(Washington, DC) - President George W. Bush today signed into law the National Rifle Association (NRA)-backed "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (S. 397) ending politically motivated lawsuits designed to bankrupt law-abiding American firearm manufacturers and retailers. S. 397 passed both chambers in Congress with broad bipartisan support.
"This is an historic day for freedom. I would like to thank President Bush for signing the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years into law. History will show that this law helped save the American firearms industry from collapse under the burden of these ruinous and politically motivated lawsuits," said Wayne LaPierre, NRA's executive vice president.
In late July, the Senate approved the measure 65-31. Last week, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill 283-144. The "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" was NRA's number one legislative priority and a monumental victory for the Association and its members.
"What we witness today is the culmination of a seven-year effort that included a comprehensive legislative and election strategy," stated Chris W. Cox, NRA's chief lobbyist. "We worked hard to change the political landscape to pass this landmark legislation. As always, our members were up for the task. Key electoral victories in 2000, 2002 and 2004 helped pave passage of this law.
"The Bush administration was a vital ally during debate on Capitol Hill. I would also like to thank Senators Larry Craig and Max Baucus and Congressmen Rick Boucher and Cliff Stearns for doing a yeoman's job as lead co-sponsors of this legislation. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell ought to be commended for their steadfast leadership during Senate deliberations," added Cox.
In recent years, 33 states passed similar legislation outlawing frivolous lawsuits intended to bankrupt the gun industry. However, this new law creates judicial uniformity in all courts across the United States.
"This law will help preserve the American firearms industry and also help preserve American manufacturing jobs. American companies will cease to make products if they continue to be sued every time a violent criminal they do not know, have never met and cannot control, misuses a legal non-defective product. This is a significant step toward saving millions of manufacturing jobs," concluded LaPierre.
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