SOURCE: National Shooting Sports Foundation

July 28, 2005 15:06 ET

Senator Dodd Working to Destroy Connecticut Jobs

Senator Lieberman Silent So Far on S. 397

NEWTOWN, CT -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 28, 2005 -- Calling his comments the height of hypocrisy, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) today blasted Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd (D) for his efforts to defeat legislation that would protect gun manufacturers -- and Connecticut jobs -- from junk lawsuits. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (S. 397) being debated on the Senate floor will provide relief from lawsuits that seek to hold gun manufacturers responsible when their products are used by criminals in the commission of a crime. There are five gun manufacturers located in Connecticut that collectively employ thousands of workers either directly or through the manufacturing supply chain.

"It is outrageous and the height of hypocrisy for Senator Dodd to take to the Senate floor and pretend that he speaks for the gun industry," said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for NSSF in response to Dodd's speech yesterday opposing the bill. "At a time when Connecticut is threatened with job losses from military base closures, he is working to throw thousands of Connecticut workers -- union workers -- onto the unemployment line. Nobody should be deceived: Senator Dodd is an enemy of the gun industry and we are shocked at how hard he is working to destroy our industry and our jobs."

Each year in Connecticut, hunting and target shooting generate more than $44 million in retail sales and are responsible for over $18.2 million in salaries and wages, delivering millions in state tax revenues.

The legislation being debated in Congress would provide very narrow legal relief from dozens of lawsuits filed by opportunistic trial lawyers and politicians that seek to hold gun manufacturers liable when their products are used in criminal acts. "These lawsuits threaten to bankrupt our lawful industry," said Keane. "To date, members of the firearms industry have spent as much as $225 million dollars defending themselves from these junk lawsuits. We are a very small industry, and trial lawyers and anti-gun groups are trying to bleed us dry. These suits are legal terrorism," he said.

Five of America's oldest and most trusted names in gun-making are located in Connecticut and provide arms to the men and women serving to defend our country overseas and here at home. Tens of millions of their firearms are enjoyed by responsible participants in the shooting sports. In a letter to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who is fighting to save the gun industry, the U.S. Department of Defense said, "We believe that passage of S. 397 would help safeguard our national security by limiting unnecessary lawsuits against an industry that plays a critical role in meeting the procurement needs of our men and women in uniform."

The legislation has overwhelming, bipartisan Senate support with 62 co-sponsors. House passage is guaranteed with more than 257 co-sponsors. President Bush, who has signed similar legislation while governor of Texas, is urging its swift passage with no amendments so he can sign the bill into law.

"We know were Senator Dodd stands -- or sits -- when it comes to protecting Connecticut jobs. Unfortunately, Senator Lieberman remains silent on this issue, something we should not expect from our senator when Connecticut jobs are on the line," stated Keane. "I urge Senator Lieberman to protect Connecticut jobs and an industry that is critical to defending America. Senator Lieberman knows these junk lawsuits are wrong. He needs to stand up and vote for this common-sense legal reform measure that will save jobs in his state."

Founded in 1961, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (http://www.nssf.org/) is the shooting sports industry's trade organization with 2,500 members representing firearm and ammunition manufacturers, distributors and retailers. It is headquartered in Newtown, Conn.

Contact Information

  • For more information contact:
    Lawrence Keane
    (203) 426-1320
    (203) 526-6773