Bernie Sanders: Gun Companies No More Liable Than Hammer Companies for Misuse of Product

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

During a recent appearance with CNN’s The Lead With Jake Tapper, Democrat presidential contender Bernie Sanders said gun manufacturers should be no more liable for the misuse of their product following a theft than a hammer company would be.

He said this in response to Tapper’s question about Sanders’s vote for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). That act protects gun manufacturers from lawsuits tied to the misuse of their products. It was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2005.

Tapper said to Sanders, “Your Democrat rivals are starting to hit you with the fact that you have in the past sided with the NRA on some gun issues.” He then referenced the dismissal of the lawsuit against ammo retailer Lucky Gunner—a retailer from whom Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes allegedly bought ammo and other supplies.

Tapper explained that the suit against Lucky Gunner quickly fizzled out and was dismissed because of PLCAA.

Then Tapper asked Sanders to explain why he voted for PLCAA?

Sanders responded by first explaining that the NRA has opposed him in “virtually every campaign” he’s been in. And he tossed out his gun control bona fides—”I voted to ban semi-automatic assault weapons, I voted to make sure that there’s an instant background check, I voted to make sure that guns do not get into the hands of people who should not have them by doing away with the loophole exists in the gun show legislation.”

Then he explained why he opposes frivolous lawsuits against gun makers:

Now… if somebody has a gun, and it falls into the hands of a murderer, and that murderer kills somebody with the gun, do you hold the gun manufacturer responsible? Not any more than you would hold a hammer company responsible if somebody beats somebody over the head with a hammer. That is not what a lawsuit should be about.

Sanders went on to say “99.9 percent” of gun owners “obey the law,” and no progress is going to made on gun control until “extreme positions” are abandoned.

Sanders did not address his own conundrum—if “99.9 percent” of gun owners are law-abiding, why do we need more gun control? Why not instead practice criminal control of the .1 percent of gun owners whom Sanders sees as problematic?

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.