Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) plans to introduce a bill this week that will make sure victims of gun violence get to have their day in court.
The legislation, called the Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, would seek to nullify a law from 2005 that gives gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers immunity from civil lawsuits. Under the new law, people who have been victims of gun violence would be able to take members of the gun industry to court for negligence or product liability. The act would also hold gun dealers accountable for selling firearms to straw purchasers and gun traffickers.
The argument over gun control has reached a boiling point since the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which took place exactly one month ago. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to put forward major recommendations for gun control on Tuesday. His recommendations could include more comprehensive background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines and a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban originally passed under President Bill Clinton.
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) have each proposed gun violence legislation in the wake of the Newtown shooting. Lautenberg put forth a proposal to reinstate the ban on high-capacity magazines, and Boxer introduced a bill that would allow governors to station members of the National Guard in schools.
While Republicans in Congress would likely oppose reinstating the assault weapons ban, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) have each expressed interest in banning high-capacity magazines.
The president of the National Rifle Association rejected such gun-control measures on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, and said that people with mental illnesses and potentially dangerous individuals should be placed on a list of people prohibited from purchasing firearms.
Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, drafted the bill with help from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a non-profit organization that whose mission is to enact gun regulation at the state and federal level.
“Other industries across our country don’t enjoy this protection under the law -– from pharmaceutical firms to automotive manufacturers or even cigarette companies –- and it's inexcusable for Congress to give the NRA and gun manufacturers a blank check," Schiff said in a press release. "It’s time to roll back this protection as part of our larger effort on stopping gun violence in our country, and make everyone -- including gun companies -- accountable for their actions."