Are gun manufacturers uniquely exempted from lawsuits?

Thursday, February 10, 2022
By Robyn Sundlee

Gun manufacturers are not exempted from all lawsuits, but federal law does offer some protections. The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act grants gunmakers immunity from being sued if their products are used in a criminal act.

While PLCAA may be the broadest immunity given to an industry, others exist. The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act protects drugmakers from lawsuits during public health emergencies. Even in the absence of explicit legislative exemptions, "your company can’t be held liable unless there’s a defect in your product or service," according to Harvard Business Review.

Individuals can file lawsuits against gun manufacturers for other reasons, including product defects responsible for physical harm or property damage, improper record-keeping, and "negligent entrustment" — when a gun is sold to someone with a discernible risk of using it to harm themselves or others.

This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
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