Addressing gun control, President Biden repeated his claim that “gun manufacturers (are) the only industry in America that can't be sued.”
CNN has previously fact checked this claim. Here’s what we found:
Facts First: This is false. Gun manufacturers are not entirely exempt from being sued, nor are they the only industry with some liability protections.
Under the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, gun manufacturers cannot be held liable for the use of their products in crimes. However, gun manufacturers can still be held liable for (and thus sued for) a range of things, including negligence, breach of contract regarding the purchase of a gun or certain damages from defects in the design of a gun.
In 2019, the Supreme Court allowed a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Remington Arms Co. to continue. The plaintiffs, a survivor and families of nine other victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, wanted to hold the company — which manufactured the semi-automatic rifle that was used in the killing — partly responsible by targeting the company’s marketing practices, another area where gun manufacturers can be held liable. On Feb. 15, those families reached a $73 million settlement with the now-bankrupt gun manufacturer and its four insurers.
Other industries also have some exemptions from liability. For example, vaccine manufacturers cannot be held liable in a civil suit for damages from a vaccine-related injury or death. And for the next four years, pharmaceutical companies developing the Covid-19 vaccines will have immunity from liability under the 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. Those who claim to have been harmed by vaccines may receive money from the government, not the pharmaceutical company, via the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.