The "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" prohibits civil lawsuits from being filed against manufacturers or sellers of firearms, ammunition, or components of a firearm for damages resulting from the "criminal or unlawful misuse of a firearm." The bill is intended to address a growing number of active and pending lawsuits brought by individuals and cities against gun makers whose products were used in the commission of violent crimes.
Several Democrats, predominantly representing rural areas in southern states, joined the Republican majority in voting for passage of the bill. The Senate has already passed the bill, which has the support of President Bush.
The law will still allow suits against gun makers under certain conditions. [Details] Passage of the bill is seen as a victory for groups opposed to stronger gun control laws and in favor of legislation protecting the rights of individuals to own firearms.