by Paul Jacob
When is federal legislation that LOOKS like special protective legislation NOT a mere prop for a "special interest"? When
A. The industry being defended is the industry as a whole, not any particular company;
B. The threat to that industry comes from numerous local governments set out to abuse the tort system;
C. The issue at hand directly relates to one of the Amendments to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights; and
D. The law is a good example of a rare Constitutionally PROPER use of the "Commerce Clause."
I'm talking about the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act," which the House of Representatives passed 283 over 144, on October 20th. The bill puts the kabash on the growing number of lawsuits against gun manufacturers, for particular crimes committed with guns.
It's an example of tort reform, really. The fact that it deals not so much with general principles but with one industry is what makes might make it suspect to some.
But it is justified. The kind of suits it prohibits are often started by politicians seeking huge revenue windfalls and to write local community values across the whole nation. Which flies in the face of the Second Amendment. And federalism.
Which calls up the Commerce Clause, regulating truly interstate commerce. One locality may not "legislate," through the courts, for the rest of the country.
So, let's hear it for putting individual responsibility back into lawsuits. And let's hear it, I guess, even for Congress.
This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.
Common Sense is published by Americans for Limited Government. Their website can be visited at www.limitedgov.org