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2003 Ron Paul Chapter 47

Not linked on Ron Paul’s Congressional website.

Congressional Record [.PDF]

Second Amendment Restoration Act
9 April 2003

2003 Ron Paul 47:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I rise today as a firm believer in the second amendment to the United States Constitution and an opponent of all federal gun laws. In fact, I have introduced legislation, the Second Amendment Restoration Act (H.R. 153), which repeals the misguided federal gun control laws such as the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban. I believe that the second amendment is one of the foundations of our constitutional liberties. However, Mr. Speaker, another foundation of those liberties is the oath all of us took to respect the Constitutional limits on federal power. While I understand and sympathize with the goals of the proponents of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (H.R. 1036), this bill exceeds those constitutional limitations, and so I must oppose this bill.

2003 Ron Paul 47:2
It is long past time for Congress to recognize that not every problem requires a federal solution. This country’s founders recognized the genius of separating power amongst federal, state and local governments as a means to maximize individual liberty and make government most responsive to those persons who might most responsibly influence it. This separation of powers strictly limited the role of the federal governments in dealing with civil liability matters; instead, it reserved jurisdiction over matters of civil tort, such as gun related alleged-negligence suits, to the state legislatures from which their respective jurisdictions flow.

2003 Ron Paul 47:3
While I am against the federalization of tort reform, I must voice my complete disapproval for the nature of these very suits brought against gun manufacturers. Lawsuits for monetary damages form gun violence should be aimed at the perpetrators of those crimes, not the manufacturers! Holding manufacturers liable for harm they could neither foresee nor prevent is irresponsible and outlandish. The company that makes a properly functioning product in accordance with the law is acting lawfully and thus should not be taken to court because of misuse by the purchaser (or in many cases, by the one who stole the weapon). I fear these lawsuits are motivated not by a concern for justice but by a search for deep pockets, since gun manufactures have higher incomes than the average criminals, and a fanatical anti-gun political agenda.

2003 Ron Paul 47:4
These attacks on gun manufacturers are disturbing, since the gun industry provides our law enforcement and military with the necessary tools needed to fight crime and defend our country. We should be helping our law enforcement officers and military, not hurting them by putting reputable gun manufacturers out of business.

2003 Ron Paul 47:5
However, Mr. Chairman, the most disturbing aspect of these lawsuits is the idea that the gun, an inanimate object, is somehow responsible for crimes. H.R. 1036 enables individuals to abrogate responsibility for their actions, in that it allows gun dealers to be sued because they “should have known” the gun would be used in a crime. Under H.R. 1036, gun dealers will still be unjustly forced to scrutinize their customers for criminal intent.

2003 Ron Paul 47:6
This further erodes the ethics of individual responsibility for one’s own actions that must form the basis of a free and moral society. The root problem of violence is not the gun in the hand, but the gun in the heart: each person is accountable for the deeds that flow out of his or her own heart. One can resort to any means available to complete a crime (such as knives, fertilizer, pipes, and baseball bats). Should we start suing the manufacturers of these products as well because they are used in crimes? Of course not — its implications are preposterous.

2003 Ron Paul 47:7
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would remind my fellow supporters of gun rights that using unconstitutional federal powers to restrict state gun lawsuits makes it more likely those same powers will be used to restrict our gun rights. Despite these lawsuits, the number one threat to gun ownership remains a federal government freed of its constitutional restraints. Expanding that government in any way, no matter how just the cause may seem, is not in the interests of gun owners or any lovers of liberty.

2003 Ron Paul 47:8
In conclusion, while I share the concern over the lawsuits against gun manufacturers, which inspired H.R. 1036, this bill continues the disturbing trend toward federalization of tort law. Enhancing the power of the federal government is not in the long-term interests of defenders of the second amendment and other constitutional liberties. Therefore, I must oppose this bill.



















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