Sunday, September 04, 2016

MA: AG Healy Continues Anti-Second Amendment Lawfare

Massachusetts' controversial Attorney General, Maura Healy, who was elected last year, is being sued by two prominent and popular gun manufacturers, Remington and Glock.  They contend that Healy is using the power of her office to harass them. From
Both Remington and Glock have sued Healey in Suffolk Superior Court, arguing that she is abusing her authority by casting a broad net for documents, including those related to accidental discharges, past lawsuits, legal settlements, and product recalls.

Glock Inc.’s lawsuit asks the court to quash Healey’s inquiry.

The company, based in Smyrna, Ga., points to statements Healey has made calling gun violence a “public health crisis” and an “epidemic” to argue the “true purpose” of her investigation is “to harass an industry that the attorney general finds distasteful and to make political headlines by pursing members of the firearm industry.”
It is particularly weird considering that Glock pistols may only be legally sold to police in Massachusetts.

Healy misleads with lawerly parsing, spouting a Hillary Clinton talking point:
“This is the only product of its kind for which Congress has given the industry extensive freedom from liability,” she said at the White House. “That’s not right. The gun industry should be held to the same liability standards as the manufacturers and sellers of other consumer products.”
That may be correct, if parsed in a Clintonesqe manner.  What other "product of its kind" exists except for firearms? Could it be crossbows?  Blowguns? Taken that way, the statement becomes a truism. 

Taken at face value, it simply is not correct.  The protection that Congress has afforded the firearms industry is protection from lawsuit for actions of third parties that the companies have no control over.  It is a wall that exists for all products, that gun haters are attempting to breach, at least at first, for firearms. From wikipedia:
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is a United States law which protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. However, both manufacturers and dealers can still be held liable for damages resulting from defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, and other actions for which they are directly responsible in much the same manner that any U.S. based manufacturer of consumer products is held responsible. They may also be held liable for negligence when they have reason to know a gun is intended for use in a crime.
Used the way that Healy suggests, Nike could be sued for making shoes that criminals use to run with.  Subaru could be sued for making a car used in a kidnapping.

Healy contends that her motivation for the investigation is irrelevant, that under Massachusetts law, she has the power to investigate any company she wants to.  This is the very essence of tyranny.  No company can be safe from such exercise of political power.

This is simply an extension of the lawfare attack by gun haters that prompted the federal protection in the first place.  Those frivolous lawsuits were never expected to prevail in court.  The stated purpose was to bankrupt firearms companies using the unlimited checkbook of taxpayers to file suit after suit, after suit, requiring an expensive defense against all, until the companies were bankrupted. From in 1998:
``The chances are maximized if enough cities file at one time,'' Rendell said. ``The sheer cost of defending these suits would be hard for the gun industry.''
The American governmental system was designed to be one in which checks and balances limited governmental power, to keep it from becoming tyrannical.  The idea that a State official could require companies based in another state undergo great expense for a fishing expedition because a state official hated their product, would have been unthinkable.  The idea that one state official could dictate policy for the nation would be abhorrent.

Perhaps it is time to act on what AG Healy suggests, and extend in law the protection of the PLCAA to all products, whether they be firearms or toasters.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch 

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