[Congressional Record Volume 151, Number 106 (Friday, July 29, 2005)]
[Senate]
[Pages S9374-S9398]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




               PROTECTION OF LAWFUL COMMERCE IN ARMS ACT

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate will now resume consideration of S. 
397, which the clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 397) to prohibit civil liability actions from 
     being brought or continued against manufacturers, 
     distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition 
     for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the 
     misuse of their products by others.

  Pending:

       Frist (for Craig) modified amendment No. 1605, to make 
     clear that the bill does not apply to actions commenced by 
     the Attorney General to enforce the Gun Control Act.
       Frist modified amendment No. 1606 (to amendment No. 1605), 
     to make clear that the bill does not apply to actions 
     commenced by the Attorney General to enforce the Gun Control 
     Act and National Firearms Act.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, we have now returned to S. 397. Under a 
unanimous consent agreement, there are four amendments to be debated, 
and three of the four will have relevant first degrees. My colleague 
from Kansas has asked to speak very briefly before we move to the first 
amendment.
  I yield to Senator Roberts.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished Senator for 
yielding.
  There is not another thing, basically, on any of these amendments 
that has not already been said or that will change anybody's vote. I 
don't intend

[[Page S9375]]

to hold the Senate up, but I want to take a moment to comment on where 
we are in the legislative schedule and to make a personal request of my 
colleagues. I don't question the right of any Senator to be heard on 
the Senate floor. But I must say I do not understand the need to 
continue debating and discussing all of these amendments on the Friday 
afternoon before the start of a long month's recess. I ask, could we 
please cut down on the rhetoric so that we might be able to get along 
with the people's business and cast our votes. I know the manager wants 
that. I would probably determine that the minority would like that as 
well.
  I make this request not only as a Senator from Kansas but as the 
father of a young lady that I will be walking down the aisle tomorrow. 
Very early this week I informed our leaders in the Senate that I had 
every intention of being at her rehearsal, and that rehearsal and 
dinner starts at 5 o'clock. I will be there. So if we must continue on 
making these statements this afternoon and offering these amendments, I 
ask that the Record reflect that any votes I miss will be the result of 
me performing my duties as a dad and being with my daughter on the most 
important evening and day of her life.
  Thus, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Record reflect 
that should I miss votes in the afternoon, it would have been my 
intention to vote as follows on the Transportation bill, amendments to 
the gun liability bill, and the gun liability bill itself:
  ``Yea'' on the Transportation bill; ``nay'' on the Reed amendment No. 
1642; ``yea'' on the Frist-Craig first-degree amendment to the Kennedy 
amendment No. 1615. Should the first-degree amendment not be accepted, 
I would vote ``nay'' on the Kennedy amendment. I would vote ``yea'' on 
the Frist-Craig first-degree amendment to the Corzine amendment No. 
1619. Should the first-degree amendment not be accepted, it would have 
been my intention to vote ``nay'' on the Corzine amendment. It would be 
my intention to vote ``yea'' on the Frist-Craig first-degree amendment 
to the Lautenberg amendment No. 1620. Should the first-degree amendment 
not be accepted, it would be my intention to vote ``nay'' on the 
Lautenberg amendment. Finally, it would be my intention to vote ``yea'' 
on final passage of the gun liability bill.
  I respect and love you all. I admire you all. But while charm and 
looks and levity may woo us in the start, in the end it is brevity that 
will win my colleagues' hearts.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Idaho.
  Mr. CRAIG. An interesting speech about not making speeches. I yield 
the floor for the offering of an amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.


                           Amendment No. 1620

  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I wonder if I might dare to offer my 
comments after that earlier admonition. But I will do it because we are 
here for reasons that are obvious to everybody. We are here because our 
friends on the other side wanted to stop us from offering amendments 
altogether and are trying to block any suggestion that might be added 
to make this bill more reasonable or more acceptable.
  I call up my amendment and ask unanimous consent that Senator Dodd be 
added as a cosponsor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from New Jersey [Mr. Lautenberg], for himself 
     and Mr. Dodd, proposes an amendment numbered 1620.

  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that further 
reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To exempt lawsuits involving injuries to children from the 
            definition of qualified civil liability action)

       On page 10, strike line 3 and all that follows through page 
     11, line 2, and insert the following:
       (iv) an action for breach of contract or warranty in 
     connection with the purchase of the product;
       (v) an action for death, physical injuries or property 
     damage resulting directly from a defect in design or 
     manufacture of the product, when used as intended or in a 
     reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the 
     discharge of the product was caused by a volitional act that 
     constituted a criminal offense then such act shall be 
     considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, 
     personal injuries or property damage; or
       (vi) any case against a manufacturer or seller involving an 
     injury to or the death of a person under 17 years of age.
       (B) Negligent entrustment.--As used in subparagraph 
     (A)(ii), the term ``negligent entrustment'' means the 
     supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by 
     another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should 
     know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely 
     to, and does, use the product in a manner involving 
     unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.
       (C) Rule of construction.--The exceptions enumerated under 
     clauses (i) through (vi)
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I am offering this amendment that 
poses a question to the Senate. The question is fairly simple: What is 
more important in our life, in our society, to be on watch for: Is it 
to protect our Nation's children and to let those know who would assist 
in harming those children that they are going to be taken to court and 
be sued and punished, if they can be punished, or for criminal action 
as well? This refers only to the civil side of things. But what is more 
important? Is it most important for us to support the NRA, to make sure 
they are satisfied, to make sure that their dictates to this body--and 
it is obvious that it is all over the place. Ladies and gentlemen who 
can hear us in this debate, understand that the other side is willing 
to block your ability, your family's ability to sue someone who has 
been neglectful, careless, reckless with the way a gun is handled and 
to protect them.
  Why? Frankly, I cannot figure it out. But apparently our friends on 
the other side have it all figured out. They just say no. We went 
through that exercise in our society, and it didn't work. It is not 
going to work here. Is it to protect our children? Special interests 
versus the children in America.
  This bill--everyone knows--wants to protect the gun industry even, as 
I said, when they are grossly negligent, reckless, careless. What my 
amendment says is that there should not be a blanket grant of immunity 
in cases in which a child is the victim. We identify a child as those 
children under 17 years of age. How dare we look a mother in the eye 
and tell her that she cannot hold the people who caused the death or 
injury to her child accountable? We cannot do it. One has to look 
deeply into whether there is a constitutional question associated with 
this. The fifth amendment suggests that you have the right to seek 
damages--this is not precise language--for injuries.
  What this bill says now is that the parents of children killed by 
gunfire, when someone else is at fault, even if they are careless, 
reckless, or negligent, cannot seek redress. It has been said before by 
colleagues that there are numerous industries that would like the same 
protection so they can go ahead perhaps and not be as careful in making 
sure their product meets safety standards. But, no, they didn't have 
the muscle to break their way into this place and ``at gunpoint''--if I 
may use the expression--jam something through this Senate. And they 
describe these shamelessly as junk lawsuits--that is hard to 
understand. The bill says, too bad, sorry about your kid, but we cannot 
let you harm these big campaign donors of ours. No, no, no. It is kind 
of sacrosanct. But it is prohibited for every other industry in this 
world of ours.
  If they make a faulty product and if they are negligent in its 
handling, they can be taken to court and sued. I will provide an 
example. A criminal goes into a gunshop and asks to look at assault 
weapons. The dealer lays out deadly weapons on the counter and the 
dealer says: Just a minute. I have to go in the back. Here are these 
weapons on the counter. When the dealer returns from the back room, 
where he said he was going to check something in inventory, the 
criminal has taken the weapon and left the store.
  Can you imagine that outrageous behavior? The lethal weapons were on 
the counter. The dealer could turn his back for a moment and have 
someone with criminal intent steal a gun and go out. The dealer cannot 
be punished for that

[[Page S9376]]

outrageous behavior. The next day, that criminal could use that weapon 
in a drive-by shooting and kill a 6-year-old boy.
  If this bill passes in its current form, the parents of that child 
cannot go to court to sue against that negligent gun dealer. When the 
parents ask why they can't sue this dealer whose negligence caused 
their son's death or permanent disability, we can tell them to thank 
their Senator; get the phone number and office address of their 
Senator, and they can send their gratitude to that Senator--or their 
anger and their rage--which they have a right to do.
  Mr. President, nearly 3,000 children die from gunshot wounds every 
year in our country. The Senate ought to try to reduce that statistic 
and not stand by and permit it to grow.
  According to the CDC, the latest statistics show that in 2002, 2,867 
children and teenagers died from gunshot incidents in the United 
States. The CDC also found that firearm-related deaths among children 
under the age of 15 were 12 times higher here than in 25 other 
industrialized countries combined. Let me repeat that. Firearm-related 
deaths among children under 15 in our country were 12 times higher than 
in 25 other industrialized countries combined. We are not talking about 
backwoods or primitive countries; we are talking about industrialized 
countries. They are much more conscious about protecting their 
population from random gunshots than we are. These are shameful 
statistics.
  So why does it matter whether negligent gun dealers are held 
accountable? Because when we hold people accountable for their actions, 
we prevent wrongdoing that will hurt more people in the future. It 
sends a clear message--hey, if you are not careful with your inventory 
of guns, if you are not careful of whom you sell that gun to, if you 
are not careful with what kind of a retailer you distribute your guns 
to, you are going to pay a price, a stiff price. Maybe it will put you 
out of business. Maybe you deserve to go out of business. That is what 
I say. Why should we lock the courthouse doors to our children and the 
families of children killed or injured by guns?

  Mr. President, earlier I used a hypothetical example, but there are 
thousands of real-life examples of children suffering because of gun 
industry negligence. There is the story of Tennille Jefferson, the 
mother of a young son who became another statistic of gun violence. On 
April 19, 1999, her son, Nafis, was shot and killed by a young man who 
found a gun on the street belonging to a gun trafficker named Perry 
Bruce.
  Perry Bruce bought this deadly weapon from a gun dealer who had 
repeatedly sold him guns, despite many obvious signs that he was a gun 
trafficker. Mr. Bruce had shown a welfare card as his identification; 
yet, somehow nobody at this store bothered to question how he had 
thousands of dollars to purchase 10 guns at a time.
  Mr. Bruce has stated that the gun dealer ``had to know what I was 
doing'' and that he was high on marijuana each time he bought guns from 
this gun dealer.
  Gun dealers like this must be held accountable. This bill gives them 
a free pass to do any darn thing they want, except certain classes of 
negligence, or negligence per se; otherwise, it is a free pass.
  The senior Senator from Virginia spoke so eloquently yesterday about 
this issue. He pointed out that the vast majority of licensed gun 
dealers followed the rules, but there are those rogue dealers that act 
negligently and cause death and injury. Senator Warner explained it to 
us that this bill before us gives these rogue gun dealers a pass. This 
bill says--and I quote Warner--``Go ahead. Do whatever you want.''
  Shamefully, the Senate leadership denied Senator Warner--a 
distinguished, long-serving Senator, a veteran of World War II--from 
having a chance to have a vote on his amendment. I didn't think I would 
be here defending a Republican Senator's chance to offer an amendment, 
but they made sure that that wasn't going to happen. Even though there 
is purported respect, affection, and almost reverence for Senator John 
Warner, they denied him a chance to stand on this floor and offer an 
amendment. No, the NRA is more powerful than Senator Warner. It is 
shameful. In my view, it was so disrespectful to a senior Member of 
this body.
  My amendment takes on pretty much the same issue as Senator Warner 
but with a narrower focus. Do those whose actions lead to the death or 
injury of a child get a free pass? To me, there is only one answer 
there. I would take my kid over anything that the NRA needs or wants 
any time.
  I would fight like the devil for it. I once carried a gun for it when 
I served in World War II. So the question before the Senate on my 
amendment is: Whom do you want to please? Do you want to please 
mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, and sisters? Or do you want 
to protect the NRA, the gun manufacturers, the gun distributors--those 
who at times don't give a darn about how they handle these things?
  We are going to hear the cry about how we are going to put these 
innocent people out of business. Out of business? No. We don't want to 
put them out of business. If they are going to be in the business, and 
they are legally licensed, they need to be careful and make sure they 
obey the rules. If they don't, they will pay a price--perhaps 
criminally, but surely civilly.
  If we fail to adopt my amendment, gun dealers are not going to have 
any accountability, no incentive to behave responsibly, no matter the 
number of children who die from gun violence. Our criminal justice 
system brings about punishment--yes, they take the person who committed 
a violent act or a felony and make them pay. Purportedly, it registers 
with others who would conduct similar acts, and that is the way we 
operate.
  But here, no. We are saying: Listen, you don't even have to be 
careful. You can be negligent and reckless. Do what you want. Come on. 
It is for the gun industry, for the NRA. Whom do we have to respect 
around here? It is obvious that they think it is the NRA. It is unjust, 
unfair, and immoral for us, as elected officials, to strip away the 
rights of children and families who are harmed or killed by gunfire.
  Are Senators willing to look in the eye of Tennile Jefferson and tell 
her the door to the courthouse is barred for her?
  I wish to talk about something we know will be pending, and that is 
the Republican alternative ostensibly to offer the protection these 
children's families might need from my amendment. To put it bluntly, 
the Republican sham protection is an insult. It is an insult to 
America's children. It is an insult to America's parents. It is an 
insult to this Senate. It is an insult to morality. That is the way it 
is going to come about.
  You are going to say: No, that child's family can be protected by 
those conditions already laid out for penetrating the shield of 
protection that the gun industry and the NRA are demanding.
  I urge my colleagues to read this so-called alternative, and I urge 
the public to get this language. Understand what is taking place. 
Compare my amendment to that which is going to be offered and see which 
one is serious about offering the opportunity for people to seek 
compensation in the event of injury.
  The Republican language makes clear that children get no special 
treatment under this bill. It says that children are subject to the 
same limited exemptions that everyone else has under this bill, 
approximately three conditions. Negligence and negligence per se are 
exempt from the prohibition. In our amendment, negligent entrustment 
and negligence per se are still able to be adjudicated in a court in a 
civil action.
  Our amendment says that the gun violence immunity bill should not 
apply to children. Please, look at your own families. See what you 
would do to someone who would harm your child, maybe render them 
totally disabled for life. How would you react to that? Would you say, 
Too bad, the courts in America will not allow us to seek redress, to 
get some measure of compensation? There is never enough money to bring 
back the health and well-being of a child who was killed or a child who 
is permanently injured.
  This will block legal actions on the behalf of children and their 
families who are injured or killed. It is about as simple a decision as 
we get around here. Are there times when the courthouse doors ought to 
be locked, be shut to children or their families, or shouldn't they?

[[Page S9377]]

  I urge my colleagues once again to think about the faces of their 
children. I have 10 grandchildren, and nothing in this world is more 
important to me than all 10 or any 1 of those 10 grandchildren. I think 
everybody else, even those who right now are supporting this hard-
hearted legislation, even those people I know love their children. They 
don't want anything to happen to them. They want to protect them as 
much as they can. I bet whatever devices they can use to protect them 
they would use.
  So come on, think about it when you cast your vote. Look in the 
mirror one time and challenge your conscience to see how you ought to 
be voting. Let that be your guide.
  Mr. President, I believe we have more time for this amendment. What 
is the status of the time for our side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Burr). The Senator has 1 minute remaining.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator reserves the remainder of his 
time.
  Who yields time? The Senator from Idaho.


                           Amendment No. 1644

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, under the order, I send a relevant first-
degree amendment to the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Idaho [Mr. Craig] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 1644.

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To protect the rights of children who are victimized by crime 
  to secure compensation from those who participate in the arming of 
                               criminals)

       On page 11, between lines 6 and 7, insert the following:
       (D) Minor child exception.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
     construed to limit the right of a person under 17 years of 
     age to recover damages authorized under Federal or State law 
     in a civil action that meets 1 of the requirements under 
     clauses (i) through (v) of subparagraph (A).
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, we have just heard the arguments of Senator 
Lautenberg in relation to his amendment. I most assuredly in no way 
question the sincerity of the Senator and the environment in which this 
amendment has been offered. But if I can be as direct as I can be, if 
you want to drive a truck through the middle of the bill, then the 
Lautenberg amendment accomplishes just that. In the name of children, 
yes, and we should be sensitive to children. Of course we are. Children 
are as protected under this proposed law as anyone else because this 
law says go after the criminal, don't go after the law-abiding gun 
manufacturer or the law-abiding gun seller.
  But if there is negligent entrustment, if that can be proven, 
certainly if that seller or if that gun dealer or manufacturer is 
negligent, then anyone can and should bring lawsuits. It is the same 
issue we faced on previous amendments trying to carve out a special 
class that gets favored treatment beyond another class, and with 
children, certainly that would sound like we would want to be more 
sensitive.
  Most of us in the Senate are parents, but you don't have to be a 
parent to grieve over a child's injury or a child's death. We have many 
laws on the books at both the State and the Federal level, and some of 
them are placed by this very Senate to protect our Nation's most 
vulnerable--our children. We must insist on the enforcement of those 
laws instead of constantly trying to carve out something special that 
may not even be that enforceable. How do you protect children on the 
street? You go after the criminal who is packing the gun on the street. 
Every year we do that, those deaths go down in America, whether it is a 
child's death or whether it is an adult's death. The Lautenberg 
amendment speaks to those 17 years of age and younger.
  If those laws are broken by the gun industry, then the bill we are 
considering today will not shield them from the lawsuits or from the 
kind of harm that is rendered. If this is the same issue--and it is--we 
have debated several times to carve out something special, then we 
should not do that. But what we are saying in the alternative that has 
just been offered is that the bill allows lawsuits against firearms 
industries by and for children to the same extent that it does for any 
other victim of the illegal misuse of a firearm in relation to a gun 
manufacturer and a gun dealer.
  Under this, if a child is injured by some wrongdoing of the gun 
industry, the lawsuits are not barred. Again, remember yesterday we 
debated the question of negligence and reckless conduct, and it was 
very clearly established by a substantially large vote in the Senate 
that it does not take away the standards of law and the specifications 
within the Federal law today as it relates to the responsible and legal 
operation and performance of a gun manufacturer or a licensed Federal 
firearms dealer.
  How do you solve the crisis or the problem so defined by Senator 
Lautenberg? You enforce the law. You go after the criminal. You go 
after the drug dealer. You go to the streets of America and you sweep 
them clean of those who would break the law and those who are stealing 
the guns and those who are misusing the guns, instead of going after a 
law-abiding legal citizen manufacturing a law-abiding and legal 
product.
  I believe that is the issue, and I ask my colleagues to support us in 
voting for the alternative and opposing the Lautenberg amendment.
  I now yield to Senator Thune for any comments he would wish to make. 
What is the time remaining on our side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho has 15 minutes 10 
seconds.
  Mr. CRAIG. I yield 10 minutes to the Senator.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Will the Senator yield for a question and 
clarification of terms?
  Mr. CRAIG. I yield.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. On the question of gross negligence, does gross 
negligence pierce the prohibition suit?
  Mr. CRAIG. If it is spelled out within the context of the Federal law 
today, it would. Under this bill, it would not unless it could be 
established as a violation of the current laws of our country and under 
the current standards. We are not creating a new category as the Levin 
amendment tried to do as it relates to gross negligence or reckless 
misconduct. But what was established was negligence, negligent 
entrustment is not exempt from this law.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Didn't the Senator from Michigan offer the gross 
negligence exemption and had it denied because----
  Mr. CRAIG. In the broadest sense, he did.
  Reclaiming my time, I yield to the Senator from South Dakota.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota is recognized 
for 10 minutes.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Idaho for his 
leadership on this issue and for yielding time. I rise in strong 
support of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and in 
opposition to these amendments that will be offered this afternoon, all 
of which are designed to gut the underlying legislation.

  It has been noted throughout the course of this debate that 
prosecutions are up, crime is down. That should be the fundamental 
focus of our efforts--protecting people from crimes committed by 
firearms.
  I come from a State where we view these issues as a part of our 
personal freedoms, part of the rights that are guaranteed under the 
Constitution, the opportunity to possess and own firearms. It is a part 
of the culture of our State, a belief in personal freedom, also coupled 
with personal responsibility, which is why every year thousands of 
young South Dakotans take the firearm safety course and learn the 
responsible use of firearms and then go out and have the opportunity to 
hunt and recreate and enjoy the great outdoors in our great State.
  That was the opportunity I had as a young 12-year-old. I have taught 
my teenage daughters responsible use of firearms. It is part of our 
history. It is part of our tradition. It is part of our culture.
  The bill before us today would end many of the abusive lawsuits that 
are often filed, largely with the intent to bankrupt the firearms 
industry. Contrary to the assertions by some, this

[[Page S9378]]

bill is not about the NRA. This bill is about law-abiding gun owners, 
it is about law-abiding gun dealers, it is about law-abiding gun 
manufacturers who are having that second amendment right infringed upon 
by those who are trying to destroy an industry that, for a couple of 
centuries now, has provided quality workmanship in accordance with 
Federal and State laws.
  This bill is about reestablishing some of the fairness and justice, 
getting it back into our judicial system. This bill attempts to remedy 
a system that allows innocent parties--in this case, gun manufacturers 
and gun dealers--who have abided by the law to become victims of 
predatory lawsuits.
  Furthermore, we are protecting American workers who are in danger of 
losing their jobs due to the enormous amount of money that must be 
spent to defend against unfounded lawsuits.
  I also support this legislation because it would take the first step 
in ending what has been now a decades-long trend of using the courts to 
effect social change. For far too long, the American judicial system 
has been used as a conduit around the legislative process in an attempt 
to make public policy or implement social change outside the democratic 
process.
  The aim of this bill is clear: to allow legitimate lawsuits against a 
manufacturer when the legal principles to do so are present. The bill 
allows suits against manufacturers who breach a contract or a warranty, 
for negligent entrustment of a firearm, for violating a law in the 
production or sale of a firearm, or for harm caused by a defect in 
design or manufacture.
  These are not arbitrary standards, nor are they an approved NRA wish 
list. They are established legal principles that apply across the board 
to all industries. People who misuse firearms should pay for their 
crimes and answer to those they injure. However tragic, a death or an 
injury caused by a firearm should not create a windfall at the expense 
of the manufacturer if the manufacturer followed the law.
  The manufacturer should not be held responsible for intentional and 
unforeseen acts of unrelated third parties.
  The firearms industry has spent over $200 million in lawsuits. Many 
of these cases are not filed by injured parties but by city and 
municipal governments and special interest groups simply looking for 
the deepest pockets and not the guilty party. This bill would not allow 
manufacturers in the firearms industry to act as recklessly as they 
please, as some have asserted.
  The firearms industry is one of America's most regulated industries. 
For example, a firearm is one of the few consumer goods that requires a 
waiting period or a background check. Unfortunately, some ultimately 
hope to drive America's gun manufacturers into bankruptcy and 
eventually out of business. The firearms industry is not only part of 
our tradition of outdoor and hunting sports, it is an integral part of 
our military manufacturing base. We cannot allow this industry to be 
bankrupted by unfounded lawsuits and endless litigation.
  S. 397, this underlying bill, is good policy. It is a bipartisan bill 
with over 60 cosponsors and it mirrors legislation that already exists 
in 33 States around this country. By supporting this bill we are 
sending a message that Congress is committed to protecting American 
jobs and providing further security against predatory lawsuits. I 
encourage my colleagues to support the underlying legislation and to 
resist these amendments--these are killer amendments, gutting 
amendments that would undermine the entire purpose behind this 
legislation--and allow this legislation to pass and be put in place so 
the gun manufacturers and dealers of this country can operate in a 
fair, sensible, and just environment with the goods they produce for 
American firearms owners.
  I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, may I inquire how much time remains on my 
side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority side has 7 minutes 45 seconds, 
and 53 seconds on the minority.
  Mr. CRAIG. I yield 3 minutes to the Senator from Alabama.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Idaho for his 
leadership and his articulate explanation of why this is good 
legislation. We are following the historic principles of civil 
litigation in America. We had a group of activist, anti-gun litigators 
who sometimes buddy up with a city or mayor somewhere--usually a big 
city--and try to conjure up some way to make a legitimate manufacturer 
of a firearm liable for intervening acts of criminals and murderers.
  That has never been the principle of American law, but it is a 
reality that is occurring today and it threatens an industry that 
supplies our military with weapons. The Department of Defense is 
concerned about it and they support this legislation. This industry 
supplies weapons for our policemen as they go about their duties every 
day. If we do not watch it, we will end up with no domestic 
manufacturing and have to import firearms to this country.
  The Lautenberg amendment is unprincipled, unjustified, and 
inconsistent with the good policies of the bill. Why would we want to 
allow any group of people, whether age or sex or anything else, the 
nature of their job, be able to pursue a lawsuit that others would not 
be able to pursue?
  Mr. REED. Would the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. SESSIONS. On the Senator's time. How much time do we have?
  Mr. CRAIG. I yield time to respond if the Senator wishes.
  Mr. SESSIONS. All right. I would be pleased to attempt to answer the 
question.
  Mr. REED. The Senator from Alabama is a lawyer, a Federal attorney, 
and has made the statement that an intervening criminal act essentially 
absolves someone of negligence, which I think is a fair response, but 
yet the statement of torts, which is recognized generally by most 
lawyers as the statement of basic law in torts, says very clearly that 
an intervening criminal act does not absolve someone from their own 
negligence. Because of the standing of the Senator as an attorney, I 
suggest that his conclusion does not comport with what most people 
assume is the law of the country.
  Mr. SESSIONS. All I know is I won a lawsuit on it. I defended the 
Veterans' Administration when a veteran went off the grounds and was 
murdered by a murderer. They tried to sue the VA. They said the VA was 
negligent in letting him get off the grounds of the VA. We alleged that 
one could foresee certain things and cited abundant authority to the 
fact that no one should be held liable and should expect criminality, 
an intervening criminal act, of that kind.
  That is my view of it, but maybe somebody else would not have that 
view.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired. Does the 
Senator from Idaho yield additional time?
  Mr. CRAIG. I yield additional time.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Just 1 minute. It is my view that this is the classic 
principle of law and we have gotten away from it. We have eroded these 
practical, realistic, historical principles of liability and, as such, 
insurance goes through the roof, huge verdicts are being filed against 
victims. The allegation has been that if somebody had their firearm 
stolen by a thief, they then become liable if that thief goes and 
murders somebody. What kind of principle of law is that? Maybe that is 
not the idea behind this amendment, but that is the way I see it. I do 
not think it is good.
  This bill allows lawsuits for violation of contract, for negligence, 
in not following the rules and regulations and for violating any law or 
regulation that is part of the complex rules that control sellers and 
manufacturers of firearms.
  I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, this Frist-Craig amendment ensures that 
nothing in the gun liability bill would limit the right of a person 
under 17 to recover damages authorized by law in a civil action.
  A person suing on behalf of an injured person can sue under 
traditional tort law as always.
  But the underlying Lautenberg amendment would allow lawsuits even

[[Page S9379]]

if no law is broken, no product is defective, and no person negligently 
sold a gun.
  These are the types of suits we are trying to stop.
  So I urge my colleagues to vote for the Frist-Craig amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I will close out our side and then the 
Senator from New Jersey can close.
  From 1992 to the year 2003--and this is only in the area of 
accidental deaths by firearms--dramatically down, 54 percent. From 2001 
to 2003, down 13 percent. That category is not quite what the Senator 
talks about, but it is from 5 to 14 that makes up 1.6 percent of the 
total deaths by firearms, again dramatically down. Why? These are 
accidental. These are not on the streets of America. But out on the 
streets of America, those are also down because we are enforcing the 
law and going after the criminal.
  That is what this is all about. It is not going after law-abiding 
citizens. I think the Senator from Alabama put it very clearly. All new 
law is being treaded upon instead of adhering to consistent, known, 
well-established tort law in America.
  I would hope my colleagues will support my amendment, the alternative 
to the Lautenberg amendment. I oppose the Lautenberg amendment.
  I yield back the remainder of my time and would hope that Senators 
could conclude their remarks as we move to a vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator yields back the remainder of his 
time.
  The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, very quickly, not once in my comments 
did I talk about taking away guns from people. We are discussing this 
particular issue. There are three reasons that permit penetration of 
the veil of immunity: negligent entrustment, negligence per se, and 
defective products. Those who describe negligence as a cause are 
mistaken.
  It was suggested that this would drive a truck through this bill. I 
want to drive that truck full of children alive and healthy.
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator yields back his time. All time is 
expired.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The following Senator was necessarily absent: the 
Senator from New Hampshire (Mr. Sununu).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Delaware (Mr. Biden) is 
necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 72, nays 26, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 214 Leg.]

                                YEAS--72

     Alexander
     Allard
     Allen
     Baucus
     Bayh
     Bennett
     Bingaman
     Bond
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Burr
     Byrd
     Cantwell
     Chambliss
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Coleman
     Collins
     Conrad
     Cornyn
     Craig
     Crapo
     DeMint
     Dole
     Domenici
     Dorgan
     Ensign
     Enzi
     Frist
     Graham
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Hatch
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kohl
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Lieberman
     Lincoln
     Lott
     Lugar
     Martinez
     McCain
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Murray
     Nelson (FL)
     Nelson (NE)
     Pryor
     Reid
     Roberts
     Rockefeller
     Salazar
     Santorum
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Smith
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stabenow
     Stevens
     Talent
     Thomas
     Thune
     Vitter
     Voinovich
     Warner

                                NAYS--26

     Akaka
     Boxer
     Carper
     Chafee
     Clinton
     Corzine
     Dayton
     DeWine
     Dodd
     Durbin
     Feingold
     Feinstein
     Harkin
     Inouye
     Jeffords
     Kennedy
     Kerry
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Mikulski
     Obama
     Reed
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--2

     Biden
     Sununu
       
  The amendment (No. 1644) was agreed to.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote and to table 
the motion.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.


                       Vote on Amendment No. 1620

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, the next vote is on the Lautenberg 
amendment. I ask unanimous consent that the time for voting be reduced 
to 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is 
so ordered.
  Mr. CRAIG. I also encourage my colleagues--Jack and I are trying to 
move these amendments as rapidly as we can. When we have people trying 
to take 20 minutes to these votes, that does not help us. We are 
debating them in less time than it is taking us to vote. So please stay 
around and we can move through these amendments very rapidly.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the Lautenberg 
amendment.
  Mr. CRAIG. I ask for the yeas and nays on the Lautenberg amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the 
Senator from New Hampshire (Mr. Sununu).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cornyn). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 35, nays 64, as follows:
  The result was announced--yeas 35, nays 64, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 215 Leg.]

                                YEAS--35

     Akaka
     Bayh
     Biden
     Bingaman
     Boxer
     Cantwell
     Carper
     Chafee
     Clinton
     Corzine
     Dayton
     DeWine
     Dodd
     Durbin
     Feingold
     Feinstein
     Harkin
     Inouye
     Jeffords
     Kennedy
     Kerry
     Kohl
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Mikulski
     Murray
     Nelson (FL)
     Obama
     Reed
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Stabenow
     Wyden

                                NAYS--64

     Alexander
     Allard
     Allen
     Baucus
     Bennett
     Bond
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Burr
     Byrd
     Chambliss
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Coleman
     Collins
     Conrad
     Cornyn
     Craig
     Crapo
     DeMint
     Dole
     Domenici
     Dorgan
     Ensign
     Enzi
     Frist
     Graham
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Hatch
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Lincoln
     Lott
     Lugar
     Martinez
     McCain
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Nelson (NE)
     Pryor
     Reid
     Roberts
     Rockefeller
     Salazar
     Santorum
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Smith
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Talent
     Thomas
     Thune
     Vitter
     Voinovich
     Warner

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
     Sununu
       
  The amendment (No. 1620) was rejected.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. HATCH. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.


                           Amendment No. 1615

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I understand the next amendment in order is 
the Kennedy amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts is recognized.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I understand there is a time limitation. 
We have 20 minutes; is that correct?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct.
  Mr. KENNEDY. I ask the Chair to remind me when I have 5 minutes 
remaining.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Kennedy] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 1615.

  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To expand the definition of armor piercing ammunition and for 
                            other purposes)

       On page 13, after line 4, insert the following:

     SEC. 5. ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION.

       (a) Expansion of Definition of Armor Piercing Ammunition.--
     Section 921(a)(17)(B) of title 18, United States Code, is 
     amended--

[[Page S9380]]

       (1) in clause (i), by striking ``or'' at the end;
       (2) in clause (ii), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting a semicolon; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(iii) a projectile that may be used in a handgun and that 
     the Attorney General determines, under section 926(d), to be 
     capable or penetrating body armor; or
       ``(iv) a projectile ror a center-fire rifle, designed or 
     marketed as having armor piercing capability, that the 
     Attorney General determines, under section 926(d), to be more 
     likely to penetrate body armor than standard ammunition or 
     the same caliber.''.
       (b) Determination of the Capability of Projectiles To 
     Penetrate Body Armor.--Section 926 or title 18, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding at the end the rollowing:
       ``(d)(1) Not later than 1 year after the date or enactment 
     or this subsection, the Attorney General shall promulgate 
     standards for the uniform testing of projectiles against Body 
     Armor Exemplar.
       ``(2) The standards promulgated under paragraph (1) shall 
     take into account, among other factors, variations in 
     perrormance that are related to the length of the barrel or 
     the handgun or center-fire rifle rrom which the projectile is 
     fired and the amount and kind or powder used to propel the 
     projectile.
       ``(3) As used in paragraph (1), the term `Body Armor 
     Exemplar' means body armor that the Attorney General 
     determines meets minimum standards for the protection of law 
     enforcement officers.''.

  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I express my strong appreciation to the 
Senator from Rhode Island, Mr. Reed, for his leadership in opposition 
to this legislation. It has been enormously impressive. Many of us who 
share his views are grateful for his steadfastness, his hard work, and 
his perseverance and commitment.
  It is preposterous to call this bill the Protection of Lawful 
Commerce in Arms Act. If we were honest, we would call it the 
``Protection of Unlawful Commerce in Arms Act.'' It is a blatant 
special interest bill to protect gun manufacturers and sellers, even if 
they recklessly make guns available to criminals and terrorists. This 
aids and abets the perpetuation of these crimes. With all the urgent 
challenges facing our country, it is difficult to believe that the Bush 
administration and the Republican leadership are willing to spend any 
time at all on this flagrant anti-victim, anti-law-enforcement 
legislation, let alone push aside the major Defense authorization bill 
to make room for this debate.
  President Bush called for clean passage of the bill without extending 
the Federal ban on assault weapons, without closing the gun show 
loophole, and without any other needed reforms in our Nation's laws.
  Instead of this special interest legislation, Congress should be 
considering important bills, such as Senator Feinstein's proposal to 
regulate .50 caliber weapons. These weapons are particularly dangerous 
because of their appeal to terrorists. These rifles can shoot down 
airplanes and destroy armored vehicles. These bullets can even 
penetrate several inches of steel. They have been called the ideal 
tools for terrorists. Who are we kidding?
  In 1995, a RAND Corporation report identified these weapons as a 
serious threat to the security of U.S. Air Force bases. In 2003, a U.S. 
Army intelligence training handbook called this rifle a weapon 
``attractive to terrorists for use in assassinations.'' Snipers love 
them. A study funded by the Department of Homeland Security identified 
these rifles as an imminent threat to civilian aviation. The report 
noted that these weapons have been acquired by al-Qaida and even been 
used to attack our own troops in Iraq.
  Barrett Firearms Manufacturing and E.D.M. Arms advertise these 
assault weapons as capable of destroying multimillion-dollar aircraft 
with a single hit. Every bullet sold for these weapons puts our troops 
at risk. But are we working to stop that? No. Instead we are, once 
again, debating a bill that threatens the safety of the American people 
in a way that undermines law enforcement and our national security. 
Instead we are guaranteeing that people who sell these rifles and 
ammunition will never be held liable for their crimes.
  With its raw special interest power, the National Rifle Association 
has demonstrated that this bill is a top priority for Senate action. 
They could care less that they are interrupting the important business 
of protecting our men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. They 
are willing to let unsavory gun dealers and gun manufacturers put 
powerful killing machines in the hands of criminals and terrorists 
without any regulation or liability. It is a national disgrace that 
America does more to regulate the safety of toy guns than real guns.
  The Republican leadership and the Bush administration will do 
whatever it takes to give the industry all it wants. The NRA wants gun 
dealers and manufacturers to be protected from lawsuits. The NRA 
expects and demands that the Senate take away the courts as the last 
resort for victims of gun violence. For years the courts have been the 
only place where negligent and often conspiring gun dealers and 
manufacturers can be challenged.
  The Senate majority leader says this bill is of urgent importance, 
taking precedence over the Defense bill because the Department of 
Defense ``faces the real prospect of having to outsource sidearms for 
our soldiers to foreign manufacturers.'' Guess what. The bulk of 
contracts to arm our country's military and law enforcement is already 
held by foreign manufacturers based in Austria, Italy, Germany, Sweden, 
Jordan, and Belgium. Lawsuits have nothing to do with that.
  Furthermore, we have not heard one single company filing for 
bankruptcy in the absence of this legislation. The truth is that gun 
industry profits are on the rise. The only two publicly held gun 
companies in this country have filed recent statements with the 
Securities and Exchange Commission specifically and emphatically 
contradicting the claim that they are threatened by lawsuits.
  Smith & Wesson filed a statement with the SEC, June 29, 2005, 1 month 
ago, stating: We expect net product sales for fiscal 2005 to be 
approximately $124 million, a 5-percent increase over the $117 million 
reported for fiscal 2004. Firearms sales for fiscal 2005 are expected 
to increase by 11 percent over the fiscal 2004 level.
  In another filing, dated March 10, 2005, Smith & Wesson wrote: In the 
9 months ended January 31, 2005, we incurred $4,500 in legal defense 
costs.
  Legal defense costs of $4,500 are supposed to be bankrupting the 
company? Let's get real.
  At the same time, gun manufacturer Sturm, Rugr told the SEC in a 
March 1, 2005, filing: It is not probable and it is unlikely that 
litigation, including punitive damage claims, will have a material 
adverse effect on the financial position of the company.
  We have to wonder what the real agenda is here. The level of 
litigation against gun manufacturers and dealers is miniscule. In a 10-
year period, only 57 suits were filed against gun industry defendants 
out of an estimated 10 million tort suits in America. We are supposed 
to buy the claim that these lawsuits are unduly burdening the gun 
industry. No. This legislation is another in a long line of 
congressional paybacks to the NRA, to the severe detriment of the 
safety of the American people. The gun lobby has systematically made it 
more difficult and, in some cases, even impossible for the government 
to police negligent gun dealers and manufacturers, while making it 
easier for criminals to buy guns.
  Under the Brady bill, a licensed seller of firearms must run a 
background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National 
Instant Criminal Background Check System. But at the NRA's demand, 
Congress drastically narrowed the definition of gun dealer. Reckless 
and unlicensed dealers are now selling millions of guns to people, 
including criminals and terrorists, without background checks. All of 
that is legal because the U.S. Congress kowtowed to the National Rifle 
Association.
  We have a shameless proposal before the Senate today that shields 
even the most reckless sales in the gun industry. This bill will even 
protect manufacturers that promote military-style weapons for use in 
battle in urban scenarios against any foe at any range. It protects 
manufacturers who brag about their weapons of war and spread them to 
our streets.

  Look at this advertisement from Vulcan. ``Vulcan Armament, the 
weapons of the special forces. From Afghanistan to Iraq, the guns of 
the special forces are now on sale in America.''
  All you need is a credit card. Call that company and you get that 
weapon. It is being used by special forces in Iraq. Do you think this 
bill has anything to do with protecting Americans from that? Absolutely 
not.

[[Page S9381]]

  The gun dealer claims: ``From Afghanistan to Iraq, the guns of the 
special forces are now on sale . . . '' How outrageous can dealers get? 
But the NRA demands that these sales continue to be unregulated. Credit 
card, computer, you get your sniper rifle used by the special forces. 
And are we doing anything about that? Absolutely not.
  Congress continues to do their bidding as it has done for years. At 
the insistence of the NRA, Congress has already tied the hands of law 
enforcement by cutting Federal funding for the agency that overseas gun 
dealers and manufacturers. According to the GAO, at the current level 
of underfunding, the ATF would take 22 years to inspect every gun 
dealer just once. What kind of enforcement is that? The GAO also tells 
us that people on the terrorist watch list are routinely buying guns in 
this country. Under current law, terrorists are not prohibited buyers. 
At the urging of the NRA, Congress is doing nothing about it. If that 
weren't enough, under this bill, gun manufacturers and sellers will be 
exempt from lawsuits even if they sell weapons to terrorists.
  I have a GAO report that shows that there were 45 instances where the 
GAO found firearms-related background checks handled by the FBI 
resulted in valid matches with terrorist watch list records. Of this 
total, 35 transactions were allowed to proceed. If they get on the 
list, they are supposed to notify Homeland Security. But in this case, 
35 transactions were allowed to proceed because the background checks 
found no prohibiting information. What does that mean? The prohibiting 
information are the categories that would deny them the ability to sell 
these weapons. For example, if you have had a felony conviction, you 
can't sell them; illegal immigration, you can't sell them; domestic 
violence, you can't sell them.
  Member of a terrorist organization? You can sell them. Do you think 
this bill is doing anything about that? Do you think we are doing 
anything about that? No. It is disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful.
  We already know the terrorists are exploiting the weaknesses and 
loopholes in the Nation's gun laws. In the caves of Afghanistan our 
troops found an al-Qaida manual that instructed terrorists on how to 
buy guns legally in the United States without having to undergo a 
background check. Al-Qaida understands that we have created a mess that 
allows, even encourages, criminals and terrorists to traffic in guns.
  Why do we in this body continue to ignore it? We are not talking 
about some hypothetical situation. In 2000, a member of a terrorist 
group in the Middle East was convicted in Detroit on weapons charges 
and conspiracy to ship weapons and ammunition to Lebanon. He had bought 
many of these weapons at gun shows in Michigan. In 1999, only a lack of 
cash prevented two persons from purchasing a grenade launcher at a gun 
show in a plot to blow up two large propane tanks in suburban 
Sacramento. But instead of addressing these real and serious problems, 
the Senate is considering this outrageous immunity bill that even gives 
the gun industry protection from administrative proceedings to revoke 
licenses of dealers who sell to illegal buyers.
  This bill will bar State attorneys general from bringing civil 
actions against gun sellers, even those engaged in so-called straw 
sales to middlemen who buy guns from prohibited buyers. Why should the 
industry stop there? At the demand of the NRA, Congress has already 
exempted the gun industry from Federal consumer safety regulation. But 
the NRA wants more. It is a disgrace.
  The NRA has also persuaded our Government to destroy gun purchasing 
background records within 24 hours. Our Justice Department refused to 
examine the gun records of any of the 19 hijackers or 1,200 suspected 
terrorists rounded up after 9/11. We can know everything about law-
abiding citizens in this country, but we can't know about the 
terrorists purchasing these weapons. Within days of 9/11, we knew who 
the hijackers were, where they sat on the planes. We saw some of their 
faces on surveillance videos. We knew what they had charged on their 
credit cards. We knew where they had gone to school. We knew where they 
lived, where they traveled. We knew they had tried to get pilot's 
licenses. We knew they had looked for a way to transport hazardous 
chemicals. But we didn't know whether our terrorist friends had 
purchased firearms because we were worried about their privacy rights 
and their right to bear arms.
  Give me a break. Give me a break. Make no mistake, Mr. President, the 
National Rifle Association clearly comes first in this Senate 
Republican agenda. This is not just about the immunity bill on the 
floor today. If this bill passes, it will open the floodgates for NRA's 
other priorities. None of these priorities will protect our citizens or 
make this country safer. Designed by the NRA, it promotes the sale of 
guns by manufacturers if they are sold to criminals. The NRA is 
lavishly rewarded for lobbying victories, and so are the Members of 
Congress who do their bidding.
  This is an unholy alliance, Mr. President. This bill gives greater 
protection to the gun industry than Congress has given to any industry, 
and it is a dangerous precedent. At a minimum, we owe a duty to the 
police officers who are more in jeopardy because of the increasing 
number of dangerous weapons and ammunition in the hands of criminals. 
The Treasury Department already has regulations containing some 
prohibitions on armor-piercing ammunition. My amendment would expand 
the ban on that. It can easily be sold over the Internet, no questions 
asked. That is a disgrace and danger to police officers throughout the 
Nation.
  The NRA would have us believe cop-killer bullets are a myth, they 
don't exist. Try to tell that to some of the sellers on eBay. Here you 
go, Mr. President. This chart represents what is on eBay. All you need 
is one click of the computer, and you can buy these bullets on eBay--
armor-piercing bullets. They are $15 on eBay, armor-piercing bullets.
  Now let's look at what has happened in the last year, in 2004. The 
number of police officers killed was 54, and 32 of these officers were 
wearing body armor. The only bullet that can pierce the armor is the 
cop-killer bullet. That is what this amendment addresses, the cop-
killer bullet. It will stop the sale of the cop-killer bullet. These 
are the types of armor-piercing ammunition. All you have to do is look 
at these words, ``hardened steel or tungsten carbide.'' Any terrorist 
knows what that means. Put those words together, and it goes right 
through a police officer's armored vest. We have had 54 police officers 
killed in the line of duty; 32 were wearing body armor.
  This is the FBI report of May 16, 2005. I ask unanimous consent that 
it be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

FBI Preliminary Statistics Show 54 Law Enforcement Officers Feloniously 
                             Killed in 2004

       Washington, D.C.--Fifty-four law enforcement officers were 
     feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2004, according to 
     preliminary statistics released today by the FBI's Uniform 
     Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Nearly half of the officers 
     killed, 26, were in the South; 9 officers were in the 
     Midwest; 9 were in the West; and 7 were in the Northeast. Two 
     were in Puerto Rico, and 1 was in the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
     The number of officers killed was up 2 from the 52 officers 
     killed in 2003.
       The 54 officer deaths occurred during 47 different 
     incidents. Police cleared 46 out of the 47 incidents by 
     arrest or exceptional means. One offender is still at large. 
     Of the officers killed, 16 died in arrest situations, 12 died 
     responding to disturbance calls, 7 died investigating 
     suspicious persons or circumstances, 6 were ambushed, and 6 
     more were killed in traffic pursuits or stops. Two officers 
     were killed while handling mentally deranged persons, 2 died 
     while involved in investigative activities, 2 died in 
     tactical situations, and 1 died handling and transporting a 
     prisoner.
       As in previous years, most offenders used firearms to kill 
     police officers in 2004. Of the 52 officers who died from 
     gunshot wounds, 36 were fatally injured with handguns, 12 
     were shot with rifles, and 4 were killed with shotguns. 
     Offenders used vehicles to kill 2 officers. Thirty-two 
     officers were wearing body armor, 11 fired their own weapons, 
     and 9 attempted to fire their own weapons. Seven of the 
     officers had their service weapons stolen, and 6 were killed 
     with their own weapons.
       In addition to the officers feloniously killed, 82 law 
     enforcement officers died accidentally in the performance of 
     their duties in 2004. This is an increase of 1 over the 2003 
     total of 81 officers killed accidentally.
       The UCR Program's publication, Law Enforcement Officers 
     Killed and Assaulted, 2004, is scheduled to be released in 
     the fall. The publication, produced annually, includes final 
     statistics and complete details.


[[Page S9382]]


  Mr. KENNEDY. That is what this amendment does. Nobody can deny that 
our policemen and policewomen face a greater threat every day from 
these armor-piercing weapons and bullets that remain in our community. 
It is outrageous and unconscionable that such ammunition continues to 
be sold in the United States.
  Mr. President, victims of gun violence and their families oppose this 
underlying legislation. I wish to mention the organizations that 
support my amendment. The International Brotherhood of Police Officers, 
the National Black Police Association, the Hispanic American Police 
Command Officers, the National Latino Police Officers, and the Major 
City Chiefs Association representing the Nation's largest police 
departments all support this amendment.
  If you are interested in the security of those who are protecting us 
on the streets and in our communities and in our homes across this 
Nation, support my amendment, not a phony amendment that will be put on 
by the other side.
  I withhold my time.
  Ms CANTWELL. Mr. President, today I rise to cast another vote in 
favor of strict control on armor-piercing, cop-killer bullets. I am 
proud to stand to strengthen the penalties against those who use this 
ammunition. I also would like to set the record straight on my position 
on the same amendment last year. Last year, like this year, several 
Senators offered versions of this measure. I support both strengthening 
the penalties and the other provisions of the Craig/Frist amendment, as 
well as the broader definition of banned cop-killer ammunition in the 
Kennedy amendment, which I believe provides even stronger protection 
for America's law enforcement officers. That is why I am voting for 
both of these amendments and why I wish I had been recorded supporting 
both of these amendments last year.
  In preparation for today's vote, it was discovered that my position 
was inaccurately recorded last year. While Senate rules do not allow 
for a formal correction of an error from a previous Congress, I today 
submit for the record that I supported the Frist/Craig amendment last 
year, just as I do today.
  And I particularly thank both the Senator from Idaho and the Senator 
from Massachusetts for their work on this important issue.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho is recognized.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, how much time does Senator Kennedy have 
remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. He has 1 minute 39 seconds.


                           Amendment No. 1645

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I send a relevant first-degree amendment to 
the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Idaho [Mr. Craig] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 1645.

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that further 
reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

    (Purpose: To regulate the sale and possession of armor piercing 
                  ammunition, and for other purposes)

       On page 13, after line 4, insert the following:

     SEC. 5. ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION.

       (a) Unlawful Acts.--Section 922(a) of title 18, United 
     States Code, is amended by striking paragraphs (7) and (8) 
     and inserting the following:
       ``(7) for any person to manufacture or import armor 
     piercing ammunition, unless--
       ``(A) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the use of 
     the United States, any department or agency of the United 
     States, any State, or any department, agency, or political 
     subdivision of a State;
       ``(B) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the purpose 
     of exportation; or
       ``(C) the manufacture or importation of such ammunition is 
     for the purpose of testing or experimentation and has been 
     authorized by the Attorney General;
       ``(8) for any manufacturer or importer to sell or deliver 
     armor piercing ammunition, unless such sale or delivery--
       ``(A) is for the use of the United States, any department 
     or agency of the United States, any State, or any department, 
     agency, or political subdivision of a State;
       ``(B) is for the purpose of exportation; or
       ``(C) is for the purpose of testing or experimentation and 
     has been authorized by the Attorney General;''.
       (b) Penalties.--Section 924(c) of title 18, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(5) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence 
     is otherwise provided under this subsection, or by any other 
     provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to 
     any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a 
     crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for 
     an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or 
     dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be 
     prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries 
     armor piercing ammunition, or who, in furtherance of any such 
     crime, possesses armor piercing ammunition, shall, in 
     addition to the punishment provided for such crime of 
     violence or drug trafficking crime or conviction under this 
     section--
       ``(A) be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less 
     than 15 years; and
       ``(B) if death results from the use of such ammunition--
       ``(i) if the killing is murder (as defined in section 
     1111), be punished by death or sentenced to a term of 
     imprisonment for any term of years or for life; and
       ``(ii) if the killing is manslaughter (as defined in 
     section 1112), be punished as provided in section 1112.''.
       (c) Study and Report.--
       (1) Study.--The Attorney General shall conduct a study to 
     determine whether a uniform standard for the testing of 
     projectiles against Body Armor is feasible.
       (2) Issues to be studied.--The study conducted under 
     paragraph (1) shall include--
       (A) variations in performance that are related to the 
     length of the barrel of the handgun or center-fire rifle from 
     which the projectile is fired; and
       (B) the amount of powder used to propel the projectile.
       (3) Report.--Not later than 2 years after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall submit a 
     report containing the results of the study conducted under 
     this subsection to--
       (A) the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on the 
     Judiciary of the Senate; and
       (B) the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on the 
     Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I yield 10 minutes to the Senator from 
Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I have listened to the argument of the 
distinguished Senator from Massachusetts. To hear it, you would say the 
sky is truly falling, that this world is just falling apart and that 
everything being done in law enforcement just doesn't work, and that if 
we don't do what his amendment says, we are going to be for terrorism 
and everything else in this world.
  I rise to speak against the Kennedy amendment and for the Frist-Craig 
first-degree amendment.
  The first-degree amendment Senator Craig just filed would strengthen 
the penalties for violating the existing ban on armor-piercing 
ammunition for handguns. It would also create a study on the effects of 
adopting a performance-based standard for ammunition.
  This exact same first-degree amendment passed overwhelmingly last 
year on the floor of the Senate, and I suspect it will again this year. 
Let me make clear why the Kennedy amendment, without this first-degree 
amendment, would be harmful.
  The Kennedy amendment would ban nearly all hunting rifle ammunition. 
It is also opposed by law enforcement organizations such as the 
Fraternal Order of Police, the largest law enforcement agency or 
organization in the country.
  The fact is that we have laws in this area that are working. The 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the BATFE, reached 
the same conclusion in a recent study. The existing laws were adopted 
in 1986 and prohibit the manufacture and importation, for private use, 
of handgun bullets made of certain hard metals and specially jacketed 
bullets. The BATFE found that ``no additional legislation regarding 
such laws is necessary.''
  My friend from Massachusetts believes all we have to do is just keep 
passing laws and that will solve every problem. The Departments of 
Justice and Treasury opposed legislation similar to this amendment back 
when it was first introduced in the 1980s. Congress rejected it then. 
We ought to reject it now.
  Let me give a couple other facts that are important. The Frist-Craig 
amendment we are offering here today recognizes, as the Fraternal Order 
of Police points out, that the current law regarding armor-piercing 
ammunition is working; that is, it states that it is unlawful to 
manufacture and import, for private use, handgun bullets made of 
special hard metals and specially jacketed lead bullets. It also 
requires the

[[Page S9383]]

Attorney General to study and report on whether it is feasible to 
develop standards for the uniform testing of projectiles against body 
armor.
  The difference that the alternative amendment--the Frist-Craig 
amendment--makes is in the law's message. It says that if armor-
piercing ammunition is used to kill a law enforcement officer, then the 
maximum penalty available is the death penalty. It doesn't get any 
tougher than that. If armor-piercing ammunition is used in the 
commission of a crime that wounds but doesn't kill a law enforcement 
officer, there will be a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
  Let's talk about how this is different. It sends a message to 
criminals in this country that not only is this ammunition illegal, if 
they use it to kill law enforcement officers who put their lives on the 
line every day for our citizens, families, and communities, they will 
pay the ultimate price.
  Mr. President, we should reject the Kennedy amendment. We should 
follow what law enforcement in this country says. It does not get any 
better than the FOP. Last year, the Senate rejected the Kennedy 
amendment 34 to 63 and instead adopted the Frist-Craig amendment by a 
vote of 85 to 12. We should do that again.
  I compliment my colleague for the hard work he has done on this 
particular bill. I hope we will all vote for the alternative amendment 
of Senator Craig.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, how much time remains on my side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho has 15 minutes.
  Mr. CRAIG. I will have a brief comment. Do any of my colleagues wish 
to comment?
  I yield 5 minutes to the Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I have some great friends in law 
enforcement. They have served their country and States and communities 
well over the years. We hunt and fish together at various times. I am 
not hearing them say this is what they would like to see. If you talk 
to law officers, what they are concerned about is repeat dangerous 
offenders getting released on the streets. A police officer never knows 
when he may face someone like that around the corner, at a traffic 
stop, or in a domestic violence situation. Those are things that 
concern them. They do feel sometimes that the criminal justice system 
is too slow, that the punishment and penalties that are imposed by law 
never get carried out. Those things frustrate them. That follows 
through and is consistent with the letters we have received regarding 
the Kennedy amendment.
  I am looking at the Law Enforcement Alliance of America letter, which 
they wrote to Senator Craig. This is a very clear and strong message. 
They represent 75,000 members in support of law enforcement. They 
wanted to ``add our voice to the growing group of law enforcement 
representatives who strongly oppose efforts to gut or kill S. 397, the 
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.''
  They refer to this amendment as a ``poison pill'' and object to the 
term ``cop killer bullet'' as a ``thinly veiled fraud.'' They go on to 
say:

       This amendment, along with other amendments, should be 
     identified for what they are: an outright attempt to kill S. 
     397.
       Please know that many in the law enforcement community 
     encourage you to continue steadfastly in support of America's 
     gun manufacturers who provide our officers the tools to 
     return home safely at the end of their shift.

  Also, the Fraternal Order of Police has written to Senator Craig in 
``strong opposition'' to the amendment offered by Senator Kennedy. They 
say that this will be presented as a ``officer safety issue'' to get 
dangerous ``cop killer bullets off the shelves.''
  Then they add:

       Regardless of its presentation, the amendment's actual 
     claim and effect would be to expand the definition of 
     ``armor-piercing'' to include ammunition based, not on any 
     threat to law enforcement officers, but on a manufacturer's 
     marketing strategy.

  Then they add this, which is interesting:

       The truth of the matter is that only one law officer has 
     been killed by a round fired from a handgun which penetrated 
     his soft body armor--and in that single instance, it was the 
     body armor that failed to provide the expected ballistic 
     protections, not because the round was ``armor-piercing.''

  They say:

       It is our view that no expansion or revision of the current 
     law is needed to protect law enforcement officers.

  That letter is to Senator Craig. No additional legislation is needed 
to protect law officers.

       To put it simply, this is not a genuine [law enforcement] 
     officer safety issue.

  They noted that it had been rejected previously--last year, 63 to 34. 
They say it should be rejected again.
  I thank the Chair.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I believe all that can be said about these 
two amendments has been said. I hope my colleagues join in voting for 
the first-degree relevant amendment I have offered that toughens up 
penalties and recognizes the reality that the law we have today is 
working to protect our law enforcement community from armor-piercing 
bullets.
  I yield back the balance of my time. Senator Kennedy can conclude and 
we can move to a vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Vitter). The Senator from Massachusetts is 
recognized.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I have in my hand the Federal Firearms 
Regulations Reference Guide that bans 14 different types of ammunition 
today. All we are trying to do is add a 15th. What will the 15th do? It 
will be limited to cop-killer bullets.
  My friends, the Republican amendment says we should study the problem 
of cop-killer bullets. Our police officers are the ones that are in the 
line of fire, and we are going to protect them with a study?
  If you care about fighting terrorism, you will reject the Republican 
amendment and vote for my amendment to take real action. If you care 
about protecting our brave police officers, you will support my 
amendment. They risk their lives for us every single day.
  This is not about hunting. We know duck and geese and deer do not 
wear armor vests; police officers do. This can save their lives. I hope 
it will be accepted.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho is recognized.
  Mr. CRAIG. It is my understanding, under the unanimous consent that 
the Craig first degree would be the first to be voted on; Kennedy would 
be the second to be voted on. I ask unanimous consent the second vote 
be a 10-minute vote. I urge my colleagues to come now, as quickly as we 
can, to move these votes.
  I call for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The 
second vote will be 10 minutes.
  Is there a sufficient second? There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.


                       Vote on Amendment No. 1645

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment 
of the Senator from Idaho.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The following Senators were necessarily absent: the 
Senator from New Hampshire (Mr. Sununu) and the Senator from Kansas 
(Mr. Roberts).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts) 
would have voted ``yea.''
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 87, nays 11, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 216 Leg.]

                                YEAS--87

     Alexander
     Allard
     Allen
     Baucus
     Bayh
     Bennett
     Biden
     Bingaman
     Bond
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Burr
     Byrd
     Cantwell
     Carper
     Chafee
     Chambliss
     Clinton
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Coleman
     Collins
     Conrad
     Cornyn
     Craig
     Crapo
     Dayton
     DeMint
     DeWine
     Dodd
     Dole
     Domenici
     Dorgan
     Durbin
     Ensign
     Enzi
     Feinstein
     Frist
     Graham
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Harkin
     Hatch
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Inouye
     Isakson
     Jeffords
     Johnson
     Kerry
     Kohl
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Leahy
     Lincoln
     Lott
     Lugar
     Martinez
     McCain
     McConnell
     Mikulski
     Murkowski
     Murray
     Nelson (FL)
     Nelson (NE)
     Obama
     Pryor
     Reid
     Rockefeller
     Salazar
     Santorum
     Schumer
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Smith
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stabenow
     Stevens

[[Page S9384]]


     Talent
     Thomas
     Thune
     Vitter
     Voinovich
     Warner

                                NAYS--11

     Akaka
     Boxer
     Corzine
     Feingold
     Kennedy
     Lautenberg
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Reed
     Sarbanes
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--2

     Roberts
     Sununu
       
  The amendment (No. 1645) was agreed to.
  Mr. CRAIG. I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. ENZI. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.


                       Vote On Amendment No. 1615

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, the next vote is on the Kennedy amendment. 
It is a 10-minute vote. Please, everyone, stay here and vote so we can 
move very rapidly through the next amendments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  Mr. SANTORUM. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The following Senators were necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Texas (Mr. Cornyn), the Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts), 
the Senator from Oregon (Mt. Smith), and the Senator from New Hampshire 
(Mr. Sununu).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts) 
would have voted ``nay.''
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that on this vote, the Senator from California 
(Mrs. Feinstein) is paired with the Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts).
  If present and voting, the Senator from California would have voted 
``aye'' and the Senator from Kansas would have voted ``no.''
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 41, nays 64, as follows:
  The result was announced--yeas 31, nays 64, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 217 Leg.]

                                YEAS--31

     Akaka
     Bayh
     Biden
     Boxer
     Cantwell
     Carper
     Chafee
     Clinton
     Corzine
     Dayton
     Dodd
     Durbin
     Feingold
     Harkin
     Inouye
     Kennedy
     Kerry
     Kohl
     Lautenberg
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Mikulski
     Murray
     Nelson (FL)
     Obama
     Reed
     Rockefeller
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Stabenow
     Wyden

                                NAYS--64

     Alexander
     Allard
     Allen
     Baucus
     Bennett
     Bingaman
     Bond
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Burr
     Byrd
     Chambliss
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Coleman
     Collins
     Conrad
     Craig
     Crapo
     DeMint
     DeWine
     Dole
     Domenici
     Dorgan
     Ensign
     Enzi
     Frist
     Graham
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Hatch
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Jeffords
     Johnson
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Leahy
     Lincoln
     Lott
     Lugar
     Martinez
     McCain
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Nelson (NE)
     Pryor
     Reid
     Salazar
     Santorum
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Talent
     Thomas
     Thune
     Vitter
     Voinovich
     Warner

                             NOT VOTING--5

     Cornyn
     Feinstein
     Roberts
     Smith
     Sununu
  The amendment was rejected.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote and move to 
lay it on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.
  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that we now proceed 
to the Corzine amendment as under the order and that there be 5 minutes 
for Senator Corzine, 5 minutes for Senator Schumer, 5 minutes for 
Senator Craig, to be followed by a vote on the Corzine amendment, with 
the order for the first-degree alternative vitiated; provided that the 
Senate then proceed to the Reed substitute with Senator Reed to speak 
for 15 minutes, Senator Hutchison for 10 minutes, to be followed by a 
vote in relation to the Reed amendment as under the order; that 
following that vote there be 10 minutes equally divided for closing 
remarks prior to the bill being read the third time and a vote on 
passage as the order provides.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is 
so ordered.


                  Unanimous-Consent Agreement--H.R. 3

  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that following 
passage of S. 397, the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of 
the conference report to accompany H.R. 3, the highway bill. I further 
ask unanimous consent there be 15 minutes equally divided between the 
majority and minority with 30 minutes under the control of Senator 
McCain. I ask unanimous consent that following the use or yielding back 
of time, the Senate proceed to a vote on adoption of the conference 
report with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is 
so ordered.
  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, just a clarification. A lot of people will 
have questions. We had these time allotments and we have asked Senators 
not to use all of the time that has been allocated. That is the general 
understanding. With that we have an orderly way of very quickly 
completing our rollcall votes for the course of the day. But with that, 
we can explain it over to the side that we are in shape and have a plan 
in order to finish at a very reasonable hour.


                           Amendment No. 1619

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey is recognized for 
his amendment.
  Mr. CORZINE. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 1619.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from New Jersey [Mr. Corzine] for himself, Mr. 
     Lautenberg, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Kennedy, Mrs. Clinton, and Mrs. 
     Boxer, proposes an amendment numbered 1619.

  Mr. CORZINE. I ask unanimous consent that further reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To protect the rights of law enforcement officers who are 
 victimized by crime to secure compensation from those who participate 
                          in arming criminals)

       On page 13, after line 4, add the following:

     SEC. 5. LAW ENFORCEMENT EXCEPTION.

       Nothing in this Act shall be construed as limiting the 
     right of an officer or employee of any Federal, State, or 
     local law enforcement agency to recover damages authorized 
     under Federal or State law.

  Mr. CORZINE. I ask unanimous consent that Senator Durbin be added as 
a cosponsor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CORZINE. I thank the Chair.
  I come to the floor today moved by an event that occurred in my life 
this week and more importantly the life of a family in New Jersey.
  Sometimes there are events that move you to feel passionately. I went 
to a wake for an officer on Monday night. I actually missed a vote.
  The reality is that an officer was gunned down a week before by a 
gang member, a Blood, on the streets of Newark. This police officer was 
a man with five children. He was 32 years old, the oldest child of 11.
  Violence brought on by the illegal movement of guns in our society 
and the irresponsible dealing in guns is something that actually costs 
people's lives. I have an amendment which I have talked about 
previously. I am a realist and I know where this amendment is going, so 
we will deal with it on a practical basis.
  But my amendment is an effort to protect the rights of law 
enforcement officers who are victimized by gun violence. I want to make 
certain that law enforcement officers can seek compensation from gun 
manufacturers and dealers who participate in arming criminals.
  I am not a lawyer, so I can't define negligence with the perfection 
that maybe others can. I know this amendment is not going to pass, and 
I know this gun industry immunity bill will pass.
  This is a picture of another officer from Orange, NJ. We have heard a 
lot about Detective Lemongello and his

[[Page S9385]]

partner, Officer McGuire. They were shot in 2001. They subsequently 
brought a case in court and reached a $1 million settlement with the 
gun dealer, because that gun dealer in West Virginia sold 12 guns to 
what we call a straw buyer. This straw buyer, by the way, was standing 
next to a second person who qualified as a potential purchaser of 
weapons and just handed them off, and then that individual walked out, 
put them in a car, drove off to New Jersey and sold them on the 
streets. I call that negligence. It was so negligent and so obviously 
negligent that the gun dealer, the day after being paid in cash for 
those 12 guns, called up the AFT and said: We think we made a mistake. 
We ought to do something about this. And so they called up the AFT. But 
it was too late, and nothing happened to stop the flow of the guns to 
New Jersey, but at least they recognized that they had done something 
wrong.
  Detective Lemongello and Officer McGuire brought a lawsuit against 
this gun dealer. They went to court and received justice, although both 
cannot return to the streets as police officers. They got a $1 million 
settlement. One took three bullets, one took two, and the other 11 guns 
purchased that day in West Virginia were also resold and distributed. I 
wonder whether one of those guns was the used to murder Police Officer 
Reeves last week in Newark, NJ.
  I think it is time we recognize there needs to be the ability to use 
both the criminal justice and the civil justice system to protect our 
citizens, particularly our law enforcement officers.
  We have heard from Senator Reed, who has done an enormous service to 
the country, in my view, to bring up so many of the flaws in the 
arguments that have been made by my colleagues who support this bill.
  This bill is not right. We are taking people who protect us at their 
own risk every day and we are shutting the door to the courthouse in 
their face. So I believe strongly that we ought to be protecting our 
law enforcement officers. I passionately believe that because I see it 
and the distress it brings to families and communities and all who are 
involved.
  My amendment is not a political desire to challenge the NRA or 
anybody else. And, frankly, I do not understand how anyone could not 
support this amendment. I do not get it from a commonsense point of 
view. It is a right and a responsibility that we protect those who 
protect us.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired
  Mr. CORZINE. Mr. President, I will not be asking for a rollcall but a 
voice vote on my amendment acknowledging the realities and the 
practical aspects of moving the floor, if that is appropriate.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, no one questions Senator Corzine's 
intention or his sincerity as we are all sincere and concerned about 
making sure that the law enforcement community of this country has the 
best tools available, has the greatest protection available. We want 
the laws with them, and we believe the laws are with them. And the 
Fraternal Order of Police, the world's largest organization, believes 
the same thing.
  Last year, this amendment was opposed by them strongly and they 
expressed that very clearly. The reason was they do not believe a 
special category is necessary in that relationship. What is happening 
here is an attempt to carve out that unique category because we think 
the law enforcement community is well protected under the current law.
  Mr. CORZINE. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. CRAIG. I am happy to yield.
  Mr. CORZINE. I point out this year, by decision, the FOP is not 
taking a position with regard to my amendment.
  Mr. CRAIG. That is true, they are not taking a position this year, 
but I did get permission from Tim Richardson, if there is any question 
of verifying what I said, that as the executive he would be happy to 
accept a call.
  The point is quite simple. This is an amendment that destroys the 
underlying intent of the legislation involved. I hope my colleagues 
would oppose the amendment as they did last year by a substantial vote, 
56 in opposition, 38 for it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New York is recognized.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I will not speak on the amendment of the 
Senator from New Jersey, which I support, but on the underlying 
provision. It is hard for me to accept the fact that we are taking a 
special interest, we are taking an industry that deals with something 
that admittedly can be dangerous, and exempting them from liability and 
giving them greater exemption than just about anybody else.
  We talk about special interests. That is exactly what ``special 
interests'' means. Giving it to one small group because they have 
influence rather than for a whole larger group who may also deserve it. 
Even when somebody is grossly negligent, even when an organization does 
not abide by the rules, they will still get an exemption. How can we 
say that to people who are injured, perhaps, as a result of that 
negligence and carelessness?
  I want people to remember the terror brought upon ordinary Americans 
with the Washington snipers. These terrorists acquired their assault 
rifle to shoot 13 people. They got the rifle at the Bull's Eye Shooter 
Supply. Bull's Eye could not account for the sale. Bull's Eye could not 
account for 230 of its guns. Yet Bull's Eye would be protected when 
these families sought recompense by this legislation. Who in America 
would exempt a gun dealer who repeatedly violated the law and put them 
above those who had lost loved ones?
  That says enough. I know my colleagues are eager to move on so I will 
not speak for much longer. If Members want to know why the American 
people get fed up with this body, it is legislation such as this that 
caters to a small, powerful group.
  The right to guns is a good thing. I support the second amendment. 
But no amendment is absolute. Not the first, not the fourth, not any of 
them, including the second. There are some here who believe only the 
second amendment should be exalted above all the others. I disagree.
  This is an awful piece of legislation, despite my respect for its 
sponsor. I urge we defeat it.
  To reiterate, I rise in opposition to this bill, which will give a 
free pass to gun dealers and gun manufacturers, even when their 
products wreak havoc on innocent people.
  With all of the important business before the Senate right now, it is 
shocking that we would spend our time giving unwarranted and 
unprecedented immunity to an industry whose products, when allowed into 
the hands of the wrong people, do incredible harm to innocent 
Americans. We even put off working on a defense bill to do this favor 
to the gun lobby.
  This bill, will literally endanger people's lives because it 
eliminates the last check we have, on bad gun dealers--the threat of 
lawsuits.
  This bill will hurt victims of gun violence all across America--the 
innocent men, women and children who will end up being shot and killed 
if this bill passes because a gun dealer can't or won't keep track of 
his guns and there is no check on him.
  We remember too well the terror that was brought upon ordinary 
Americans when the Washington snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd 
Malvo, went on their 23-day shooting spree.
  These terrorists acquired the assault rifle that they used to shoot 
13 people at Bull's Eye Shooter Supply, and Bull's Eye could not 
account for that sale.
  In fact, Bull's Eye couldn't account for over 230 of its guns. This 
bill would protect gun dealers like Bull's Eye from lawsuits by the 
families of the sniper victims.
  And this wasn't a dealer operating under the radar. In fact, Bull's 
Eye was inspected by the ATF not once, not twice, not even three, but 
four times in the 6 years prior to the sniper shootings. And what did 
those inspections reveal? They revealed that Bull's Eye could not 
account for over 160 guns missing from its inventory.
  One of these guns was used by the DC snipers to kill ten innocent 
people and injure three others. It was only after people died that ATF 
did a real investigation and found that it was not 160, but 238 guns 
that were missing.
  But it was still open and doing business.
  What recourse did the sniper victims and their families have while 
they were

[[Page S9386]]

waiting for the government to act? These victims sued the gun dealer 
for negligence, and won a $2.5 million settlement.
  That won't bring back the innocent people who were killed by the 
snipers. But it gives these victims what we are all entitled to when 
someone else's negligence does us harm--our day in court and the 
opportunity to achieve justice.

  This bill would shield bad dealers like Bull's Eye from justice. It 
would say to people like the victims of the DC snipers--``I'm sorry but 
you have no right to your day in court because Congress has made a 
special exception for bad gun dealers.''
  We don't do this for other industries, but due to pressure from the 
gun lobby we are being asked to carve out a special exception to an 
industry that makes and sells what are, in the hands of the wrong 
people, very deadly weapons.
  In Philadelphia, a small child found a gun on the street and 
accidentally shot a 7-year-old boy. That boy's mother was able to 
recover a settlement from the gun dealer, who negligently sold multiple 
guns to a gun trafficker. One of those guns ultimately caused her son's 
death. This bill would deny that mother her day in court.
  And it's not just about money. Gun dealers and manufacturers also 
agree to implement safer practices as a result of these negligence 
suits. This bill would give bad dealers and manufacturers no incentive 
to enact these safer practices.
  Lawsuits against bad dealers, or dealers who are too lazy to 
adequately keep track of their inventories, do not affect the right of 
law-abiding Americans to safely use guns to hunt or collect.
  But this bill does wipe away the right of American citizens to have 
their day in court. This bill destroys that right and slams the 
courthouse door in the faces of gun crime victims who are trying to 
make sure that gun dealers are responsible.
  We have heard some of my colleagues talking here about the importance 
of responsibility. Well this bill says that everyone should be 
responsible--except the gun industry. You get a free pass. The rules 
that apply to every other industry in America don't apply to you.
  Our court system works. And when a frivolous or baseless lawsuit is 
brought, there are rules to make sure that it doesn't go forward.
  We should allow the system to continue to work. It worked for two New 
Jersey police officers who won a $1 million settlement from a dealer 
who negligently sold 12 guns to a straw buyer. It worked when the 
dealer agreed to implement safer sales practices to prevent criminals 
from getting guns.
  That is why I also want to encourage my colleagues to support the 
amendment being offered by my friend from New Jersey, Senator Corzine. 
This sensible amendment will allow law enforcement officers like those 
two New Jersey police officers to obtain justice when careless sellers 
allow guns to get into the wrong hands.
  So the system needs to work for all Americans--and Congress shouldn't 
create special rules for special interest groups, especially when the 
lives of so many people are literally at stake.
  I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the Corzine 
amendment.
  The amendment (No. 1619) was rejected.


                           Amendment No. 1642

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, we have one amendment remaining, the 
amendment of Senator Reed. There is a time agreement on that amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island is recognized.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I call up amendment numbered 1642.
  I ask the Presiding Officer to let me know when I have reached 10 
minutes.
  My amendment has an overarching purpose, to preserve the right of an 
individual to sue for negligence when they have been harmed and when 
that negligence can be fairly attributed to a gun manufacturer, gun 
dealer, or a gun trade association. It does not depart from the 
principles of the law. In fact, it braces the fundamental principle of 
the law which says if someone owes you a duty of care and violates that 
duty and you have been harmed, you have a right to go into court.
  The legislation before the Senate not only sweeps away the rights of 
individuals but sweeps away the rights of municipalities, counties, and 
other government entities. This is one of the major reasons the 
advocates have been talking about in this legislation. They have said 
there has been a rash of suits by municipalities, not about recovering 
damages, but about undercutting and undermining the gun industry.
  I am reluctant to change what I think is well-settled law and well-
settled practice, but if we are confronted with this legislation, I 
propose we step back and perhaps reluctantly eliminate suits by 
municipalities, but for goodness sakes, we can have and maintain suits 
by individuals.
  The reason this legislation is before the Senate is because they 
claim there is a crisis. But if you look at the financial reports of 
these companies--of Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger--there is no 
crisis. The financial report of Smith & Wesson indicates they are 
actually reducing the amount of their reserve to cover these types of 
suits, which is a strong indication, because it is real dollars, that 
this threat is dissipating. It is not becoming more enhanced. This 
crisis is manufactured. And it is, indeed, evaporating.
  This suit will deny ordinary people, our constituents, their voice 
before the courts when they have been harmed. No one is going out and 
getting shot so they can bring a lawsuit. That is preposterous. They 
are being shot because people have been either criminal or negligent or 
both. We have criminal laws to deal with criminals, but we have a well-
established body of civil practice which allowed an individual to go in 
and be compensated, receive damages for the harm they have suffered.
  This legislation, the underlying legislation, would bar the door to 
courthouses for real people. Who are some of these real people? We all 
know about the most notorious incidents in the last several years, the 
Washington, DC snipers. If this legislation passed in the last 
Congress, and it was on the verge of passing, these people would have 
been denied their day in court.
  Ted Franklin is the husband of Linda Franklin, a resident of 
Arlington, VA. On October 14, 2002, Linda Franklin was a 47-year-old 
analyst for the FBI. She had two children and a loving husband. She, 
like so many of us do, was in the parking lot of Home Depot loading up 
purchases for their new home when she was killed by the sniper.
  How did the sniper get his weapon? Well, a teenaged boy walked into a 
gunshop in Washington State and apparently shoplifted a 3-foot-long 
assault weapon. The manager did not know about it and he did not know 
where over 200 weapons were. That is gross negligence, certainly, the 
kind of fact that would get you before a court. She was killed. A 47-
year-old, dependable worker of the FBI.
  Margaret Walekar is the wife of Premkumar, who was shot at the age of 
54 while he was refueling his cab at a gas station. Tonight, as you 
fill up your automobile at a gas station, just think, someone else was 
doing that and innocently was killed and the heart of the causation of 
that tragic event was the negligence.
  After this legislation passes, if it does, that negligent gun dealer 
and that negligent manufacturer who contributed the weapons would not 
be held liable for the death of this man.
  Carlos Cruz is the husband of Sarah Ramos. They had one son, age 7. 
She was 34 and was sitting on a bench in front of a post office on 
October 3, 2003, waiting for a ride to take her to her baby-sitting job 
when she was shot and killed by the Bushmaster assault weapon 
shoplifted from that negligent gun dealer in Washington State.
  I could go on and on and on. These are innocent victims. These are 
our neighbors. These are our constituents. These are the people we will 
tell, unless we adopt the Reed amendment, you have no value in the eyes 
of the court. You have no voice in that court. You are not important.
  Who is important? The National Rifle Association. The gun lobby. The 
gun dealers. They are important. But these good people are not 
important.
  At a minimum, we have to allow the tort law of the various States 
that has been worked out to be operative for these individuals. Certain 
States, very few, have restricted--again at the behest of the gun 
lobby--certain activities. I don't object to that. But that is

[[Page S9387]]

more the normal course of activity since tort law is the province 
typically of the State. But no State is going as far as this 
legislation. No State is going to the extent of practically barring all 
claims.
  Now the proponents will stand up and say, no, no, wait, we have 
exceptions. These exceptions have been carefully crafted to prevent the 
very cases I have spoken about and we have spoken about from getting to 
court. These are the real cases. This is what happens. People buy guns 
through straw purchases. That activity is virtually totally immunized 
by this legislation. As a result, we are going to see, I think, more 
reckless behavior.
  We have already identified through the reporting system of the ATF 
and other gun shops across this country that have records and are 
supplying hundreds of guns to crime scenes, some within a short period 
of time. A weapon is purchased and a few days later found at a crime 
scene. If they are behaving that way now under the cloud of potential 
litigation, what will they do when they feel totally immunized, free, 
uninhibited, to be grossly negligent? The result, of course, is not 
some academic statistics. The result is people such as Linda Franklin.

  I note that a few moments ago, in Senatorial time, we took a vote on 
legislation that would at least have given children the ability to use 
the existing tort laws of their State without the conditions and 
encumbrances of this legislation. That provision by Senator Lautenberg 
was struck down. That amendment failed.
  What about the case with respect to the Washington sniper where Iran 
Brown, a 13-year-old boy, was walking to class? All of us who were here 
vividly remember watching the television set, vividly remember seeing 
the reports of a young boy walking to the Benjamin Tasker Middle School 
in Lanham, MD, and being shot by a sniper. The fear that grasped 
everyone here, parents particularly, that their child could be the next 
victim, that their school could be the next target, was palpable. He 
was rushed to a nearby medical center. Thank goodness, after a month in 
critical condition he survived. What if he had been critically injured 
or paralyzed? Who was going to pay for that young child's life and 
recovery if he could not allege that the negligence of the gun dealer 
contributed to his injury?
  That is the reality. This legislation is actually modeled on the 
legislation adopted by the State of Idaho. Certainly that is a State 
that is proud of its tradition of recreational shooting and hunting. 
This State adopted this legislation. They recognized the problem and 
they took exactly the same steps we have taken. If municipalities and 
public interest groups are going after the gun dealers or gun 
manufacturers because they want to make a political point, we are not 
going to allow victims in Idaho who have been shot to be able to raise 
their voice in court?
  Texas has a similar statute. They put restrictions upon 
municipalities, they put restrictions upon groups that might take 
political suits, and we have heard about those suits, but they have let 
ordinary citizens have a much more expansive right to go to court than 
anything included in this legislation before the Senate.
  So we are not even being consistent with the States of Idaho and 
Texas and many others and we are usurping the role of States which 
traditionally set the standards for tort actions in their own States'. 
That is an interesting position for people who I used to think were 
faithful to this notion of State rights, State practice, local control, 
and let the people of Rhode Island, Idaho, and Massachusetts, let those 
people decide.
  We are deciding if this Reed amendment fails and we pass the 
underlying bill that these people--Linda Franklin and James Franklin, 
the husband of the victim, and Lisa Brown, the mother of Iran Brown--
are not worth it.
  They don't mean anything. You have heard people say these are junk 
lawsuits. Are these lives junk? They are not.
  We have a chance at least to preserve the right of individuals who 
have been harmed by the alleged negligence of gun dealers, gun 
manufacturers, and gun trade associations to get their case before a 
judge, to ask 12 fellow Americans to decide: Was there a duty by that 
defendant of more care, more attention, more foresight? Was that duty 
violated? Was I injured as a result of that and, therefore, should I be 
compensated by that person?
  If we fail to adopt this amendment, we are sending a very strong 
message.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has consumed 10 minutes.
  Mr. REED. That message is, these people don't matter. The only thing 
that matters is the gun lobby. That would be a terrible message to 
send. I urge passage of the amendment and retain the remainder of my 
time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, I rise to speak against the 
substitute. This is a complete substitute for the bill. In effect, it 
guts the bill. It does exactly the opposite of what the bill is 
intended to do, and that is to stop abusive predatory lawsuits against 
law-abiding businesses for damages caused by the criminal misuse of 
their products by others.
  Senator Reed mentioned some terrible situations regarding the 
Washington serial killer and said that those victims would not be able 
to sue the gun seller who was presumed to be negligent. In fact, that 
gun seller was found to have violated the laws that are required to be 
met and his license was revoked. So I believe under our bill--and it 
would be our opinion under our bill--that those people would be able to 
sue that gun seller. The other side has a legal opinion to the 
contrary, but we disagree with that.
  The bill says, what is not included in this bill is a lawsuit which 
is brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence, 
per se. So I think you could have brought that lawsuit. In fact, those 
lawsuits were settled.
  What we are talking about is a substitute that appears to bar 
lawsuits but, in fact, allows lawsuits by cities and counties against 
firearms manufacturers and sellers if there is a State legislature 
approving the lawsuit or the State Attorney General brings the suit. So 
everything that we have been voting on would be reversed. If a State 
legislature says: We are going to allow a city to sue, the city would 
be able to sue.
  We are here not to bar legitimate lawsuits. We are not here to bar 
lawsuits if a gun malfunctions. What we are trying to do is stop gun 
manufacturers from having to answer lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit 
for the criminal misuse of that product. If this amendment is passed, 
the bill before us will be gutted and will be of no use. We are trying 
to stop frivolous lawsuits against law-abiding citizens and law-abiding 
gun manufacturers. It does not stop lawsuits for negligence of the gun 
itself or violations of the law by the gun seller.
  I hope my colleagues will see through this substitute and stay with 
the intent of the bill--to stop the frivolous lawsuits against the gun 
manufacturer or the misuse of the product, not the defectiveness of the 
product itself.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. HATCH. President, I rise to speak against this substitute 
amendment that we are now considering. This is yet another attempt to 
undermine the very purpose of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms 
Act.
  This amendment creates two loopholes so large that you could drive a 
truck through them. It would allow lawsuits for lawfully making or 
selling nondefective guns as long as either the State legislature 
approves, or a State attorney general brings a lawsuit on behalf of a 
government.
  Unfortunately, some governmental entities are part of the problem 
here. Cash-strapped cities and counties across the country bring these 
junk lawsuits in an attempt to snare money from gun makers and sellers 
for their lawful activities. To suggest that State legislative approval 
will serve as a sufficient check on this problem makes no sense. These 
lawsuits already have the tacit approval of their state legislatures. 
And we already know well that some State attorneys general are not 
above pursuing political agendas. This would only encourage them to 
bring more of these types of suits.
  So this amendment would not eliminate in any meaningful way the very 
lawsuits that the gun liability bill is designed to address. And 
furthermore, it would not even apply to any pending cases. So lawsuits 
brought against the gun industry by New York City and Washington, DC, 
to cite two examples,

[[Page S9388]]

would go forward under this substitute amendment.
  This bill is about the integrity of our legal system. It is about 
protecting law-abiding small businesses from being overwhelmed by 
junk--yes, junk--lawsuits. And these are not just any small 
businesses--they also happen to be critical suppliers to our military. 
In my book, this alone makes them worthy of our protection.
  We have acted before when we needed to protect others who were 
besieged or potentially besieged by unscrupulous trial lawyers. We did 
it for light aircraft manufacturers. We did it for food donors. We did 
it for medical implant manufacturers. We did it for charitable 
volunteers. We did it for makers of anti-terrorism technology. And we 
need to do it here.
  We cannot continue to allow these lawsuits that turn traditional tort 
law on its head. We cannot continue to blame law-abiding citizens for 
the acts of criminals. We cannot continue to witness the corruption of 
our legal system and do nothing.
  This substitute would do nothing, or at least it would do nothing 
good. I urge my colleagues to vote against the Reed amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, let me take a very few minutes because I do 
want to get on with the vote. First, the underlying legislation would 
deny the attorney general of Texas the right to defend the people of 
Texas in court with a suit, I believe. Second, the legislature in Texas 
could not authorize suits. They could under my amendment. But more 
importantly, going back to the Washington sniper, none of the carve-
outs, none of the caveats would reach that. I don't think it is a 
matter of dispute. Negligent entrustment has been defined in the bill 
as supplying a qualified product by seller for use by another person 
where the seller knows or should know. There is no allegation that the 
seller knew that the young person came in and shoplifted the weapon. In 
fact, he could argue that there was no sale involved whatsoever. It was 
shoplifting. But that was negligence because I think we all agree that 
gun sellers have an obligation to keep their weapons under control.
  With respect to negligence per se, that is an unexcused violation of 
some enactment or administrative law. There are many States in the 
country that don't recognize that as a theory of tort recovery. Again, 
you would have to show they violated the law, they violated an 
administrative rule. In the case of Bushmaster, the situation is such 
that I don't believe there is any relevant legislation that says that 
an owner has to do anything in a way that would give rise to this 
negligence, per se.
  My point is that the legislation before us would effectively carve 
out all these suits. That is entirely correct.
  We are faced with a choice. This amendment does not allow these so-
called political suits by municipalities, by political subdivisions, by 
groups, but it should allow individuals who have been harmed to have 
their day in court.
  I hope we can prevail.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho.
  Mr. CRAIG. Is the Senator ready to yield back the balance of his 
time?
  Mr. REED. Is the Senator ready?
  Mr. CRAIG. I would be so inclined to with this simple statement. 
There are 62 Senators who are cosponsors in a bipartisan way of the 
underlying bill. The Reed substitute, as the Senator from Texas has 
said, simply guts it, changes the whole intent of the bill very 
dramatically. I urge my colleagues to vote against the Reed substitute.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. REED. I yield back my time.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be.
  The question is on agreeing to amendment No. 1642. The clerk will 
call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The following Senators were necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts), the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Smith), 
and the Senator from New Hampshire (Mr. Sununu).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Kansas (Mr. 
Roberts), and the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Smith) would have voted 
``nay.''
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that on this vote, the Senator from California 
(Mrs. Feinstein) is paired with the Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts).
  If present and voting, the Senator from California would vote ``aye'' 
and the Senator from Kansas would vote ``no.''
  The result was announced--yeas 33, nays 63, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 218 Leg.]

                                YEAS--33

     Akaka
     Bayh
     Biden
     Bingaman
     Boxer
     Cantwell
     Carper
     Chafee
     Clinton
     Corzine
     Dayton
     DeWine
     Dodd
     Durbin
     Feingold
     Harkin
     Inouye
     Jeffords
     Kennedy
     Kerry
     Kohl
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Mikulski
     Murray
     Nelson (FL)
     Obama
     Reed
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Stabenow
     Wyden

                                NAYS--63

     Alexander
     Allard
     Allen
     Baucus
     Bennett
     Bond
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Burr
     Byrd
     Chambliss
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Coleman
     Collins
     Conrad
     Cornyn
     Craig
     Crapo
     DeMint
     Dole
     Domenici
     Dorgan
     Ensign
     Enzi
     Frist
     Graham
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Hatch
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Lieberman
     Lincoln
     Lott
     Lugar
     Martinez
     McCain
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Nelson (NE)
     Pryor
     Reid
     Rockefeller
     Salazar
     Santorum
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Talent
     Thomas
     Thune
     Vitter
     Voinovich
     Warner

                             NOT VOTING--4

     Feinstein
     Roberts
     Smith
     Sununu
  The amendment (No. 1642) was rejected.
  Mr. CRAIG. I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. SANTORUM. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. At this point, there are 10 minutes of debate 
equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho is recognized.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I yield to my colleague for his closing 
remarks.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, first, I thank Senator Craig for a very 
deliberate and civil debate. I thank my staff, Steve Eichenauer.
  The legislation before us is not about the facts. There is no crisis 
in litigation affecting the gun manufacturers. These are the litigation 
trends of Smith & Wesson: In 2001, 32 cases by municipalities; 10 by 
product liability. It declined steadily, with four cases ending on 
appeal and two cases with respect to personal liability. That is not a 
graph showing a crisis in litigation. The slope is going the wrong way. 
There is no crisis. There is no threat to procurement of military 
weapons. That is also conjured up out of thin air.
  This is not about legal principle. A fundamental legal principle in 
this country is if you are wronged by the negligence of another, you 
can go to court. This is not about legal principles. We have had talk 
about intervening criminal activities taking away the negligence of 
another. That is not what the statement of torts, which is the black 
letter law of the country, states. These exceptions in the bill have 
been carefully crafted to prevent lawsuits, not to enable appropriate 
lawsuits to go forward.
  It is not a failure of State courts to act. They have been acting. 
These cases have been going down under current State law. They are 
being handled by the States. It is about power, sheer naked power by 
the National Rifle Association--the power to take us off the Defense 
bill, the power to take us from that bill which would consider the 
quality of life and the safety of our troops to go to this legislation, 
the power to take us away from debate on stem cells which will save 
people and help people, so we can protect people who deal in dangerous 
weapons. It is about power; it is not about principle.
  But there is something else. If this legislation passes, what 
incentive will there be for a gun dealer or gun manufacturer to act 
reasonably? There is a rogues' gallery of gun dealers--Realco

[[Page S9389]]

Guns in Maryland, Southern Police Equipment in Richmond--all across the 
country--Atlantic Gun and Tackle in Bedford Heights, OH. Hundreds of 
guns are sold and are ending up at crime scenes. If they are this 
blatant and reckless now, what do they do when we say, ``Don't worry, 
no one can touch you''? It will create huge disincentives.
  Finally, what we are doing today is silencing the voices of victims 
of gun violence, silencing people who have been wronged through the 
negligence of another. This is not about trying gun manufacturers for 
someone else's fault, this is about their own responsibility.
  Think tonight about what happened in Washington with the snipers. An 
FBI employee loading material at a Home Depot parking lot--shot. Some 
of that was attributed to the negligence of a gun dealer. That lady's 
husband and family would be silenced. Think about the young boy walking 
to his school in Maryland--shot. His family would be silenced. Think 
about the cabdriver filling up his cab. Tonight when we fill up our 
cars, think for a second, what if you were struck down, caught up in 
that web of violence. What if your family knew part of that was the 
result of the negligence of a gun dealer, a gun manufacturer. Who will 
take care of your family? Who will take care of you if you are 
paralyzed? We are telling those good people, our constituents: You are 
not worth it; the NRA is more important. You will suffer. If you don't 
have the money, you will be on charity. That will take care of you.
  This is wrong. It is wrong morally, it is wrongly legally. We should 
vote against this legislation. I passionately hope we do.
  I yield back my time.
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of the 
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
  Contrary to the concept of individual responsibility--for the past 
decade, the U.S. firearms industry has been under assault by legal 
activists attempting to hold this industry somehow legally responsible 
for the criminal conduct of others. Some of these suits are intended to 
drive gunmakers out of business by holding manufacturers and dealers 
liable for the criminal acts of others. It has been reported to me that 
to date, the total cost for the firearms industry in defending 
themselves from these suits exceeds $200 million.
  Moreover, these lawsuits seek a broad range of remedies relating to 
product design and marketing. Their demands, if granted, would create 
major impediments on interstate commerce in firearms and ammunition, 
including unwanted design changes, overly burdensome sales policies, 
and higher costs for purchasers.
  S. 397, which we are in the midst of debating, is desirable 
legislation and I am proud to be a cosponsor of this bill. This 
legislation will help curb frivolous litigation against a lawful 
American industry and the thousands of the men and women it employs. 
Imagine if General Motors or an auto dealer were to be held liable for 
an accident caused by a reckless or drunk driver in one of their 
manufactured vehicles or sue Budweiser. Likewise, businesses legally 
engaged in manufacturing or selling firearms should not be liable for 
the harm caused by people who use that firearm in an unsafe or criminal 
manner. This legislation does carefully preserve the right of 
individuals to have their day in court with civil liability actions for 
injury or danger caused by negligence on the firearms dealer or 
manufacturer or defective product, a standard in product liability law.
  Moreover, these frivolous lawsuits against honest, legal companies 
put our national security and our military at risk. Since the late 
1960's, the U.S. military has relied on private industry to supply our 
soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, and our marines. In 2004-2005 alone, 
the military has contracted to buy more than 200,000 rifles, sidearms 
and machine guns. And these numbers do not include new purchases for 
our Federal law enforcement agencies, such as the Department of 
Homeland Security. In addition, the Army fires about 2 billion rounds 
of ammunition each year. While the Army does manufacture a portion of 
that ammunition, it purchases half of its ammunition from private 
companies.
  The bottom line is, these frivolous lawsuits can shut down the very 
same companies that are supplying our armed forces, our Federal law 
enforcement agencies, and our local and State police. Even the 
Department of Defense understands the implications that these lawsuits 
have on the firearms. In a letter dated July 27, 2005, from the 
Department to my colleague, Senator Sessions, DoD states, ``We believe 
that passage of S. 397 would help safeguard our national security by 
limiting unnecessary lawsuits against an industry that plays a critical 
role in meeting the procurement needs of our men and women in 
uniform.'' That is from the Department of Defense, not something 
created by the NRA or the proponents of this legislation.
  This legislation enjoys broad support. In addition to the NRA, 
business and insurance groups such as the National Association of 
Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of 
Wholesaler-Distributors, National Federation of Independent Business, 
and the American Insurance Association all support S. 397. These 
lawsuits pose a threat to any business that makes or sells any lawful, 
nondefective product that can be misused by third parties.
  National and local unions such as the United Auto Workers, 
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and 
United Mine Workers support this bill because the firearms and 
ammunition industry provides good jobs for working Americans.
  National hunting and wildlife conservation groups support S. 397, 
because excise taxes on firearm and ammunition sales fund wildlife 
management projects in the States. If these lawsuits wipe out the 
industry, these funds will vanish.
  This bill is not a gun control bill; we should save that debate for 
another time. We should not saddle this lawsuit abuse legislation with 
anti-gun amendments that seek to infringe upon the Second Amendment 
rights of Virginians and Americans ability to protect themselves and 
their families. If Senators need to look to gun control, the best gun 
control measures are to enforce existing gun laws, which do more to 
keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals than passing new and 
additional burden on the sale of firearms to honest gun-owners. 
Criminals commit gun-related crimes and we should focus our attention 
on these criminals rather than further restricting the rights of law-
abiding citizens.
  S. 397 will stop lawsuits that are designed not to recover damages 
from criminal or culpable parties, but which are designed to 
financially damage the industry or force regulatory changes that would 
restrict their legal business and strangle second amendment rights 
across the Nation. We have a responsibility to protect those rights and 
to stop the use of the courts to usurp legislative prerogatives.
  I respectfully urge my colleagues to support this legislation and to 
oppose extraneous amendments that would weaken or delay it from 
passing. Please protect the rights of our constituents and the legal 
business that is unjustly threatened by these reckless lawsuits; and 
let us preserve the balance between the legislative and judicial 
branches of government.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, this bill is part of the special interest 
agenda being pushed by the NRA and the Republican leader. First they 
managed to stall the reauthorization of the assault weapon bank, even 
though the bill saved lives and kept out police officers safer. Now 
they are looking to grant sweeping protections to gun manufacturers and 
dealers who recklessly sell guns that cause thousands of deaths in this 
country each year.
  Contrary to what supporters of this bill are saying, this is not 
``tort reform'' and this will not, as the White House said, ``help curb 
the growing problem of frivolous lawsuits.''
  They call this bill the ``Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms 
Act.'' They give it a nice name to make it sound like they are 
protecting trade. What if we called it the ``Shield Gun Makers From 
Lawsuits When Their Defective Gun Blows Your Child's Arm Off Act?'' Or, 
``You're Off the Hook if You Sell Guns to Criminals and They Use Those 
Guns to Murder People Act?'' I guess those names just don't have the 
same ring to them.
  How about a little truth in advertising here--``Protect the Unlawful 
Commerce in Arms Act?'' I don't think so. Make no mistake, this bill is 
an

[[Page S9390]]

erosion of victims' rights. This bill puts the gun industry ahead of 
the rights of individuals. Ahead of the Dix family. These are real 
people, real victims. The doors of the courthouse would have been shut 
to the family of Kenzo Dix, who ultimately settled with Beretta.
  This case was brought by the parents of Kenzo, a 15-year-old boy who 
was unintentionally shot and killed by a young friend with a 
defectively designed gun. Kenzo's friend Michael thought that he had 
unloaded his father's gun when he replaced the loaded magazine with an 
empty one. But the design of the gun failed to reveal the hidden bullet 
in the chamber, and this bullet killed Kenzo.
  Beretta could have easily designed the gun with inexpensive, well-
known features that would have prevented Kenzo's death. They could have 
included an internal lock to prevent Michael from firing the gun, or an 
effective loaded-chamber indicator to alert Michael that the gun was 
loaded. Although Beretta was long aware of the need for these features, 
it refused to include them.
  Imported guns are subject to safety standards. But because domestic 
firearms are currently exempt from Federal consumer product safety 
oversight, the Consumer Product Safety Commission cannot compel 
gunmakers to include needed safety devices, as it routinely does with 
manufacturers of other products.
  So court cases like Dix v. Beretta are the only way we can ensure 
gunmakers do the right thing. It is the only way. We know that just 1 
percent of the gun dealers supply 57 percent of the guns used in 
crimes. None of us can ever forget the terror and horror wrought by the 
DC-area snipers. And no one here can forget the role that Bull's Eye 
Shooter Supply of Tacoma, W.A, played in that terror. Bull's Eye says 
it ``lost'' the assault rifle used by the DC area snipers to murder 12 
people.
  In just 3 years, Bull's Eye says it managed to ``lose'' 237 other 
guns as well. This is unbelievable. How did Bull's Eye ``lose'' all of 
those weapons? Clearly, the victims of Bull's Eye's gross negligence 
should have their day in court. In all it supplied guns traced to at 
least 52 crimes.
  But if the Senate caves to the gun lobby and passes this bill, 
dealers like Bull's Eye will be able to continue business as usual. 
This bill eliminates any real incentives for the gun industry to act 
more responsibly. This can only result in more victims in the future 
like those killed by the DC area snipers.
  This bill would bar cases including those brought by two New Jersey 
police officers, David Lemongello and Ken McGuire. They won a 
settlement from a pawn shop dealer who negligently sold twelve guns to 
a straw purchaser.
  How does a straw purchaser work? This is one way: A criminal wants to 
buy several guns for his gang. He knows he can not buy it because he is 
a felon. So he gets his girlfriend who does not have a criminal record 
to go to the sales counter with him, and she buys the guns for him. The 
gun dealer knows something is wrong here, this young woman wanting to 
buy all these guns, but the dealer wants the money and goes ahead and 
sells the guns to the girl.
  As a result of the police officers' suit, the West Virginia dealer 
changed its policies and now no longer engages in large-volume gun 
sales. Two other dealers in the same town also changed their policies. 
So the lawsuit brought about responsible behavior and our people are 
safer.
  I want my colleagues to consider the outcome of this lawsuit. For two 
brave police officers, justice was done. The dealer was held 
accountable for its reckless sale to a straw purchaser, and now the 
dealer operates more responsibly. And no one declared bankruptcy.
  This outcome was only possible because this special interest immunity 
bill had not yet become law.
  Police and big city mayors oppose the bill before us. They say it 
will just make battling illegal guns more difficult and make police 
officers' lives more dangerous, more deadly. They oppose immunizing gun 
manufacturers against civil liability because it would remove much of 
their legal incentive to behave responsibly. It would just encourage 
bad manufacturers to remain bad, while giving good manufacturers the 
green light to become lax.
  In my home state of California, we used to have a law that shielded 
gunmakers from liability, but the governor signed legislation repealing 
that law 2 years ago. Today in California, gun manufacturers like 
everyone else are responsible for making their products as safe as they 
can be.
  We are safer today in California, but that margin of safety will 
disappear if Congress gives the gun industry special legal immunity.
  In 1999, the late Senator John Chafee and I introduced the Firearms 
Rights, Responsibilities, and Remedies Act, which would have preserved 
the right of local governments and individuals to hold the gun industry 
accountable for avoidable gun violence.
  Congress not only failed to pass our bill; the House and now many of 
my colleagues have charged off in the opposite direction to protect 
gunmakers while putting the rest of us at greater risk.
  Who do we represent here? I ask my colleagues that we think about the 
30,000 Americans killed every year by guns, and 12,000 children wounded 
each year by guns.
  I urge my colleagues to listen to the police officers walking the 
beat, to Lynn Dix, the mother of Kenzo Dix, and to all the other 
mothers who have lost their children to gun violence, and to victims of 
the DC snipers' rampage. Listen to them and vote against this extremist 
bill.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I have already registered my 
disappointment at the majority leader's decision to cease work on an 
important defense authorization bill in order to move to the bill 
before us, S. 397. Today, I would like to speak about S. 397, the gun 
liability bill, and some of the amendments relating to firearms that 
have been offered to it.
  Listening to the debate on this bill, the American people might get 
the impression that there are just two sides to this issue. On one side 
are those who view the right to bear arms as absolute and oppose any 
proposals that could remotely be considered as restrictions on that 
right. On the other side are those who view gun use as an evil in our 
society that must be limited in any way possible. Sometimes the 
rhetoric gets turned up so high that reasoned analysis and debate is 
obscured. That is unfortunate.
  I have never accepted the proposition that the gun debate is a black 
and white issue, a matter of ``you're with us, or you're against us.'' 
Instead, I have followed what I believe is a moderate course, faithful 
to the Constitution and to the realities of modern society. I believe 
that the second amendment was not an afterthought, that it has meaning 
today and must be respected. I support the right to bear arms for 
lawful purposes--for hunting and sport and for self-protection. 
Millions of Americans own firearms legally and we should not take 
action that tells them that they are second-class citizens or that 
their constitutional rights are under attack. At the same time, there 
are actions we can and should take to protect public safety that do not 
infringe on constitutional rights. I supported the amendment offered by 
the senior Senator from Wisconsin regarding child safety locks and was 
pleased that the Senate approved this measure, which does not infringe 
on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own and use guns.
  I do not believe that granting special liability protection to the 
gun industry is necessary to protect the right to bear arms, however. 
There is no evidence that liability lawsuits threaten the existence of 
the gun industry in America. I believe it would be a mistake to impose 
a nationwide standard of tort liability on this industry that is more 
lenient than the standard that applies to the manufacturers or 
suppliers of any other product. The gun industry, like other 
industries, owes a duty to consumers of reasonable care, and juries of 
citizens are best able to define that standard as they do in tort cases 
of every imaginable type every day in this country.
  Giving sweeping liability protection will cut off the rights of those 
injured by negligence and set a very dangerous precedent for how 
Congress treats corporate wrongdoers. I will, therefore, vote against 
S. 397.
  I realize that many have very strong feelings about gun issues. But I 
also believe that most Americans favor a

[[Page S9391]]

moderate approach. That is the approach I intend to follow. My approach 
may not satisfy those on the extremes of this debate, but I believe it 
reflects the commonsense views of reasonable Americans who regret that 
this issue has become the subject of such overheated rhetoric.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, the misnamed Protection of Lawful Commerce 
in Arms Act would rewrite well-accepted principles of liability law, 
providing one industry, the gun industry, legal protections not enjoyed 
by other industries. In addition, this bill would set a dangerous 
precedent by giving a single industry broad immunity from civil 
liability and deprive many victims of gun violence with legitimate 
cases of their day in court.
  Law enforcement and community groups oppose the gun industry immunity 
bill because they understand its negative impact on the legal rights of 
gun violence victims. The list of law enforcement groups opposing this 
bill includes the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, the 
Major Cities Chiefs Association, the National Black Police Association, 
and the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police as well as police 
departments from around the country. The bill is also opposed by many 
organizations in Michigan including the League of Women Voters of 
Michigan, the Michigan Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, and local 
chapters of the Million Mom March.
  Tort law has been traditionally left to the States to define, and if 
changes have been necessary, Congress has usually deferred to State 
legislatures to make those changes. This bill seeks to impose a Federal 
tort regime that would significantly restrict the ability of State 
courts to hear and decide cases involving grossly negligent or reckless 
conduct by gun dealers and manufacturers, even where existing State law 
would permit such cases.
  Some have argued that this legislation would protect the gun industry 
from frivolous lawsuits meant to bankrupt the entire industry. While 
most gun dealers and manufacturers conduct their business responsibly, 
this gun industry immunity legislation would provide broad protection 
from liability even in these cases where gross negligence or 
recklessness lead to someone being injured or killed. The issue here is 
not whether innocent manufacturers or gun dealers should be held 
accountable for the criminal actions of those who use their product. 
Manufacturers and dealers of guns have a right to make and sell guns. 
However, that right is not unlimited. It comes with some 
responsibility. Like every other business in this country, people who 
are in the gun business have a responsibility to conduct that business 
with reasonable care. If a member of the gun industry fails to do so, 
and their negligence or recklessness leads to someone being killed or 
injured, they should not be immune from suit.
  As this bill is currently written, it is not sufficient that persons 
injured as a result of a gun manufacturer or dealer's negligence or 
reckless conduct prove their case; with a few exceptions, they would 
also have to show that the actions of the manufacturer or dealer were 
illegal to recover damages. This is a radical departure from not only 
common law but also from principles of fairness and the protection of 
victims' rights.
  What if a gun dealer is not violating the law, but is reckless or 
grossly negligent in the way they maintain their inventory or secure 
the weapons they are selling? Tragically, we had such a situation in 
the 2002 DC area sniper shootings. Last year, the victims of the DC 
area sniper shootings won a multimillion-dollar settlement from Bulls 
Eye Shooter Supply for their negligence relative to the assault rifle 
used in the shootings. According to published reports, audits by the 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives indicate that 238 
guns had gone missing from Bull's Eye's inventory and over 50 had been 
traced to criminal acts since 1997. Had this gun industry immunity bill 
been enacted prior to the DC area sniper shootings, the victims would 
have been unable to even have their case against Bull's Eye Shooter 
Supply heard in court.
  Another tragic example involving an innocent victim of gun violence 
is that of Danny Guzman. On Christmas Eve 1999, Danny Guzman was shot 
and killed in Worcester, MA. The gun used in the shooting was found 
nearly a week later by a 4-year-old child and was turned over to 
police. The gun had no serial number.
  The investigation following the shooting revealed the gun was one of 
several stolen by employees of Kahr Arms. It was discovered that one of 
the employees in the Kahr manufacturing facility had stolen the gun 
used to kill Danny Guzman and sold it to buy crack cocaine. Publicly 
available records indicate this employee of the Kahr facility had been 
addicted to cocaine and was ``habitually stealing money to support his 
cocaine habit.''
  In March of 2000, the police arrested the Kahr employee who later 
pled guilty to the gun thefts. The investigation also led to the arrest 
of a second Kahr employee who also pled guilty to stealing a gun.
  According to a complaint that was filed by Danny Guzman's family, 
Kahr Arms not only apparently hired a drug addict with a record of 
criminal charges, but the company also chose not to utilize basic 
security measures that could have prevented the theft, or an inventory 
tracking system that could have determined that guns were missing. 
According to the family's complaint, Kahr Arms did not conduct 
background checks on employees. The company did not install metal 
detectors, security cameras, x-ray machines, or other devices to ensure 
that employees did not walk off with guns.
  Despite the fact that Kahr Arms manufactures several types of ``ultra 
compact'' handguns, the company did not track its inventory in any 
meaningful way. And according to the complaint, from February 1998 to 
February 1999, approximately 16 shipments of handguns from Kahr Arms 
failed to arrive at their points of destination.
  The lawsuit that was filed by Danny Guzman's surviving family members 
alleges the wrongful death based on Kahr Arms alleged negligence. While 
the defendants moved to dismiss this case on April 7, 2003, the 
Massachusetts Superior Court denied the motions. If the bill before us 
is enacted, the court would be required to dismiss the case against 
Kahr Arms.
  Responsible gun dealers and manufacturers do not need immunity from 
liability, and we should not be protecting the reckless and negligent 
ones.
  A letter to members of Congress from 75 law professors from 
universities around the country illustrates the extensive negative 
impact that this bill would have on the rights of innocent gun violence 
victims. Here's a few excerpts:

       It might appear from the face of the bill that S. 397 and 
     H.R. 800 would leave open the possibility of tort liability 
     for truly egregious misconduct, by virtue of several 
     exceptions set forth in Section 4(5)(i). Those exceptions, 
     however, are in fact quite narrow, and would give those in 
     the firearm industry little incentive to attend to the risks 
     of foreseeable third party misconduct.

  One exception, for example would purport to permit certain actions 
for ``negligent entrustment.'' The bill goes on, however, to define 
``negligent entrustment'' extremely narrowly. The exception applies 
only to sellers, for example, and would not apply to distributors or 
manufacturers, no matter how egregious their conduct. Even as to 
sellers, the exception would apply only where the particular person to 
whom a seller supplies a firearm is one whom the seller knows or ought 
to know will use it to cause harm. The ``negligent entrustment'' 
exception would, therefore, not permit any action based on reckless 
distribution practices, negligent sales to gun traffickers who supply 
criminals, as in the above example, careless handling of firearms, lack 
of security, or any of a myriad potentially negligent acts.

  Another exception would leave open the possibility of liability for 
certain statutory violations, variously defined, including those 
described under the heading of negligence per se. Statutory violations, 
however, represent just a narrow special case of negligence liability. 
No jurisdiction attempts to legislate standards of care as to every 
detail of life, even in a regulated industry; and there is no need. Why 
is there no need? Because general principles of tort law make clear 
that the mere absence of a specific statutory prohibition is not carte 
blanche for unreasonable or dangerous behavior. S. 397 and H.R. 800 
would turn this traditional framework on its head and free those in the 
firearms industry to behave as

[[Page S9392]]

carelessly as they would like, so long as the conduct has not been 
specifically prohibited. If there is no statute against leaving an open 
truckload of assault rifles on a street corner, or against selling 
hundreds of guns to the same individual, under this bill there could be 
no tort liability.''
  I ask unanimous consent that a copy of this letter be printed in the 
Record.
  I offered an amendment to help address this problem in the bill. Many 
recklessness and gross negligence suits are not based on a violation of 
the law, but on a violation of a standard. My amendment would have 
provided that reckless or grossly negligent conduct by gun dealers or 
manufacturers, in other words, those whose own actions are a proximate 
cause of someone's death or injury, may be held liable in civil court 
for the damages they caused. This approach would have preserved well-
established principles of our tort law. No one proposes, and this 
amendment did not propose, to make members of the gun industry 
responsible for the actions of criminals. This amendment would have 
made sure members of the gun industry are still responsible for their 
own reckless or negligent conduct.
  It is truly unfortunate that the majority in the Senate did not adopt 
my amendment to protect the rights of victims of gun violence and to 
hold members of the gun industry accountable for their own actions when 
they lead to the injury or death of another person. I am also 
disappointed that the Senate failed to adopt amendments that would have 
protected the rights of children and law enforcement officers to file 
suit against irresponsible gun dealers and manufacturers who continue 
to contribute to the gun violence problem in our country.
  We should not infringe upon the rights of gun violence victims in 
order to provide a single industry with immunity from liability. If 
this bill is enacted, other industries will almost certainly line up 
for similar protections. This is unwise legislation and it should not 
be adopted.
                                        The University of Michigan


                                                   Law School,

                                              Ann Arbor, Michigan.
       Dear Senators and Representatives: As a professor of law at 
     the University of Michigan Law School, I write to alert you 
     to the legal implications of S. 397 and H.R. 800, the 
     ``Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.'' My colleagues, 
     who join me in signing this letter, are professors at law 
     schools around the country. This bill would represent a 
     substantial and radical departure from traditional principles 
     of American tort law. Though described as an effort to limit 
     the unwarranted expansion of tort liability, the bill would 
     in fact represent a dramatic narrowing of traditional tort 
     principles by providing one industry with a literally 
     unprecedented immunity from liability for the foreseeable 
     consequences of negligent conduct.
       S. 397 and H.R. 800, described as ``a bill to prohibit 
     civil liability actions from being brought or continued 
     against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of 
     firearms or ammunition for damages resulting from the misuse 
     of their products by others,'' would largely immunize those 
     in the firearms industry from liability for negligence. This 
     would represent a sharp break with traditional principles of 
     tort liability. No other industry enjoys or has ever enjoyed 
     such a blanket freedom from responsibility for the 
     foreseeable and preventable consequences of negligent 
     conduct.
       It might be suggested that the bill would merely preclude 
     what traditional tort law ought to be understood to preclude 
     in any event--lawsuits for damages resulting from third party 
     misconduct, and in particular from the criminal misuse of 
     firearms. This argument, however, rests on a fundamental 
     misunderstanding of American tort law. American law has never 
     embraced a rule freeing defendants from liability for the 
     foreseeable consequences of their negligence merely because 
     those consequences may include the criminal conduct of third 
     parties. Numerous cases from every American jurisdiction 
     could be cited here, but let the Restatement (Second) of 
     Torts suffice:


  Sec. 449. tortious or criminal acts the probability of which makes 
                       actor's conduct negligent

       If the likelihood that a third person may act in a 
     particular manner is the hazard or one of the hazards which 
     makes the actor negligent, such an act whether innocent, 
     negligent, intentionally tortious, or criminal does not 
     prevent the actor from being liable for harm caused thereby. 
     (emphasis supplied)
       Similarly, actors may be liable if their negligence enables 
     or facilitates foreseeable third party criminal conduct.
       Thus, car dealers who negligently leave vehicles 
     unattended, railroads who negligently manage trains, hotel 
     operators who negligently fail to secure rooms, and 
     contractors who negligently leave dangerous equipment 
     unguarded are all potentially liable if their conduct creates 
     an unreasonable and foreseeable risk of third party 
     misconduct, including illegal behavior, leading to harm. In 
     keeping with these principles, cases have found that sellers 
     of firearms and other products (whether manufacturers, 
     distributors or dealers) may be liable for negligently 
     supplying customers or downstream sellers whose negligence, 
     in turn, results in injuries caused by third party criminal 
     or negligent conduct. In other words, if the very reason 
     one's conduct is negligent is because it creates a 
     foreseeable risk of illegal third party conduct, that illegal 
     conduct does not sever the causal connection between the 
     negligence and the consequent harm. Of course, defendants are 
     not automatically liable for illegal third party conduct, but 
     are liable only if--given the foreseeable risk and the 
     available precautions--they were unreasonable (negligent) in 
     failing to guard against the danger. In most cases, moreover, 
     the third party wrongdoer will also be liable. But, again, 
     the bottom line is that under traditional tort principles a 
     failure to take reasonable precautions against foreseeable 
     dangerous illegal conduct by others is treated no differently 
     from a failure to guard against any other risk.
       S. 397 and H.R. 800 would abrogate this firmly established 
     principle of tort law. Under this bill, the firearms industry 
     would be the one and only business in which actors would be 
     free utterly to disregard the risk, no matter how high or 
     foreseeable, that their conduct might be creating or 
     exacerbating a potentially preventable risk of third party 
     misconduct. Gun and ammunition makers, distributors, 
     importers, and sellers would, unlike any other business or 
     individual, be free to take no precautions against even the 
     most foreseeable and easily preventable harms resulting from 
     the illegal actions of third parties. And they could engage 
     in this negligent conduct persistently, even with the 
     specific intent of profiting from sales of guns that are 
     foreseeably headed to criminal hands. Under this bill, a 
     firearms dealer, distributor, or manufacturer could park an 
     unguarded open pickup truck full of loaded assault rifles on 
     a city street corner, leave it there for a week, and yet be 
     free from any negligence liability if and when the guns were 
     stolen and used to do harm. A firearms dealer, in most 
     states, could sell 100 guns to the same individual every day, 
     even after the dealer is informed that these guns are being 
     used in crime--even, say, by the same violent street gang.
       It might appear from the face of the bill that S. 397 and 
     H.R. 800 would leave open the possibility of tort liability 
     for truly egregious misconduct, by virtue of several 
     exceptions set forth in Section 4(5)(i). Those exceptions, 
     however, are in fact quite narrow, and would give those in 
     the firearm industry little incentive to attend to the risks 
     of foreseeable third party misconduct.
       One exception, for example would purport to permit certain 
     actions for ``negligent entrustment.'' The bill goes on, 
     however, to define ``negligent entrustment'' extremely 
     narrowly. The exception applies only to sellers, for example, 
     and would not apply to distributors or manufacturers, no 
     matter how egregious their conduct. Even as to sellers, the 
     exception would apply only where the particular person to 
     whom a seller supplies a firearm is one whom the seller knows 
     or ought to know will use it to cause harm. The ``negligent 
     entrustment'' exception would, therefore, not permit any 
     action based on reckless distribution practices, negligent 
     sales to gun traffickers who supply criminals (as in the 
     above example), careless handling of firearms, lack of 
     security, or any of a myriad potentially negligent acts.
       Another exception would leave open the possibility of 
     liability for certain statutory violations, variously 
     defined, including those described under the heading of 
     negligence per se. Statutory violations, however, represent 
     just a narrow special case of negligence liability. No 
     jurisdiction attempts to legislate standards of care as to 
     every detail of life, even in a regulated industry; and there 
     is no need. Why is there no need? Because general principles 
     of tort law make clear that the mere absence of a specific 
     statutory prohibition is not carte blanche for unreasonable 
     or dangerous behavior. S. 397 and H.R. 800 would turn this 
     traditional framework on its head; and free those in the 
     firearms industry to behave as carelessly as they would like, 
     so long as the conduct has not been specifically prohibited. 
     If there is no statute against leaving an open truckload of 
     assault rifles on a street corner, or against selling 100s of 
     guns to the same individual, under this bill there could be 
     no tort liability. Again, this represents radical departure 
     from traditional tort principles.
       My aim here is simply to provide information, and insure 
     that you are not inadvertently misled about the meaning and 
     scope of S. 397 and H.R. 800. As currently drafted, this Bill 
     would not simply protect against the expansion of tort 
     liability, as has been suggested, but would in fact 
     dramatically limit the application of longstanding and 
     otherwise universally applicable tort principles. It provides 
     to firearms makers and distributors a literally unprecedented 
     form of tort immunity not enjoyed or even dreamed-of by any 
     other industry.
         Professor Sherman J. Clark, University of Michigan Law 
           School; Professor Richard L. Abel, UCLA Law School;

[[Page S9393]]

           Professor Barbara Bader Aldave, University of Oregon 
           School of Law; Professor Mark F. Anderson, Temple 
           University Beasley School of Law; Professor Emeritus 
           James Francis Bailey, III Indiana University School of 
           Law; Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, Harvard Law School; 
           Professor Peter A Bell, Syracuse University College of 
           Law; Professor Margaret Berger, Brooklyn Law School; 
           Professor M. Gregg Bloche, Georgetown University Law 
           Center; Professor Michael C. Blumm, Lewis and Clark Law 
           School; Professor Carl T. Bogus, Roger Williams 
           University School of Law; Professor Cynthia Grant 
           Bowman, Northwestern University School of Law; Director 
           of the MacArthur Justice Center and Lecturer in Law; 
           Locke Bowman, University of Chicago Law School; 
           Professor Scott Burris, Temple University Beasley 
           School of Law; Professor Donna Byrne, William Mitchell 
           College of Law; Professor Emily Calhoun, University of 
           Colorado School of Law; Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, 
           Duke Law School; Associate Clinical Professor Kenneth 
           D. Chestek, Indiana University School of Law; Associate 
           Professor Stephen Clark, Albany Law School; Professor 
           Marsha N. Cohen, University of California Hastings 
           College of the Law.
         Professor Anthony D'Amato, Northwestern University School 
           of Law; Professor John L. Diamond, University of 
           California Hastings College of Law; Professor David R. 
           Dow, University of Houston Law Center; Professor Jean 
           M. Eggen, Widener University School of Law; Associate 
           Professor Christine Haight Farley, American University, 
           Washington College of Law; Associate Professor Ann E. 
           Freedman, Rutgers Law School-Camden; Professor Gerald 
           Frug, Harvard Law School; Professor Barry R. Furrow, 
           Widener University School of Law; Associate Clinical 
           Professor Craig Futterman, University of Chicago Law 
           School; Professor David Gelfand, Tulane University Law 
           School; Professor Phyllis Goldfarb, Boston College Law 
           School; Professor Lawrence Gostin, Georgetown 
           University Law Center; Professor Michael Gottesman, 
           Georgetown University Law Center; Professor Stephen E. 
           Gottlieb, Albany Law School; Professor Phoebe Haddon, 
           Temple University Beasley School of Law; Professor Jon 
           D. Hanson, Harvard Law School; Professor Douglas R. 
           Heidenreich, William Mitchell College of Law; Professor 
           Kathy Hessler, Case Western Reserve University School 
           of Law; Professor Eric S. Janus, William Mitchell 
           College of Law; Professor Sheri Lynn Johnson, Cornell 
           Law School;
         Professor David J. Jung, University of California 
           Hastings College of Law; Associate Professor Ken 
           Katkin, Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Northern 
           Kentucky Univ.; Professor David Kairys, Temple 
           University Beasley School of Law; Professor Kit 
           Kinports, University of Illinois School of Law; 
           Professor Martin A. Kotler, Widener University School 
           of Law; Professor Baily Kuklin, Brooklyn Law School; 
           Professor Arthur B. LaFrance, Lewis and Clark Law 
           School; Professor Sylvia A. Law, NYU School of Law; 
           Professor Ronald Lasing, Lewis and Clark Law School; 
           Professor Robert Justin Lipkin, Widener University 
           School of Law; Professor Hugh C. Macgill, University of 
           Connecticut School of Law; Professor Mari J. Matsuda, 
           Georgetown University Law Center; Associate Professor 
           Finbarr McCarthy, University Beasley School of Law; 
           Director (Retired Professor) Christine M. McDermott, 
           Randolph County Family Crisis Center, North Carolina; 
           Professor Joan S. Meier, George Washington University 
           Law School; Professor Naomi Mezey, Georgetown 
           University Law Center; Professor Eben Moglen, Columbia 
           Law School; Professor Dawn C. Nunziato, George 
           Washington University Law School; Professor Michael S. 
           Perlin, New York Law School; Clinical Professor Mark A. 
           Peterson, Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark 
           College.
         Professor Mark C. Rahdert, Temple University Beasley 
           School of Law; Professor Denise Roy, William Mitchell 
           College of Law; Professor Joyce Saltalamachia, New York 
           Law School; Clinical Assistant Professor David A. 
           Santacroce, University of Michigan School of Law; 
           Professor Niels Schaumanm, William Mitchell College of 
           Law; Professor Margo Schlanger, Washington University 
           School of Law; Professor Marjorie M. Shultz, University 
           of California Boalt School of Law; Senior Lecturer 
           Stephen E. Smith, Northwestern University School of 
           Law; Professor Peter J. Smith, George Washington 
           University Law School; Professor Norman Stein, 
           University of Alabama School of Law; Professor Duncan 
           Kennedy, Harvard Law School; Professor Frank J.Vandall, 
           Emory University School of Law; Professor Kelly 
           Weisberg, University of California Hastings College of 
           the Law; Professor Robin L. West, Georgetown University 
           Law Center; Professor Christina B. Whitman, University 
           of Michigan School of Law; Professor William M. Wiecek, 
           Syracuse University College of Law; Professor Bruce 
           Winick, University of Miami School of Law; Professor 
           Stephen Wizner, Yale Law School; Professor William 
           Woodward, Temple University Beasley School of Law.

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, as the sponsor of this legislation, I rise 
to clear up any questions that might arise when tying to understand the 
intent of S. 397 and what its enactment would accomplish. The 
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act will eliminate predatory 
lawsuits that would otherwise cripple an entire industry.
  First, let me make two points about what the bill will not do. 
Nothing in the bill is intended to allow ``leap-frogging'' over the gun 
dealer to the manufacturer. The negligent entrustment provision applies 
specifically to the situation where a dealer knows or reasonably should 
know that a dangerous person is purchasing a firearm with the intent to 
commit, and does commit a crime with that firearm. When the 
manufacturer has done nothing but sell a legal, nondefective product 
according to the law, the negligent entrustment provision would not 
allow bypass of the gun dealer to get to the deeper pockets of the 
manufacturer.
  It is also important to make sure that it is clear that the 
``administrative proceedings'' section will have no effect on the 
ability of the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms or any 
administrative agency to revoke licenses or otherwise engage in 
administrative proceedings to punish bad acting manufacturers, 
distributors, or dealers, or otherwise enforce the laws and regulations 
that apply to them.
  The bill's definition section describes abusive suits in which a 
party is seeking relief resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse 
of a qualified product by the person or a third party.'' This 
definition clearly does not describe ATF enforcement proceedings. ATF 
is authorized to begin enforcement proceedings when a violation of our 
Nation's Federal gun laws has occurred. The use or misuse of the 
product is irrelevant to whether ATF may begin an administrative 
proceeding.
  In fact, ATF does not use administrative enforcement proceedings to 
seek ``relief'' for the ``misuse'' of a product. The law does not 
require there be a ``use''--let alone a ``misuse'' of the product--in 
order for ATF to act. ATF can begin a license revocation proceeding 
against a dealer for even a single violation of Federal firearms laws, 
regardless of whether the gun is ever ``used'' or ``misused'' by 
anyone. ATF can begin proceedings based on recordkeeping violations, 
for instance, even if no firearm ever leaves the dealer's place of 
business.
  Some have tried to suggest that a dealer selling a gun without doing 
the proper paperwork or meeting other legal requirements might count as 
``misuse.'' This stretches the term ``use'' beyond all rational 
meaning, and I believe the courts of our Nation would agree. For 
instance, the Supreme Court has held that firearms ``use'' in a violent 
or drug-trafficking crime requires ``active employment.'' Bailey v. 
U.S., 516 U.S. 137 (1995). If there is no ``use'' of the gun--only a 
sale--then there can be no ``misuse.''
  But even if we were to consider an illegal sale to be ``misuse,'' we 
must look at the last part of the definition: A ``qualified civil 
liability action'' involves the ``criminal or unlawful misuse of a 
qualified product by the person or a third party.'' If we were talking 
about an ATF action, then ``the person'' would be ATF itself. 
Obviously, that is not what ATF claims in an administrative proceeding. 
So we could only be speaking of a misuse by ``a third party''--and in 
an enforcement proceeding, neither the dealer nor the ATF is a ``third 
party.''
  For all of these reasons, I think it is very clear that the language 
in this bill about ``administrative proceedings'' should in no way 
prevent any action by ATF to enforce the firearms laws of the United 
States. It is only intended to prevent--and, I believe, only does 
prevent--abuse of the courts and of various administrative processes 
that could be manipulated unfairly at the State or local level. 
Furthermore, it is worth noting that since the term ``administrative 
preceeding'' is part of the definition of a ``qualified civil action,'' 
then all of the exemptions of the bill permitting an action to proceed 
would

[[Page S9394]]

equally apply to an administrative proceeding.
  However, to make this intent absolutely clear, Senator Frist and I 
have offered an amendment to the exemptions section of the bill that 
would add ``an action or proceeding commenced by the Attorney General 
to enforce the provisions of chapter 44 of title 18, United States 
Code, or chapter 53 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.'' The 
sections of the US Code I just referenced are also known as the Gun 
Control Act and the National Firearms Act. Again, this would underscore 
what is the plain intent of the bill--to allow enforcement of our 
Nation's firearms laws through administrative proceedings.
  Second, I want to give some examples of exactly the type of predatory 
lawsuits this bill will eliminate. I think it is important that we all 
understand the current abuse of the legal system to implement radical 
policies that could not be accomplished through the democratic process 
and understand that after passing S. 397, we will finally put an end to 
that abuse.
  One key element of the legislation is to provide for the dismissal of 
pending litigation. Dismissals should be immediate--not after trial. 
Courts should dismiss on their own motion, instead of forcing 
defendants to incur the additional costs and delay of filing motions 
and arguing. Let me emphasize that S. 397 recognizes these lawsuits are 
an abuse of courts and law-abiding businesses and individuals, and I 
would respectfully submit that it should be the goal of our Nation's 
courts to eliminate those abuses as swiftly as possible, when enactment 
of S. 397 gives them the authority to do so.
  In City of New York v. Beretta USA Corp. et al. currently set for 
trial on September 7 in Federal court in Brooklyn, NY, the plaintiff 
has asserted that industry members have created a ``public nuisance.'' 
The lawful sale of a highly regulated product later misused by 
criminals is not a public nuisance;and has never been considered a 
public nuisance in American jurisprudence.
  Another suit expected to be affected by S. 397 is the District of 
Columbia and nine individual plaintiffs, Lawson, et al. that have sued 
members of the firearms industry, under a statute that unbelievably 
imposes automatic and absolute liability. The law in question says you 
are liable ``without regard to fault or proof of defect.'' There is 
also a case pending in Federal court in the District of Columbia in 
which a gun manufacturer is being sued under this very statute, Charlot 
v. Bushmaster. The companies being sued under the District 
``automatic'' liability law have no defense.

  Another example of a lawsuit captured by this bill is the case of 
Ileto v. Glock, pending in Federal court in Los Angeles, CA, against 
Glock and a distributor, RSR. The United States Ninth Circuit Court of 
Appeals said Glock and RSR could be sued for a criminal shooting when 
Glock sold the pistol to a Washington State police department and the 
distributor RSR never owned, nor sold, nor possessed the firearm.
  Yet another example are the suits pending against members of the 
firearms industry by cities like Gary, IN and Cleveland, OH even though 
the States of Indiana and Ohio have themselves passed State laws 
similar in purpose and intent to S. 397.
  In the past few days, lawyers from anti-gun interest groups have 
rushed to the courthouse to file at least three lawsuits, one in New 
York and two in Pennsylvania against manufacturers Sturm Ruger, Phoenix 
Arms, and Hi-Point, and I suspect there will be more suits filed in the 
days and weeks ahead. While we do not know all the facts yet, in one of 
these cases we do know that the sale by the dealer was of a single 
firearm made by an employee of that dealer who was an off-duty federal 
law enforcement agent and the firearm in that case was only transferred 
to the buyer after he or she filled out the required paperwork and 
after the background check by the FBI, as required under the Brady Act.
  Congress is properly acting here under its Commerce Clause powers, as 
we have done many times in the past. We are also rightly concerned, as 
is the Department of Defense, that if these lawsuits succeed in driving 
gun manufacturers out of business, the national defense will be harmed. 
The same is true for our homeland security, as these same companies 
make the firearms used by law enforcement, including the Capitol 
Police, of which my distinguished colleague, the Democratic Leader Mr. 
Reid was once a proud member.
  The Constitution also, I believe, imposes upon Congress the duty to 
protect the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights which includes 
the second amendment. If the firearms manufacturers are driven out of 
business, that second amendment will be nothing more than an illusion.
  Mr. President, I hope these comments will be helpful for anyone 
seeking additional information about the intent and--I believe--the 
impact of enacting S. 397, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms 
Act.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I rise today to share my views on the 
legislation before the Senate, S. 397, the gun liability bill.
  From the outset, let me make clear: I am a strong supporter of 
measured, balanced, and fair tort reform. In my over 27 years in the 
Senate, I have consistently supported measures to reform our legal 
system when such measures benefit the American people as a whole, 
benefit our Nation's economy, and still remain fair to legitimate 
victims who have been wrongfully injured due to the wrongful actions of 
another.
  Without a doubt, the gun , liability bill tries to address a very 
real problem in America. There is no question that the gun industry in 
this country is under legal siege from frivolous lawsuits. These 
lawsuits threaten the very vitality of the gun industry in America and, 
by extension, the ability of those of us who enjoy hunting, sport 
shooting, and the collecting of vintage guns, as I have done nearly all 
of my life. In my view, there is no question that law abiding gun 
manufacturers and law-abiding gun dealers deserve some measure of fair, 
balanced legal reform.
  But equally true is that the gun liability bill before us today is an 
overly broad solution to a serious problem because it will immunize 
from legitimate lawsuits for negligence those very few, I repeat, very 
few irresponsible gun dealers and manufacturers in the industry whose 
actions, again and again, contribute to violent crime in this country.
  This wide grant of immunity undoubtedly comes with unintended 
consequences.
  For example, we know that under this bill, if it were law at the 
time, the victims of the DC area sniper shootings would have been 
unable to pursue their claim against an unbelievably negligent gun 
dealer who allowed the snipers to steal the weapon they used to kill so 
many innocent victims. This wasn't the first time this dealer had been 
negligent in accounting for its gun inventory. Indeed, it had 
previously lost over 200 weapons over a short period of time. This 
dealer had a track record of again and again losing firearms. That is 
why they were sued, and that is why the dealer ultimately settled the 
sniper victim's lawsuit for $2.5 million. The gun liability bill, 
though, would have rewarded this dealer's bad behavior by granting it 
immunity for these egregious acts.
  I offered an amendment to correct this flaw. My amendment would have 
ensured that the 99 percent of law-abiding gun dealers in America would 
be protected from frivolous lawsuits, but ensured that those very few 
irresponsible gun dealers were not rewarded with immunity for their bad 
behavior. Unfortunately, procedural maneuvers made by others in 
accordance with Senate rules prevented me from obtaining an up-or-down 
vote on my germane amendment. So these defects in the bill remain 
uncorrected.
  Over the course of the past week, these issues, both the pros and 
cons of this bill, have been extensively debated here in the Senate. 
The issues are clear. On the one hand, the need for tort reform for the 
gun industry is very real. On the other hand, I believe this is an 
overly broad measure that will likely treat some future victims of gun 
crimes unfairly.
  These factors are not easy to weigh.
  But as I went through the process of examining this legislation and 
listening to the debate, one particular point seemed to always stick 
out above all others. And that is the preeminent importance of 
America's national security.

[[Page S9395]]

  As the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I recently 
requested that the Department of Defense review this legislation. In 
its reply, the Department's Office of General Counsel stated that the 
Department supports this gun liability legislation because it ``would 
help safeguard our national security by limiting unnecessary lawsuits 
against an industry that plays a critical role in meeting the 
procurement needs of our men and women in uniform.'' I ask unanimous 
consent to include a copy of this letter in the Record.
  (See exhibit 1.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, so ordered.
  Mr. WARNER. Indeed, the gun industry does play a crucial role in 
helping to equip the men and women of our Armed Forces. Companies like 
Beretta U.S.A., Colt Manufacturing, and others supply a host of weapons 
and small arms that are vital to our military.
  This fact is significant because the truth of the matter is that, for 
a variety of complex reasons, America's military is increasingly being 
forced to turn to foreign sources for new technology. We simply cannot 
afford to lose more and more technical expertise if we want to ensure 
that our men and women in uniform will always have the best equipment 
and the best technology in the world. Our national security is 
dependent on having home-grown talent and expertise, and this 
legislation will help ensure that we do.
  Ultimately, it is for these reasons that I have decided to cast my 
vote in support of this legislation.

                               Exhibit 1

                                            Department of Defense,


                                    Office of General Counsel,

                                    Washington, DC, July 29, 2005.
     Hon. John Warner,
     Chairman, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: We are pleased to provide you with the 
     Department of Defense's view on S. 397, a bill to ``prohibit 
     civil liability actions from being brought or continued 
     against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of 
     firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other 
     relief resulting from the misuse of their products by 
     others.''
       The Department of Defense strongly supports this 
     legislation.
       We believe that passage of S. 397 would help safeguard our 
     national security by limiting unnecessary lawsuits against an 
     industry that plays a critical role in meeting the 
     procurement needs of our men and women in uniform.
       The Office of Management and Budget advises that, from the 
     standpoint of the Administration's program, there is no 
     objection to the presentation of this letter for the 
     consideration of the committee.
           Sincerely,
                                              Daniel J. Dell'Orto,
                                                           Acting.

  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, last year, we promised the cosponsors of 
this legislation that we would return to this issue and seek a fair 
opportunity to consider a bill free of any poison pill amendments.
  Thanks to the leadership of Senator Frist and the cooperation of our 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle, that day has come.
  This bill will end an outrageous abuse of our courts and law-abiding 
American businesses.
  This bill will not prevent a single victim from obtaining relief for 
wrongs done to them by anyone in the gun industry.
  S. 397 will only stop one narrowly-drawn kind of lawsuit: predatory 
lawsuits seeking to hold legitimate, law-abiding businesses responsible 
for harm done by the misdeeds of people over whom they had no control.
  We called this bill the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms. That 
is precisely what it is designed to do--to protect lawful commerce in 
the firearms that supply our nation's military and peace officers, and 
the millions of law-abiding citizens who acquire guns as collectors, 
hunters, target shooters, or for self-defense.
  I am pleased that the Senate will shortly be voting on this 
legislation, but before we do, let me express my thanks to a number of 
people who made this possible.
  I would like to thank the 61 cosponsors of this legislation for their 
support and encouragement--and the colleagues who counseled with me on 
shaping the debate and who spoke on the floor, especially Senators 
Sessions, Cornyn, Graham, Kyl, Coburn, Burr, Thune, Chambliss, 
Hutchison, Hatch, Bond, and, of course, the lead Democrat sponsor of 
this legislation, Senator Baucus.
  As I have said, special thanks to the Republican majority leader and 
whip for their leadership and the resources of their offices, including 
the help of their talented staff, in particular, Eric Ueland and Sharon 
Soderstrom, and Jim Hippe; Kyle Simmons, John Abegg, Laura Pemberton, 
Brian Lewis and Malloy McDaniel.
  I would also like to thank the Democrat leader, Senator Reid, for his 
constructive input in moving us to the end of this debate.
  I am especially grateful to have had the help of the Judiciary 
Committee, and in particular Brett Tolman of Chairman Specter's staff, 
and James Suehr.
  Let me also thank the staff who spent many early and late hours 
working on this legislation and the debate: William Henderson, William 
Smith, Mary Chesser, Bob Taylor, Don Dempsey and Andy Moskowitz, James 
Galyean, Chip Roy, Ajit Pai, and Wendy Fleming. I want you all to know 
you were all part of an historic effort, and your hard work is 
appreciated.
  Finally, I would like to thank the distinguished gentleman from Rhode 
Island, Senator Reed, for his courtesy as we worked together to manage 
a difficult debate. Although we disagree on the issue, he has never 
been disagreeable, and I appreciate the tone he brought to the debate.
  And now, Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to pass this 
legislation, and I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, last year, I promised the cosponsors of 
this important legislation that we would return with a fair opportunity 
to work our will against the wrong kind of amendments and attempt to 
establish a clear record on what I think is a very important decision 
that the Senate is about to make.
  I offer a very special thanks to Senator Frist for his cooperation 
and all of my colleagues who have helped bring this bill to the Senate 
floor in the method we have and the success we have had.
  This bill is intended to do one thing, and that is to end the abuse 
that is now going on in the court system of America against law-abiding 
American businesses when they violate no law. But because the product 
they sell in the marketplace may ultimately be misused in a criminal 
act, therefore someone, including some of my colleagues, would suggest 
that law-abiding business person is liable. I suggest and I think the 
Senate tonight will say they ought not be. But if that law-abiding 
citizen violates the law or produces a faulty product, then they are 
liable. That is the law today.
  What we have crafted is a very narrow exemption from predatory 
lawsuits seeking to hold legitimate, law-abiding people responsible for 
the harm done by the misdeeds of people over whom they have no control. 
That is what S. 397 is all about. You can put all kinds of different 
explanations around it, but the reality is very clear and the 
legislation is really very simple. It is straightforward. It is 
intended to be. It is intended to stop those kinds of abusive lawsuits.
  Mr. President, I think we have concluded. If my colleague does not 
have anything more to say, my colleague and I yield back the remainder 
of our time.


                    Amendment No. 1606, as Modified

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Frist amendment No. 1606, as modified, to 
amendment No. 1605, as modified, is agreed to.
  The amendment (No. 1606), as modified, was agreed to.


                    Amendment No. 1605, as Modified

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Criag amendment No. 1605, as modified, as 
amended, is agreed to.
  The amendment (No. 1606), as modified, as amended, was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on the engrossment and third 
reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading and was read 
the third time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is, Shall the bill, as amended, 
pass?
  Mr. CRAIG. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.

[[Page S9396]]

  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The following Senators were necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts), the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Smith), 
and the Senator from New Hampshire (Mr. Sununu).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Smith) 
and the Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts) would have voted ``yea.''
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that on this vote, the Senator from California 
(Mrs. Feinstein) is paired with the Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts).
  If present and voting, the Senator from California would vote ``no'' 
and the Senator from Kansas would vote ``yes.''
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 65, nays 31, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 219 Leg.]

                                YEAS--65

     Alexander
     Allard
     Allen
     Baucus
     Bennett
     Bond
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Burr
     Byrd
     Chambliss
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Coleman
     Collins
     Conrad
     Cornyn
     Craig
     Crapo
     DeMint
     Dole
     Domenici
     Dorgan
     Ensign
     Enzi
     Frist
     Graham
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Hatch
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Jeffords
     Johnson
     Kohl
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Lincoln
     Lott
     Lugar
     Martinez
     McCain
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Nelson (FL)
     Nelson (NE)
     Pryor
     Reid
     Rockefeller
     Salazar
     Santorum
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Talent
     Thomas
     Thune
     Vitter
     Voinovich
     Warner

                                NAYS--31

     Akaka
     Bayh
     Biden
     Bingaman
     Boxer
     Cantwell
     Carper
     Chafee
     Clinton
     Corzine
     Dayton
     DeWine
     Dodd
     Durbin
     Feingold
     Harkin
     Inouye
     Kennedy
     Kerry
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Mikulski
     Murray
     Obama
     Reed
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Stabenow
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--4

     Feinstein
     Roberts
     Smith
     Sununu
  The bill (S. 397), as amended, was passed, as follows:

                                 S. 397

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Protection of Lawful 
     Commerce in Arms Act''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSES.

       (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
       (1) The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution 
     provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms 
     shall not be infringed.
       (2) The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution 
     protects the rights of individuals, including those who are 
     not members of a militia or engaged in military service or 
     training, to keep and bear arms.
       (3) Lawsuits have been commenced against manufacturers, 
     distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms that operate 
     as designed and intended, which seek money damages and other 
     relief for the harm caused by the misuse of firearms by third 
     parties, including criminals.
       (4) The manufacture, importation, possession, sale, and use 
     of firearms and ammunition in the United States are heavily 
     regulated by Federal, State, and local laws. Such Federal 
     laws include the Gun Control Act of 1968, the National 
     Firearms Act, and the Arms Export Control Act.
       (5) Businesses in the United States that are engaged in 
     interstate and foreign commerce through the lawful design, 
     manufacture, marketing, distribution, importation, or sale to 
     the public of firearms or ammunition products that have been 
     shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce are 
     not, and should not, be liable for the harm caused by those 
     who criminally or unlawfully misuse firearm products or 
     ammunition products that function as designed and intended.
       (6) The possibility of imposing liability on an entire 
     industry for harm that is solely caused by others is an abuse 
     of the legal system, erodes public confidence in our Nation's 
     laws, threatens the diminution of a basic constitutional 
     right and civil liberty, invites the disassembly and 
     destabilization of other industries and economic sectors 
     lawfully competing in the free enterprise system of the 
     United States, and constitutes an unreasonable burden on 
     interstate and foreign commerce of the United States.
       (7) The liability actions commenced or contemplated by the 
     Federal Government, States, municipalities, and private 
     interest groups and others are based on theories without 
     foundation in hundreds of years of the common law and 
     jurisprudence of the United States and do not represent a 
     bona fide expansion of the common law. The possible 
     sustaining of these actions by a maverick judicial officer or 
     petit jury would expand civil liability in a manner never 
     contemplated by the framers of the Constitution, by Congress, 
     or by the legislatures of the several States. Such an 
     expansion of liability would constitute a deprivation of the 
     rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed to a citizen of 
     the United States under the Fourteenth Amendment to the 
     United States Constitution.
       (8) The liability actions commenced or contemplated by the 
     Federal Government, States, municipalities, private interest 
     groups and others attempt to use the judicial branch to 
     circumvent the Legislative branch of government to regulate 
     interstate and foreign commerce through judgments and 
     judicial decrees thereby threatening the Separation of Powers 
     doctrine and weakening and undermining important principles 
     of federalism, State sovereignty and comity between the 
     sister States.
       (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are as follows:
       (1) To prohibit causes of action against manufacturers, 
     distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or 
     ammunition products, and their trade associations, for the 
     harm solely caused by the criminal or unlawful misuse of 
     firearm products or ammunition products by others when the 
     product functioned as designed and intended.
       (2) To preserve a citizen's access to a supply of firearms 
     and ammunition for all lawful purposes, including hunting, 
     self-defense, collecting, and competitive or recreational 
     shooting.
       (3) To guarantee a citizen's rights, privileges, and 
     immunities, as applied to the States, under the Fourteenth 
     Amendment to the United States Constitution, pursuant to 
     section 5 of that Amendment.
       (4) To prevent the use of such lawsuits to impose 
     unreasonable burdens on interstate and foreign commerce.
       (5) To protect the right, under the First Amendment to the 
     Constitution, of manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and 
     importers of firearms or ammunition products, and trade 
     associations, to speak freely, to assemble peaceably, and to 
     petition the Government for a redress of their grievances.
       (6) To preserve and protect the Separation of Powers 
     doctrine and important principles of federalism, State 
     sovereignty and comity between sister States.
       (7) To exercise congressional power under art. IV, section 
     1 (the Full Faith and Credit Clause) of the United States 
     Constitution.

     SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON BRINGING OF QUALIFIED CIVIL LIABILITY 
                   ACTIONS IN FEDERAL OR STATE COURT.

       (a) In General.--A qualified civil liability action may not 
     be brought in any Federal or State court.
       (b) Dismissal of Pending Actions.--A qualified civil 
     liability action that is pending on the date of enactment of 
     this Act shall be immediately dismissed by the court in which 
     the action was brought or is currently pending.

     SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) Engaged in the business.--The term ``engaged in the 
     business'' has the meaning given that term in section 
     921(a)(21) of title 18, United States Code, and, as applied 
     to a seller of ammunition, means a person who devotes, time, 
     attention, and labor to the sale of ammunition as a regular 
     course of trade or business with the principal objective of 
     livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of 
     ammunition.
       (2) Manufacturer.--The term ``manufacturer'' means, with 
     respect to a qualified product, a person who is engaged in 
     the business of manufacturing the product in interstate or 
     foreign commerce and who is licensed to engage in business as 
     such a manufacturer under chapter 44 of title 18, United 
     States Code.
       (3) Person.--The term ``person'' means any individual, 
     corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, 
     society, joint stock company, or any other entity, including 
     any governmental entity.
       (4) Qualified product.--The term ``qualified product'' 
     means a firearm (as defined in subparagraph (A) or (B) of 
     section 921(a)(3) of title 18, United States Code), including 
     any antique firearm (as defined in section 921(a)(16) of such 
     title), or ammunition (as defined in section 921(a)(17)(A) of 
     such title), or a component part of a firearm or ammunition, 
     that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign 
     commerce.
       (5) Qualified civil liability action.--
       (A) In general.--The term ``qualified civil liability 
     action'' means a civil action or proceeding or an 
     administrative proceeding brought by any person against a 
     manufacturer or seller of a qualified product, or a trade 
     association, for damages, punitive damages, injunctive or 
     declaratory relief, abatement, restitution, fines, or 
     penalties, or other relief'' resulting from the criminal or 
     unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the person or a 
     third party, but shall not include--
       (i) an action brought against a transferor convicted under 
     section 924(h) of title 18, United States Code, or a 
     comparable or identical State felony law, by a party directly 
     harmed by the conduct of which the transferee is so 
     convicted;
       (ii) an action brought against a seller for negligent 
     entrustment or negligence per se;

[[Page S9397]]

       (iii) an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a 
     qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal 
     statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, 
     and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which 
     relief is sought, including--

       (I) any case in which the manufacturer or seller knowingly 
     made any false entry in, or failed to make appropriate entry 
     in, any record required to be kept under Federal or State law 
     with respect to the qualified product, or aided, abetted, or 
     conspired with any person in making any false or fictitious 
     oral or written statement with respect to any fact material 
     to the lawfulness of the sale or other disposition of a 
     qualified product; or
       (II) any case in which the manufacturer or seller aided, 
     abetted, or conspired with any other person to sell or 
     otherwise dispose of a qualified product, knowing, or having 
     reasonable cause to believe, that the actual buyer of the 
     qualified product was prohibited from possessing or receiving 
     a firearm or ammunition under subsection (g) or (n) of 
     section 922 of title 18, United States Code;

       (iv) an action for breach of contract or warranty in 
     connection with the purchase of the product;
       (v) an action for death, physical injuries or property 
     damage resulting directly from a defect in design or 
     manufacture of the product, when used as intended or in a 
     reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the 
     discharge of the product was caused by a volitional act that 
     constituted a criminal offense then such act shall be 
     considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, 
     personal injuries or property damage; or
       (vi) and action or proceeding commenced by the Attorney 
     General to enforce the provisions of chapter 44 of title 18 
     or chapter 53 of title 26, United States Code.
       (B) Negligent entrustment.--As used in subparagraph 
     (A)(ii), the term `negligent entrustment' means the supplying 
     of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person 
     when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person 
     to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use 
     the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of 
     physical injury to the person or others.
       (C) Rule of construction.--The exceptions enumerated under 
     clauses (i) through (v) of subparagraph (A) shall be 
     construed so as not to be in conflict, and no provision of 
     this Act shall be construed to create a public or private 
     cause of action or remedy.
       (D) Minor child exception.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
     construed to limit the right of a person under 17 years of 
     age to recover damages authorized under Federal or State law 
     in a civil action that meets 1 of the requirements under 
     clauses (i) through (v) of subparagraph (A).
       (6) Seller.--The term ``seller'' means, with respect to a 
     qualified product--
       (A) an importer (as defined in section 921(a)(9) of title 
     18, United States Code) who is engaged in the business as 
     such an importer in interstate or foreign commerce and who is 
     licensed to engage in business as such an importer under 
     chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code;
       (B) a dealer (as defined in section 921(a)(11) of title 18, 
     United States Code) who is engaged in the business as such a 
     dealer in interstate or foreign commerce and who is licensed 
     to engage in business as such a dealer under chapter 44 of 
     title 18, United States Code; or
       (C) a person engaged in the business of selling ammunition 
     (as defined in section 921(a)(17)(A) of title 18, United 
     States Code) in interstate or foreign commerce at the 
     wholesale or retail level.
       (7) State.--The term ``State'' includes each of the several 
     States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the 
     Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, 
     American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
     Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United 
     States, and any political subdivision of any such place.
       (8) Trade association.--The term ``trade association'' 
     means--
       (A) any corporation, unincorporated association, 
     federation, business league, professional or business 
     organization not organized or operated for profit and no part 
     of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any 
     private shareholder or individual;
       (B) that is an organization described in section 501(c)(6) 
     of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax 
     under section 501(a) of such Code; and
       (C) 2 or more members of which are manufacturers or sellers 
     of a qualified product.
       (9) Unlawful misuse.--The term ``unlawful misuse'' means 
     conduct that violates a statute, ordinance, or regulation as 
     it relates to the use of a qualified product.

     SEC. 5. CHILD SAFETY LOCKS.

       (a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the ``Child 
     Safety Lock Act of 2005''.
       (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this section are--
       (1) to promote the safe storage and use of handguns by 
     consumers;
       (2) to prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to 
     or use of a handgun, including children who may not be in 
     possession of a handgun; and
       (3) to avoid hindering industry from supplying firearms to 
     law abiding citizens for all lawful purposes, including 
     hunting, self-defense, collecting, and competitive or 
     recreational shooting.
       (c) Firearms Safety.--
       (1) Mandatory transfer of secure gun storage or safety 
     device.--Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is 
     amended by inserting at the end the following:
       ``(z) Secure Gun Storage or Safety Device.--
       ``(1) In general.--Except as provided under paragraph (2), 
     it shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed 
     manufacturer, or licensed dealer to sell, deliver, or 
     transfer any handgun to any person other than any person 
     licensed under this chapter, unless the transferee is 
     provided with a secure gun storage or safety device (as 
     defined in section 921(a)(34)) for that handgun.
       ``(2) Exceptions.--Paragraph (1) shall not apply to--
       ``(A)(i) the manufacture for, transfer to, or possession 
     by, the United States, a department or agency of the United 
     States, a State, or a department, agency, or political 
     subdivision of a State, of a handgun; or
       ``(ii) the transfer to, or possession by, a law enforcement 
     officer employed by an entity referred to in clause (i) of a 
     handgun for law enforcement purposes (whether on or off 
     duty); or
       ``(B) the transfer to, or possession by, a rail police 
     officer employed by a rail carrier and certified or 
     commissioned as a police officer under the laws of a State of 
     a handgun for purposes of law enforcement (whether on or off 
     duty);
       ``(C) the transfer to any person of a handgun listed as a 
     curio or relic by the Secretary pursuant to section 
     921(a)(13); or
       ``(D) the transfer to any person of a handgun for which a 
     secure gun storage or safety device is temporarily 
     unavailable for the reasons described in the exceptions 
     stated in section 923(e), if the licensed manufacturer, 
     licensed importer, or licensed dealer delivers to the 
     transferee within 10 calendar days from the date of the 
     delivery of the handgun to the transferee a secure gun 
     storage or safety device for the handgun.
       ``(3) Liability for use.--
       ``(A) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     law, a person who has lawful possession and control of a 
     handgun, and who uses a secure gun storage or safety device 
     with the handgun, shall be entitled to immunity from a 
     qualified civil liability action.
       ``(B) Prospective actions.--A qualified civil liability 
     action may not be brought in any Federal or State court.
       ``(C) Defined term.--As used in this paragraph, the term 
     `qualified civil liability action'--
       ``(i) means a civil action brought by any person against a 
     person described in subparagraph (A) for damages resulting 
     from the criminal or unlawful misuse of the handgun by a 
     third party, if--

       ``(I) the handgun was accessed by another person who did 
     not have the permission or authorization of the person having 
     lawful possession and control of the handgun to have access 
     to it; and
       ``(II) at the time access was gained by the person not so 
     authorized, the handgun had been made inoperable by use of a 
     secure gun storage or safety device; and

       ``(ii) shall not include an action brought against the 
     person having lawful possession and control of the handgun 
     for negligent entrustment or negligence per se.''.
       (2) Civil penalties.--Section 924 of title 18, United 
     States Code, is amended--
       (A) in subsection (a)(1), by striking ``or (f)'' and 
     inserting ``(f), or (p)''; and
       (B) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(p) Penalties Relating To Secure Gun Storage or Safety 
     Device.--
       ``(1) In general.--
       ``(A) Suspension or revocation of license; civil 
     penalties.--With respect to each violation of section 
     922(z)(1) by a licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or 
     licensed dealer, the Secretary may, after notice and 
     opportunity for hearing--
       ``(i) suspend for not more than 6 months, or revoke, the 
     license issued to the licensee under this chapter that was 
     used to conduct the firearms transfer; or
       ``(ii) subject the licensee to a civil penalty in an amount 
     equal to not more than $2,500.
       ``(B) Review.--An action of the Secretary under this 
     paragraph may be reviewed only as provided under section 
     923(f).
       ``(2) Administrative remedies.--The suspension or 
     revocation of a license or the imposition of a civil penalty 
     under paragraph (1) shall not preclude any administrative 
     remedy that is otherwise available to the Secretary.''.
       (3) Liability; evidence.--
       (A) Liability.--Nothing in this section shall be construed 
     to--
       (i) create a cause of action against any Federal firearms 
     licensee or any other person for any civil liability; or
       (ii) establish any standard of care.
       (B) Evidence.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
     evidence regarding compliance or noncompliance with the 
     amendments made by this section shall not be admissible as 
     evidence in any proceeding of any court, agency, board, or 
     other entity, except with respect to an action relating to 
     section 922(z) of title 18, United States Code, as added by 
     this subsection.
       (C) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this paragraph shall 
     be construed to bar a governmental action to impose a penalty 
     under section 924(p) of title 18, United States Code, for a 
     failure to comply with section 922(z) of that title.
       (d) Effective Date.--This section and the amendments made 
     by this section shall take effect 180 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act.

[[Page S9398]]

     SEC. 6. ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION.

       (a) Unlawful Acts.--Section 922(a) of title 18, United 
     States Code, is amended by striking paragraphs (7) and (8) 
     and inserting the following:
       ``(7) for any person to manufacture or import armor 
     piercing ammunition, unless--
       ``(A) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the use of 
     the United States, any department or agency of the United 
     States, any State, or any department, agency, or political 
     subdivision of a State;
       ``(B) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the purpose 
     of exportation; or
       ``(C) the manufacture or importation of such ammunition is 
     for the purpose of testing or experimentation and has been 
     authorized by the Attorney General;
       ``(8) for any manufacturer or importer to sell or deliver 
     armor piercing ammunition, unless such sale or delivery--
       ``(A) is for the use of the United States, any department 
     or agency of the United States, any State, or any department, 
     agency, or political subdivision of a State;
       ``(B) is for the purpose of exportation; or
       ``(C) is for the purpose of testing or experimentation and 
     has been authorized by the Attorney General;''.
       (b) Penalties.--Section 924(c) of title 18, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(5) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence 
     is otherwise provided under this subsection, or by any other 
     provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to 
     any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a 
     crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for 
     an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or 
     dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be 
     prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries 
     armor piercing ammunition, or who, in furtherance of any such 
     crime, possesses armor piercing ammunition, shall, in 
     addition to the punishment provided for such crime of 
     violence or drug trafficking crime or conviction under this 
     section--
       ``(A) be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less 
     than 15 years; and
       ``(B) if death results from the use of such ammunition--
       ``(i) if the killing is murder (as defined in section 
     1111), be punished by death or sentenced to a term of 
     imprisonment for any term of years or for life; and
       ``(ii) if the killing is manslaughter (as defined in 
     section 1112), be punished as provided in section 1112.''.
       (c) Study and Report.--
       (1) Study.--The Attorney General shall conduct a study to 
     determine whether a uniform standard for the testing of 
     projectiles against Body Armor is feasible.
       (2) Issues to be studied.--The study conducted under 
     paragraph (1) shall include--
       (A) variations in performance that are related to the 
     length of the barrel of the handgun or center-fire rifle from 
     which the projectile is fired; and
       (B) the amount of powder used to propel the projectile.
       (3) Report.--Not later than 2 years after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall submit a 
     report containing the results of the study conducted under 
     this subsection to--
       (A) the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on the 
     Judiciary of the Senate; and
       (B) the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on the 
     Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

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