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Lawmakers consider liability shield for gun industry in Iowa courts

DES MOINES — A Republican senator is advancing a bill to give new liability protections to companies that make and sell guns and ammunition.

Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig, said it’s an attempt to end what he calls back door gun control.

“The intentional effort to file lawsuits for the purpose of breaking, financially breaking…the firearms industry,” Schultz said.

The House Public Safety has approved similar legislation. Senator Schultz and another Republican signed off on the bill early this morning to make it eligible for debate in a senate committee. Richard Rogers of the Iowa Firearms Coalition is urging Republicans in the state legislature to act quickly on the bill. Rogers said the federal law that provides liability protection for the gun industry is endangered.

“The Biden Administration and members of congress who now control congress have vowed to repeal that,” he said.

Rogers told senators gun shops and manufacturers should not be held liable if someone commits an illegal act with a gun.

“We do not sue Ford or Toyota because somebody took one of their cars and ran down a pedestrian,” Rogers said.

Charlotte Eby, a lobbyist for the Giffords Law Center which promotes gun safety legislation, said the bill would shield gun manufacturers and sellers from being sued in Iowa, even if they acted negligently or recklessly, “such as by storing guns unsafely or selling a fire arm to a person displaying signs of severe mental instability.”

A lobbyist for the Iowa Association for Justice said lawsuits over negligence are complicated and expensive and the “loser pays” section in the bill would discourage most gun owners legitimately injured by a defective gun or ammunition from suing.

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