Families blast gun-act vote

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The suit alleges that gun distributors produce more firearms than the legitimate market can use, thereby promoting a second market for illegal gun distribution. Supporters of the soon-to-be-signed law say the gun industry cannot be held responsible for what criminals do with lawful firearms that are made properly and sold legally. Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Lakewood, had offered an amendment that would have let courts hear suits that cite dealers who sell weapons to people convicted of domestic violence. But Republicans in the Rules Committee led by Rep. David Dreier, R-Glendora, blocked the amendment from being heard. “Our laws should punish criminals who use guns to commit crimes, not law-abiding manufacturers of lawful products,” Bush said in a statement. Eugene Volokh, a University of California, Los Angeles, law professor, agreed. “The gun industry has been hit with a rash of lawsuits that are really much unlike anything we’ve seen for any other industry,” he said. He likened it to blaming alcohol distributors that sell beer in college towns for underage drinking. Maybe the distributors know teens will drink illegally, but restricting their ability to sell in those areas, Volokh said, “would take a lawful product away from legal users as well.” But the Southern California families of Buford O. Furrow Jr.’s victims say they still relive the day their loved ones were shot and called the bill’s passage devastating. Most of their anger, they said, is reserved for members of Congress. “I’m extremely disappointed,” said Alan Stepakoff of Northridge, whose son, Joshua Stepakoff, was 6 when he was shot in the leg and is a plaintiff in the suit. “I think the message that it sends is that our politicians are more concerned about their own re-elections than they are about the safety of their constituents,” he said. “It’s too bad they can pass this immunity but it’s so hard for them to pass a hate-crimes bill,” added Ismael Ileto. Ileto’s brother, Joseph Ileto of Chino Hills, was delivering mail on his Chatsworth route when Furrow, fresh from the shooting at the community center in Granada Hills, shot and killed him. Furrow later said it was because Ileto was not white. “The gun manufacturers need to be somewhat responsible for what they make and how they distribute it,” Ileto said. Lisa Friedman, (202) 662-8731 [email protected] HOW THEY VOTED YES: Reps. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino; Ken Calvert, R-Riverside; David Dreier, R-Glendora; Elton Gallegly, R-Thousand Oaks; Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands; Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita; Gary Miller, R-Brea; Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach. NO: Reps. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles; Howard Berman, D-Van Nuys; Jane Harman, D-El Segundo; Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Torrance; Grace Napolitano, D-Santa Fe Springs; Linda Sanchez, D-Lakewood; Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena; Brad Sherman D-Sherman Oaks; Hilda Solis, D-El Monte; Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Families of the victims of a 1999 San Fernando Valley shooting rampage denounced Congress on Thursday as it approved sweeping legislation that protects the gun industry from nearly all lawsuits – including theirs. The House passed, 283-114, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, aimed at dismissing suits that seek to hold firearms manufacturers and distributors responsible for gun crimes. The Senate passed an identical version in July. President George W. Bush has vowed to sign it. “It’s very depressing, very upsetting. I have a lump in my throat with this,” said Donna Finkelstein of Chatsworth. “Unfortunately, we knew it was coming.” Finkelstein – whose daughter, Mindy, was among five people shot and wounded at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in August 1999 when an avowed racist opened fire there and later killed a Filipino-American mailman in Chatsworth – is a plaintiff in a high-profile suit with other families that now is likely to be tossed out of court. last_img read more