Gun manufacturers do not have blanket immunity against all kinds of liability and are not the only industry exempt from being sued in the U.S.
“Most people don’t realize: The only industry in America, billion-dollar industry, that can’t be sued, exempt from being sued, are gun manufacturers,” President Joe Biden said in a speech addressing gun violence last week (April 8).
It is likely that Biden was referring to a 2005 law — the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) — which gives gun manufacturers substantial immunity from being sued by victims of gun violence and their relatives. Specifically, the PLCAA prohibits “qualified civil liability actions,” which are defined as civil or administrative proceedings which “result from the criminal or lawful misuse” of firearms or ammunition.
However, there are six exceptions to this blanket immunity which impose liability on gun manufacturers. These exceptions range from negligence, breach of contract or warranty, defect in design or manufacture of the product, a known violation of a federal or state law concerning the sale or marketing of the product among others.
Furthermore, this is not the only industry to receive exemptions from liability. Vaccine manufacturers have special immunity from damages arising out of vaccine-related injury or death. Additionally, The 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act protects COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers and manufacturers of critical medical supplies from being sued for monetary damages in court until 2024 unless there is a “willful misconduct” by the manufacturing company(s). Furthermore, Technology companies also enjoy the privileges afforded to them by Section 230, which protects them from liability for content created by their users.
Based on the above, it is clear that gun manufacturers do not have blanket immunity against all kinds of liability and are not the only industry exempt from being sued in the U.S.