Proposed: Reduction of Firearm Violence Act — For Discussion

 1.         Right to sue.  Victims of gun violence shall have a right to sue in federal court, for all physical, mental, and economic damages resulting from such gun violence, any or all of the putative defendants listed in Section 2.

 2.         Putative defendants.  The following shall be liable to all victims of gun violence, whether or not negligent or at fault, as a matter of strict liability:  gun manufacturers, gun marketers, gun sellers, gun owners, whether or not such guns have been stolen or otherwise taken from their control with or without their consent, when the guns that they have manufactured, marketed, sold, or allowed out of their control have caused harm to any individual or individuals.

 3.         Right of self defense.  The only permissible defense to liability under this Act shall be if the defendant affirmatively establishes, by clear and convincing evidence, that the use of the gun in question was necessary to protect against an immediate and direct threat to human life.

 4.         Exemplary damages.  Upon a finding of liability and an award of compensatory damages, additional damages shall be awarded against such liable defendants in the amount of nine times compensatory damages awarded, regardless of fault.


About brucejberger

Bruce J. Berger has published his short fiction in a variety of print and on-line literary journals, including Prole, Jersey Devil Press Anthology, The Awakenings Review, Raphael's Village, Eastown Fiction, Black Magnolias Literary Journal, and others. He also publishes shorts stories for Amazon's Kindle. He is pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at American University beginning in August 2015.
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5 Responses to Proposed: Reduction of Firearm Violence Act — For Discussion

  1. I have no issue with any of these propositions. In fact, I believe that personal liability, personal responsibility, and true restitution are much more effective than our current penal system.

    However, I would also add another proposition: if we are expected to rely (not necessarily exclusively) on law enforcement to protect us, they must be held liable for NOT protecting us, and Warren v. District of Columbia must be overturned.

    • brucejberger says:

      Rob: Thank you for commenting on my post. Well, I am happy to see that we feel the same way about some things. Your proposal about making law enforcement liable for not protecting us is one, however, that I cannot agree with. Since you have been an advocate for limited government, if I understand you correctly, I’d think you would not recommend placing liability on fallible police officers and fallible governments, not to mention cash-strapped governments. I don’t think that such liabilty would improve police services. But, I will actually continue to think about that idea. Let’s figure out what else we can agree on.

  2. Gary Rubin says:

    The NRA has already won. If tomorrow there was a total ban on the sale and possession of guns and ammunition, there are already a sufficient number of guns, rifles, ammo to last into the next milennium, perhaps further. That we can even “discuss” whether assault rifles and 30-round ammo clips should be banned, says it all. And how about sending kids to schools that have teachers with sidearms? That will get us back to being competitive in math and science, eh? Good luck to Joe Biden. Maybe it’s time to invest in bulletproof vest futures . . . .

    This gun “debate” (if there really is one) reminds me of the “ban the bomb” movement of the 1960’s — the so-called peace sign is actually a ban-the-bomb emblem. The idea back then was to rid the world oif nuclear weapons. Well, the best we could come up with was a nuclear “freeze” on the number of new atomic/nuclear weapons a country could manufacutre and possess. But there are enough nukes in existence to, as they say, blow us all away, literally. As the Kingston Trio memorably said in their song The Merry Minuet:

    “But we can be grateful
    And thankful and proud
    That man has been endowed
    With a mushroom shaped cloud.
    And we know now to be thankful
    That to this very day
    Someone has not set the spark off
    And we’ve not all been blown away.”

    At least not yet . . . .

    • brucejberger says:

      Gary: Thank you for commenting on my post. Banning assault weapons does not end the problem, but it’s a start. Imposing liability as I’ve proposed would make the manufacturers figure out how to get back the guns they’ve manufactured (or get them into safe hands) or go out of business. Maybe I should clarify the fact that the proposed statute is retroactive.

  3. Galina Davidoff says:

    It seems that in MA, the gun owners will be required to have liability insurance which would be responsible for coverage of any violence committed with that gun ever (even if stolen I think). What do you think about that as a measure? On a plus side it would get insurance lobby to support reasonable gun regulations..

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