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Pro Gun Legislation Before Congress

KeepAndBearArms.com

There are some powerful, positive, gunowner-friendly pieces of legislation before the U.S. Congress we should get behind and support. One of them is called the Firearms Heritage Protection Act of 2001, and the other is called the Citizens' Self Defense Act of 2001. The text of each is below, followed by a letter you can send through email, snail mail, or by which you can make your phone calls to your Representatives.

 

Firearms Heritage Protection Act of 2001

Search for "Firearms Heritage Protection Act of 2001" at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.html. (Searching for H.R. 123 may yield a different bill issued under the same number in the 106th session.)

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 123

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.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 3, 2001

Mr. BARR of Georgia introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

 


A BILL

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.

    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 `Firearms Heritage Protection Act of 2001'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSES.

    (a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds the following:
      (1) Citizens have a right, under 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 nondefective firearms, 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 is 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, marketing, distribution, manufacture, importation, or sale to the public of firearms or ammunition that have 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.
      (5) The possibility of imposing liability on an entire industry for harm that is the sole responsibility of others is an abuse of the legal system, erodes public confidence our Nation's laws, threatens the diminution of a basic constitutional right, invites the disassembly and destabilization of other industries and economic sectors lawfully competing in America's free enterprise system, and constitutes an unreasonable burden on interstate and foreign commerce.
      (6) The liability actions commenced or contemplated by municipalities and cities are based on theories without foundation in hundreds of years of the common law and American jurisprudence. The possible sustaining of these actions by a maverick judicial officer would expand civil liability in a manner never contemplated by the Framers of the Constitution. The Congress further finds that 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.
      (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 five of that Amendment.

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.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
      (1) MANUFACTURER- The term `manufacturer' means, with respect to a qualified product--
        (A) a person who is engaged in a business to import, make, produce, create, or assemble a qualified product, and who designs or formulates, or has engaged another person to design or formulate, a qualified product;
        (B) a seller of a qualified product, but only with respect to an aspect of the product that is made or affected when the seller makes, produces, creates, or assembles and designs or formulates an aspect of the product made by another person; and
        (C) any seller of a qualified product who represents to a user of a qualified product that the seller is a manufacturer of the qualified product.
      (2) PERSON- The term `person' means any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, joint stock company, or any other entity, including any governmental entity.
      (3) QUALIFIED PRODUCT- The term `qualified product' means a firearm (as defined in section 921(a)(3) of title 18, United States Code) 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.
      (4) QUALIFIED CIVIL LIABILITY ACTION- 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 resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the person or a third party, but shall not include--
        (A) 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; or
        (B) an action brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se.
      (5) SELLER- The term `seller' means, with respect to a qualified product, a person who--
        (A) in the course of a business conducted for that purpose sells, distributes, rents, leases, prepares, blends, packages, labels, or otherwise is involved in placing a qualified product in the stream of commerce; or
        (B) installs, repairs, refurbishes, reconditions, or maintains an aspect of a qualified product that is alleged to have resulted in damages.
      (6) 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.
      (7) TRADE ASSOCIATION- The term `trade association' means any association or business organization (whether or not incorporated under Federal or State law) 2 or more members of which are manufacturers or sellers of a qualified product.

END


Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2001

Search for "Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2001" at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.html.

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 31

To protect the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home, and to provide for the enforcement of such right.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 3, 2001

Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland (for himself, Mr. STEARNS, Mr. BRADY of Texas, Mr. HALL of Texas, Mr. SCHAFFER, Mr. HILLEARY, Mr. CALLAHAN, Mr. HAYWORTH, Mrs. EMERSON, Mr. NETHERCUTT, Mr. BARCIA, Mr. STUMP, and Mr. SIMPSON) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

 


A BILL

To protect the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home, and to provide for the enforcement of such right.

    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 `Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2001'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:
      (1) Police cannot protect, and are not legally liable for failing to protect, individual citizens, as evidenced by the following:
        (A) The courts have consistently ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect individuals, only the public in general. For example, in Warren v. District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981), the court stated: `[C]ourts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community.'.
        (B) Former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith told Florida legislators that police responded to only 200,000 of 700,000 calls for help to Dade County authorities.
        (C) The United States Department of Justice found that, in 1989, there were 168,881 crimes of violence for which police had not responded within 1 hour.
        (D) Currently, there are about 150,000 police officers on duty at any one time.
      (2) Citizens frequently must use firearms to defend themselves, as evidenced by the following:
        (A) Every year, more than 2,400,000 people in the United States use a gun to defend themselves against criminals--or more than 6,500 people a day. This means that, each year, firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.
        (B) Of the 2,400,000 self-defense cases, more than 192,000 are by women defending themselves against sexual abuse.
        (C) Of the 2,400,000 times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, 92 percent merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than 8 percent of the time, does a citizen kill or wound his or her attacker.
      (3) Law-abiding citizens, seeking only to provide for their families' defense, are routinely prosecuted for brandishing or using a firearm in self- defense. For example:
        (A) In 1986, Don Bennett of Oak Park, Illinois, was shot at by 2 men who had just stolen $1,200 in cash and jewelry from his suburban Chicago service station. The police arrested Bennett for violating Oak Park's handgun ban. The police never caught the actual criminals.
        (B) Ronald Biggs, a resident of Goldsboro, North Carolina, was arrested for shooting an intruder in 1990. Four men broke into Biggs' residence one night, ransacked the home and then assaulted him with a baseball bat. When Biggs attempted to escape through the back door, the group chased him and Biggs turned and shot one of the assailants in the stomach. Biggs was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon--a felony. His assailants were charged with misdemeanors.
        (C) Don Campbell of Port Huron, Michigan, was arrested, jailed, and criminally charged after he shot a criminal assailant in 1991. The thief had broken into Campbell's store and attacked him. The prosecutor plea-bargained with the assailant and planned to use him to testify against Campbell for felonious use of a firearm. Only after intense community pressure did the prosecutor finally drop the charges.
      (4) The courts have granted immunity from prosecution to police officers who use firearms in the line of duty. Similarly, law-abiding citizens who use firearms to protect themselves, their families, and their homes against violent felons should not be subject to lawsuits by the violent felons who sought to victimize them.

SEC. 3. RIGHT TO OBTAIN FIREARMS FOR SECURITY, AND TO USE FIREARMS IN DEFENSE OF SELF, FAMILY, OR HOME; ENFORCEMENT.

    (a) REAFFIRMATION OF RIGHT- A person not prohibited from receiving a firearm by Section 922(g) of title 18, United States Code, shall have the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms--
      (1) in defense of self or family against a reasonably perceived threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily injury;
      (2) in defense of self or family in the course of the commission by another person of a violent felony against the person or a member of the person's family; and
      (3) in defense of the person's home in the course of the commission of a felony by another person.
    (b) FIREARM DEFINED- As used in subsection (a), the term `firearm' means--
      (1) a shotgun (as defined in section 921(a)(5) of title 18, United States Code);
      (2) a rifle (as defined in section 921(a)(7) of title 18, United States Code); or
      (3) a handgun (as defined in section 10 of Public Law 99-408).
    (c) ENFORCEMENT OF RIGHT-
      (1) IN GENERAL- A person whose right under subsection (a) is violated in any manner may bring an action in any United States district court against the United States, any State, or any person for damages, injunctive relief, and such other relief as the court deems appropriate.
      (2) AUTHORITY TO AWARD A REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEE- In an action brought under paragraph (1), the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing plaintiff a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs.
      (3) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS- An action may not be brought under paragraph (1) after the 5-year period that begins with the date the violation described in paragraph (1) is discovered.

END


Letter to Send Calling for Support of these Bills

You can use our Legislative Action Center to send this letter to your Representatives, and here is one possible letter you can send:

Dear Representative,

I am writing to you to express my full support of and appreciation for two bills before you this session:

The Firearms Heritage Protection Act of 2001

and

The Citizens' Self Defense Act of 2001.

Please vote for each of these bills when they come your way. Us lawful, peaceable people who choose to protect ourselves against the criminal element in our society appreciate your support of these two measures.

Thank you.

 

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 QUOTES TO REMEMBER
[The American Colonies were] all democratic governments, where the power is in the hands of the people and where there is not the least difficulty or jealousy about putting arms into the hands of every man in the country. [European countries should not] be ignorant of the strength and the force of such a form of government and how strenuously and almost wonderfully people living under one have sometimes exerted themselves in defence of their rights and liberties and how fatally it has ended with many a man and many a state who have entered into quarrels, wars and contests with them. George Mason, "Remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company" in The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792, ed Robert A. Rutland (Chapel Hill, 1970).

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