Lack of Gun Industry Accountability
What is the problem?
Every day, 120 people are shot and killed in the United States, but the gun industry plays by a special set of rules that allows it to avoid responsibility and endanger public safety.
Firearms are not regulated like other consumer products. The laws regulating how guns may be sold are outdated, and members of the gun industry that skirt the law enjoy special legal protection. Guns are not required to have safety features that are shown to reduce unintentional shootings and theft. Information is hidden from the public on which gun dealers supply firearms recovered in crime. Gun dealers are rarely inspected or held accountable even though violations are common. Gun manufacturers and sellers that skirt the law have a unique, broad immunity from legal accountability.
Why is it an issue?
Laws regulating the gun industry have not been strengthened since the 1960s.
The gun industry plays a central role in preventing guns from ending up in the wrong hands and ensuring that all forms of gun violence are prevented. Safety features can ensure firearms can’t be accessed by thieves or children, common sense sales practices can stem the flow of illegal guns into cities, information on who supplies crime guns can lead to targeted reform efforts, and accountability in the courts can shut down or reform bad actors.
Laws regulating the gun industry have not been strengthened since the 1960s and the gun lobby has been able to write special protections for itself while weakening the agencies responsible for regulating it. A gun industry that plays by its own rules has been able to fuel a gun violence crisis with no regard for the harm it causes.
By the numbers
Gun manufacturers received nearly two million pieces of data about firearms recovered at crime scenes or in criminal investigations between 2010 and 2019.
The most recent nationally representative survey found that approximately 380,000 guns are stolen from private gun owners every year.
What are the solutions?
Repeal Gun Industry Immunity
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) blocks legal responsibility for gun manufacturers that have failed to innovate and make guns safer, and for manufacturers, distributors, and dealers with irresponsible, reckless and negligent sales practices that contribute to the flood of illegal firearms in our communities.
Gun Dealer Reform
Laws on how gun stores conduct their business have not been strengthened since the 1960s. Congress should pass comprehensive gun dealer reform.
Smart Guns and Gun Safety Features
A personalized—or “smart”—gun is a firearm that employs authorized-use technology, like the thumb scan or passcode available on many smartphones, to turn stolen guns and guns accessed by children into harmless pieces of steel. If widely implemented, it would be a game-changer for keeping guns out of the hands of children and criminals.
Repeal Restrictions on Gun Trace Data
Since 2003, the Tiahrt Amendments have restricted law enforcement's ability to investigate and prosecute gun crimes. This data-blocking protects corrupt gun dealers and hinders law enforcement.