilson (NM)
     Wilson (SC)
     Wolf
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)

                             NOT VOTING--10

     Aderholt
     Boswell
     Boyd
     Houghton
     Hyde
     Lucas (OK)
     McCarthy (MO)
     Peterson (PA)
     Ryun (KS)
     Solis


                Announcement by the Chairman pro tempore

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. Quinn) (during the vote). Members are 
advised 2 minutes remain in this vote.

                              {time}  1604

  Mr. KELLER changed his vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''
  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now 
rise.
  The motion was agreed to.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Simpson) having assumed the chair, Mr. Quinn, Chairman pro tempore of 
the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, reported 
that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 
1036) to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or 
continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of 
firearms or ammunition for damages resulting from the misuse of their 
products by others, had come to no resolution thereon.

                          ____________________