So, how big an umbrella does this law create? The Brady Campaign against Gun Violence offers one example:
[A] gun dealer escaped accountability when he enabled a drug-abusing, mentally unstable individual to simply take a gun without a Brady background check (he used it two days later to murder an innocent young man). Although he was so grossly negligent that hundreds of guns left his store without background checks, and he had his license revoked for willful violations of gun laws, the dealer was allowed to use his own negligence as a defense to a lawsuit – arguing that PLCAA prohibited ordinary negligence claims.
Yet Remington, which is the target of multiple Sandy Hook-related suits based on a “novel tort theory,” is nervous enough about being held accountable in court that it’s filed for bankruptcy.
In the past the only successful suits against the gun crowd have involved drunk or “straw” buyers, buying weapons on behalf of others. The complaint about Remington is more complicated.
In court briefs, the Sandy Hook families contend Remington Outdoor Co., the owner of the Bushmaster rifle brand, negligently entrusted and marketed “military style” weapons to a young demographic, targeting “video-game playing, military-obsessed 18-year-olds like Adam Lanza.”
The timing’s very telling: Although it announced its intention to declare bankruptcy last month, Remington didn’t actually file until Sunday, one day after the March for Our Lives.
The right’s trying to claim the two are unrelated, but The Federalist’s attempt at making a case was weak. The author spends more time rhapsodizing about guns gone by and bemoaning recent Remington products than providing anything approaching solid rationale for rejecting the connection between Parkland and Remington’s bankruptcy.
In reality, Remington’s well-protected. A legislative fix is needed. Theoretically, a solution is under consideration. But prospects for gun control, or even just accountability, are dim under this Congress.
That doesn’t mean we’re out of options. Private sector actors could be part of holding manufacturers accountable.
Superstore company Fred Meyer said it would stop selling firearms and ammunition at its stores, Dick’s Sporting Goods said it would no longer sell assault-style rifles and Dick’s, Walmart and L.L. Bean each said they would stop selling guns to individuals under the age of 21.
It’s not just retailers. What about the financial industry? Citigroup is placing restrictions on clients to make buying guns just a little harder.
The new policy, announced Thursday, prohibits the sale of firearms to customers who have not passed a background check or who are younger than 21. It also bars the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. It would apply to clients who offer credit cards backed by Citigroup or borrow money, use banking services or raise capital through the company.
In fact, you don’t have to be a retailer or a bank to take part in taking down the gun industry, of course.
What if the payment processing industry’s biggest customers — companies like McDonald’s, Starbucks, Apple, Amazon, AT&T, CVS and others that regularly talk about “social responsibility” — collectively pressured the industry to do it? There’s a chance that some of the payment processors would stop handling gun sales.
In other words, it’s time to broaden the targets of the call for gun control.