Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
The CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Michigan will be postponed.
AMENDMENT NO. 4 OFFERED BY MR.
The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 4 printed in House Report 114-389.
Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Line 10 on the first page, strike ``and scope''.
Line 8 on the first page, strike ``or economic loss''.
The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 581, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Johnson) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman.
Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Chairman, we know the intentions behind the bill before us today, H.R. 1927, the so-called Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act. The goal of this bill isn't to protect consumers. The goal of this bill is to wipe out class action lawsuits and to deprive consumers of their ability to band their resources together to take large corporations to court for defective and, many times, dangerous products.
We have heard from many of my colleagues already today about the problems this bill creates, and I agree that this is a bad bill. But it is a uniquely bad bill for one group in particular: gun owners. That is right, gun owners--law-abiding Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights who suffer injury or even death when gun manufacturers sell defective and ultrahazardous weapons.
Every year, many gun owners and innocent bystanders are killed when a firearm discharges just at being set down on the ground, when a faulty safety leaves a child dead, when an experienced and safety-conscious gun owner is the victim of a deadly malfunction. Unique to consumer products, no Federal safety agency has the authority to issue a recall of a defectively manufactured firearm. Indeed, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has jurisdiction and oversight to ensure that more than 15,000
household and recreation products are safe for consumers.
Thanks to years of hard work by the gun lobby, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is specifically prohibited from protecting consumers from defectively manufactured firearms. Moreover, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has the authority to license gun manufacturers but does not have the authority to recall defectively manufactured firearms.
Today, this bill's rigorous requirement for certifying a class would render gun owners even more powerless. Currently, gun owners' only recourse in these unfortunate events is our court system, and most people don't have the resources to go up against the massive titans of the gun industry.
Let me give you an example of the kind of class action suit that would not exist under this legislation. In 2013, a class action was filed against Taurus in a U.S. District Court in my State of Florida. The claim involved a design defect in the semiautomatic pistol's trigger safety blade.
Let me read you a news story from Alabama. You will hear about Judy Price, an experienced gun owner. She says she knows them all, how to handle them safely, and she speaks to people taking concealed-carry classes. Price said that no amount of gun knowledge could have saved her from what happened in 2009. Her concealed-carry holster fell to the floor as she was undressing. Then her Taurus pistol went off with a bullet going through her groin, through her stomach, and into her liver.
``I laid down on the floor. I looked up into his eyes, and I said, `Paul, I am going to die tonight. But I love you.' ''
Incredibly, she didn't die that night, although for about 9 days it was ``touch and go,'' she said.
The lead plaintiff in this country was actually a sheriff from Iowa. Chris Carter, a sheriff's deputy in Scott County, was serving on narcotics detail and was pursuing a fleeing suspect. As he ran, his pistol fell from his holster, hitting the ground and discharging a bullet that struck a nearby vehicle. Luckily, it was unoccupied.
Thanks to the ability to pursue a class action, this case was settled, and Taurus voluntarily recalled the pistols. Under this legislation, it is unlikely that gun owners wronged by bad actors in the gun manufacturing industry would have any recourse at all.
I will give you one more example. The gun owner who took his 22 Colt single-action revolver with him fishing. When his gun fell out of his holster, it fired and lodged a bullet in his bladder. He lost the ability to have children.
Under this bill, Federal courts would only be able to hear class action suits involving a group of people if they can prove that they have all ``suffered the same type and scope of injury'' as the named representatives. The family who lost a loved one to a bullet wound in the head due to a defective gun living in Florida would not be able to join with a gun owner shot in the knee in Oregon, would not be able to join together and seek justice even if the injuries were caused by the same defect
in the same make and model of gun.
This overly specific language would prevent gun owners from satisfying the bill's requirement that each member demonstrate the ``same type'' and ``scope of injury.''
It would remove the courts as the last remaining venue to ensure that gun manufacturers are held liable for selling defectively manufactured firearms.
My amendment can fix this problem at least--at least--with respect to gun owners bringing claims for a defective design or manufacturing of a firearm.
This bill's rigorous requirements for certifying a class would have prevented the lawsuits I mentioned and would keep any future class actions brought by gun owners against manufacturers for defectively manufactured items from moving forward. The manufacturers, in many cases, were well aware of the defects for many years, but it took a class action for them to finally do something about it.
Today, you have the opportunity to choose to stand with sportsmen, with law-abiding citizens purchasing guns to protect their homes and families, and with law enforcement who are protecting our communities, or you can stand with the gun manufacturers when they put out defective products that put responsible gun owners at risk.
I strongly urge support for my amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FARENTHOLD. Mr. Chairman, I feel like I am caught in Groundhog Day. I am making the same argument again and again.
The purpose of this bill is to make sure the most injured are the most compensated and not result in a dilution of those by bringing in massive amounts of people not similarly injured.
I disagree with the gentleman's argument that it isn't a similar injury if you are shot in the leg or you are shot in the arm by a defective gun.
Why should guns be treated differently than toasters? If your defective product injures somebody, you are responsible for it; but if your defective product doesn't injure somebody, you shouldn't be.