In the week prior to Congress's summer recess, the military spending bill was
shoved aside by leader Tom Delay in order to bring more pressing matters to the
table. The issue at hand - protecting the gun industry from civil action. Just a
few minutes ago, the House voted to pass this bill:
Congress gave the gun lobby its top legislative priority Thursday,
passing a bill that would protect the firearms industry from massive
lawsuits brought by crime victims. The White House says President Bush will
sign it into law.
The House voted 283-144 to send the bill to the president after
supporters, led by the National Rifle Association, proclaimed it vital to
protect the industry from being bankrupted by huge jury awards. Opponents,
waging a tough battle against growing public support for the legislation,
called it proof of the gun lobby's power over the Republican-controlled
Under the measure, about 20 pending lawsuits by local governments against
the industry would be dismissed. The Senate passed the bill in July.
The bill's passage was the NRA's top legislative priority and would give
Bush and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill a rare victory at a time when
some top GOP leaders are under indictment or investigation.
"Lawsuits seeking to hold the firearms industry responsible for the
criminal and unlawful use of its products are brazen attempts to accomplish
through litigation what has not been achieved by legislation and the
democratic process," House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner,
R-Wis., told his colleagues.