(Fairfax, VA) - Today the United States House of Representatives passed the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (S. 397) by a bipartisan vote of 283-144. The legislation now moves to President Bush's desk for his expected signature.
Commenting on the passage of this landmark legislation, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, "This is an historic victory for the NRA. Freedom, truth and justice prevailed, and today S. 397 is one step closer to becoming the law of the land. No other industry is forced to defend themselves when a violent criminal they do not know, have never met and cannot control, misuses a legal non-defective product. American firearms manufacturers will now receive the same fair treatment."
The "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" seeks to end predatory and baseless lawsuits initiated nationwide by the gun control lobby. These lawsuits sought to bankrupt a lawful, highly regulated industry by holding the manufacturers and retailers responsible for the unforeseeable acts of criminals. S. 397 passed the Senate in late July with a bipartisan vote of 65-31.
Joining LaPierre in commenting on this victory, NRA Chief Lobbyist Chris W. Cox added, "Our judicial system has been exploited for politics and Congress put a stop to that. Passage of the 'Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act' would not have been possible without the support of the 257 House co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. We appreciate the tireless efforts of Rep. Cliff Stearns and Rep. Rick Boucher and the Republican members of House leadership who worked to move the bill in this chamber.
"We are a safer country today because Congress passed this critical legislation and acted to save American icons like Remington, Ruger, Winchester and Smith & Wesson from politically motivated lawsuits. Our men and women in uniform abroad and at home now will not have to rely on France, China or Germany to supply their firearms," Cox added.
During Senate debate earlier this year, the Pentagon stated its concern over the consequences if the American firearms industry was litigated into extinction. The Department of Defense stated that it "strongly supports" S. 397 citing, "that passage of S. 397 would help safeguard our national security by limiting unnecessary lawsuits against an industry that plays a critical role in meeting the procurement needs of our men and women in uniform."
"I would like to thank our members who played a pivotal role in making this bill a reality. Together, we have saved the American firearms industry and protected the sanctity of the Second Amendment," concluded LaPierre.