Can Suing Gun Manufacturers Reduce Gun Violence?

Can Suing Gun Manufacturers Reduce Gun Violence?

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Photograph by Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty

Gun manufacturers are the only industry explicitly protected by federal statute from liability lawsuits. Carmakers and cigarette companies can be taken to court if their products or marketing endanger the public. But a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (P.L.C.A.A.) has made it very difficult to sue a gunmaker. Jonathan Lowy has. He’s the chief counsel and vice-president of legal at Brady, one of the country’s oldest advocacy groups against gun violence. Faced with a hostile Supreme Court and a Senate filibuster, Lowy believes civil litigation is a path forward for gun-control advocates. Speaking with Michael Luo, who is this week’s guest host and the editor of newyorker.com, Lowy explains his strategy of slowly chipping away at the P.L.C.A.A. to change how guns are made, marketed, and sold.

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