Text: H.R.1036 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)

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Referred in Senate (04/10/2003)


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[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 1036 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 1036


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             April 10, 2003

  Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
  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 ``Protection of Lawful Commerce in 
Arms Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSES.

    (a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
            (1) Citizens have a right, protected by 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 firearms that operate 
        as designed and intended, 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 are 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, 
        manufacture, marketing, distribution, importation, or sale to 
        the public of firearms or ammunition that has 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 that function as designed and intended.
            (5) The possibility of imposing liability on an entire 
        industry for harm that is solely caused by others is an abuse 
        of the legal system, erodes public confidence in our Nation's 
        laws, threatens the diminution of a basic constitutional right 
        and civil liberty, invites the disassembly and destabilization 
        of other industries and economic sectors lawfully competing in 
        the free enterprise system of the United States, and 
        constitutes an unreasonable burden on interstate and foreign 
        commerce of the United States.
            (6) The liability actions commenced or contemplated by the 
        Federal Government, States, municipalities, and private 
        interest groups are based on theories without foundation in 
        hundreds of years of the common law and jurisprudence of the 
        United States and do not represent a bona fide expansion of the 
        common law. The possible sustaining of these actions by a 
        maverick judicial officer or petit jury would expand civil 
        liability in a manner never contemplated by the Framers of the 
        Constitution, by the Congress, or by the legislatures of the 
        several states. 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 when the 
        product functioned as designed and intended.
            (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 5 of that Amendment.
            (4) To prevent the use of such lawsuits to impose 
        unreasonable burdens on interstate and foreign commerce.
            (5) To protect the right, under the First Amendment to the 
        Constitution, of manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and 
        importers of firearms or ammunition products, and trade 
        associations, to speak freely, to assemble peaceably, and to 
        petition the Government for a redress of their grievances.

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 
or is currently pending.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

     In this Act:
            (1) Engaged in the business.--The term ``engaged in the 
        business'' has the meaning given that term in section 
        921(a)(21) of title 18, United States Code, and, as applied to 
        a seller of ammunition, means a person who devotes, time, 
        attention, and labor to the sale of ammunition as a regular 
        course of trade or business with the principal objective of 
        livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of 
        ammunition.
            (2) Manufacturer.--The term ``manufacturer'' means, with 
        respect to a qualified product, a person who is engaged in the 
        business of manufacturing the product in interstate or foreign 
        commerce and who is licensed to engage in business as such a 
        manufacturer under chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code.
            (3) Person.--The term ``person'' means any individual, 
        corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, 
        joint stock company, or any other entity, including any 
        governmental entity.
            (4) Qualified product.--The term ``qualified product'' 
        means a firearm (as defined in subparagraph (A) or (B) of 
        section 921(a)(3) of title 18, United States Code, including 
        any antique firearm (as defined in section 921(a)(16) of such 
        title)), 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.
            (5) Qualified civil liability action.--
                    (A) In general.--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 or 
                injunctive relief resulting from the criminal or 
                unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the person or 
                a third party, but shall not include--
                            (i) 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;
                            (ii) an action brought against a seller for 
                        negligent entrustment or negligence per se;
                            (iii) an action in which a manufacturer or 
                        seller of a qualified product knowingly and 
                        willfully violated a State or Federal statute 
                        applicable to the sale or marketing of the 
                        product, and the violation was a proximate 
                        cause of the harm for which relief is sought;
                            (iv) an action for breach of contract or 
                        warranty in connection with the purchase of the 
                        product; or
                            (v) an action for physical injuries or 
                        property damage resulting directly from a 
                        defect in design or manufacture of the product, 
                        when used as intended.
                    (B) Negligent entrustment.--In subparagraph 
                (A)(ii), the term ``negligent entrustment'' means the 
                supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by 
                another person when the seller knows or should know the 
                person to whom the product is supplied is likely to use 
                the product, and in fact does use the product, in a 
                manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury 
                to the person and others.
            (6) Seller.--The term ``seller'' means, with respect to a 
        qualified product--
                    (A) an importer (as defined in section 921(a)(9) of 
                title 18, United States Code) who is engaged in the 
                business as such an importer in interstate or foreign 
                commerce and who is licensed to engage in business as 
                such an importer under chapter 44 of title 18, United 
                States Code;
                    (B) a dealer (as defined in section 921(a)(11) of 
                title 18, United States Code) who is engaged in the 
                business as such a dealer in interstate or foreign 
                commerce and who is licensed to engage in business as 
                such a dealer under chapter 44 of title 18, United 
                States Code; or
                    (C) a person engaged in the business of selling 
                ammunition (as defined in section 921(a)(17) of title 
                18, United States Code) in interstate or foreign 
                commerce at the wholesale or retail level, consistent 
                with Federal, State, and local law.
            (7) 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.
            (8) Trade association.--The term ``trade association'' 
        means any association or business organization (whether or not 
        incorporated under Federal or State law) that is not operated 
        for profit, and 2
        or more members of which are manufacturers or sellers of a 
        qualified product.

            Passed the House of Representatives April 9, 2003.

            Attest:

                                                 JEFF TRANDAHL,

                                                                 Clerk.