During Thursday’s speech from the Rose Garden, President Joe Biden claimed the Second Amendment has had limits “from the very beginning.” Biden also stated gun manufacturers have “legal immunity,” pressing Congress to remove protections.
Biden said, “No amendment — no amendment to the Constitution is absolute. You can’t yell…’ fire’ in a crowded movie theater and call it freedom of speech. From the very beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own. From the very beginning that the Second Amendment existed, certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons.”
Believing Second Amendment rights are limited, Biden believes passing gun control to restrict those rights further is no infringement.
He said, “Nothing — Nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment. They’re phony, arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake from what we’re talking about.”
Biden said: “We should… eliminate gun manufacturers from the immunity they receive from Congress.”
“Most people don’t realize, the only industry in America, a billion-dollar industry, that can’t be sued… are gun manufacturers,” he added.
PLCAA shields gun makers from lawsuits in situations where a gun, criminally used, was legally made and legally sold.
In other words, Glock cannot be sued over a handgun that was used in crime if that handgun was legally made, then distributed from the factory to a Federal Firearms License holder (FFL), then sold via a National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) check to an individual at retail.
The text of PLCAA states:
Businesses in the United States that are engaged in interstate and foreign commerce through the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, importation, or sale to the public of firearms or ammunition products that have been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce are not, and should not, be liable for the harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse firearm products or ammunition products that function as designed and intended.
However, the protections set forth by PLCAA do not shield gun manufacturers from lawsuits over defective goods, criminal misconduct on the part of the gunmaker, etc. In other words, the protections in PLCAA do not provide gun makers with “legal immunity.”
But the Bill of Rights serves a different purpose than the Constitution. Whereas the Constitution enumerates powers that the people relegate to the federal government and describes how those powers are to be used, the Bill of Rights lists specific rights that the people possess as part of their humanity.
Thomas Jefferson alluded to these rights in the Declaration of Independence when he said we are “endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights.” He pointed out that these rights are “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” A decade and a half later, the rights were fleshed out with greater specification in the Bill of Rights. James Madison stated that Americans’ gun rights “shall not be infringed.”
One of the Bill of Rights’ chief purposes was to declare that the people possessed rights integral to their humanity. Those rights were not under the government’s purview (because they did not come from the government).