Think tank: Gun bill aims to 'eliminate American firearms businesses' through litigation
Thu, Mar 9, 2023 3:30 PM
By Joe Mueller, The Center Square
A bill making its way through the Colorado General Assembly is "plainly designed to eliminate American firearms businesses" through litigation, a report from a right-leaning think tank in Colorado argues.
Senate Bill 23-168 was voted out of the Senate’s State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee on Wednesday. It’s one of a package of gun restriction bills introduced by Democrats.
Current state law limits the liability of firearm and ammunition manufacturers to situations where their products are defective. The bill would repeal the limitation. It passed on a 3-2 vote along party lines and is referred to the Senate Committee of the Whole.
In a paper published by Independence Institute Research Director David Kopel, SB 23-168 is described as a “Bloomberg Bill,” where former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg influenced the New York legislature to enact a state statute authorizing lawsuits against firearms businesses for conduct even outside the state.
“The new statute provided no notice of what lawful conduct would subject a firearms business to a suit,” the report states. “The new Bloomberg laws, including Colorado’s Senate Bill 23-168, are plainly designed to eliminate American firearms businesses through litigation costs.”
Bill sponsors Sens. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Longmont, and Chris Kolker, D-Centennial, both stated the bill creates fairness for those harmed by gun violence.
“Colorado law gives a set of protections to the firearms industry that few other businesses have," Jaquez Lewis said in a statement after Wednesday’s vote. “These laws shield them from accountability and must be changed. This legislation will level the playing field by removing those extra protections and allowing legitimate lawsuits to move forward, ensuring the gun industry is no longer given special treatment and improving gun violence survivors’ ability to seek the justice they deserve.”
Kolker said the bill places gun manufacturers on the same level as other businesses.
“Currently, Colorado gun sellers and manufacturers are provided legal protections far beyond those for most other businesses in the state and that bar victims of gun violence from seeking justice,” he said in a statement. “Removing Colorado’s overly broad gun industry immunity law will provide another avenue for survivors to pursue justice if they are harmed by irresponsible business practices.”
The Independence Institute criticizes the bill’s requirement for the Colorado’s firearms industry “to establish and implement reasonable controls and precautions related to the industry product in its control (firearm industry standards of responsible conduct).”
“Rather, SB23-168 would turn Colorado courts into a national vehicle for the destruction of the firearm industry – the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ lawsuit abuse program touted by the lawsuit architects,” the report states. “The bill even authorizes suits against businesses in other states that do not have whatever a plaintiff claims to be ‘reasonable controls.’ A law-abiding business in Pennsylvania would have to guess about what the Colorado Attorney General or other Colorado plaintiff might one day deem to be not ‘reasonable.’”