ON A BILL TO PROHIBIT MUNICIPALITIES FROM SUING GUN MANUFACTURERS
Remarks on the Floor of the Senate, December 6, 1999
Mr. President, this amendment, this bill, restates the obvious. There are two parts to the lawsuit provision in this legislation. The first part says that you cannot use taxpayer money to sue a manufacturer for doing something which is legal and lawful. Now, that is common sense. You should not be able to sue that person at all for doing something that is legal and lawful. But in America we are allowed to sue anybody for anything. So all we are saying here is that you cannot use taxpayer money to sue that manufacturer for something he might be doing that is legal and lawful.
The second part of the bill, which nobody seems to want to look at, which is on page 11, says you can use taxpayer money to sue that manufacturer for anything he does that is illegal, unlawful, breaks a warranty, breaks a contract, implied or otherwise. And, Mr. President, this is not the first time that this General Assembly has ever said who you can sue, under what circumstances can you sue, when and where. We have done all that in this Chamber. I remember debates in here that make this thing look like a Sunday brunch.
When we talked about automobile insurance and the debate was do we want to limit someone’s right to sue or not, we came up with some kind of bastardized situation which said if you have money and you could buy an expensive policy, you were allowed to sue. If you did not have money and you had to buy the cheap policy, you were not allowed to sue. Nobody got upset about that. We did that. We do it on product liability. We do it on tort reform. It is done all the time.
This is the only instance in recent times when we have had to restate the obvious to protect a minority class of manufacturers who are being blatantly threatened, not with legalities, but blatantly being threatened with harassment, and not harassment by the mayors and their personal money, God forbid, but the mayors and their access to the public till. Taking taxpayer money to do an illegal act, which is to sue a manufacturer for doing something that he is doing, which is completely legal in this country. That is all we said. That is all this says. And this great debate, even those who believe philosophically that they should have the right to harass a minority manufacturer out of business, they will not solve their problem.
Mr. President, there are probably in this country today 100 million guns, and I think that is a conservative number, so if you stop manufacturing them today, they would be available to criminals. Let us not forget the basic concept of gun control, and that is to a criminal, a gun is the tool of their trade. They will get that gun if they have to kill somebody for it or if they have to manufacture it. They will get that weapon. And all this nonsense, feel-good, touchy-feely liberal nonsense only prevents legitimate citizens who would not steal a gun, who would go to the legally licensed purchaser and buy it and put up with the nonsense, it stops them, it impedes them from being able to get the tool they need to protect them from the criminal.
Mr. President, it is all feel-good, touchy, confusing garbage. But the essence is all this bill says is we are not going to allow municipalities to take taxpayer money and harass anybody who is doing something legal. I know that Senator Hughes would be the first one on this floor to get upset about that the police were walking down the street arresting people because they did not like the color of their skin, they did not like what they were wearing, they did not like where they were standing, and they did not like what they were saying. And I would be the second one right behind him defending that right.
This is no different, except the liberal media has found a way to make this minority into a Saddam Hussein. And I am a member of the ACLU, and I firmly believe that you fight for everybody’s rights, even the scum of the earth, because if you take away their rights, it will not be long until they take away my rights. And that goes for every minority, be it ethnic, racial, religious, or by what they manufacture. That is what this country is about, and because a couple of misled politicians found a way to get national publicity by not fighting crime, we are going to roll over and let them do that? I am not, and certainly not with my money in my State under my Constitution.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo