Since 2005, American gun manufacturers have been shielded from liability lawsuits thanks to a federal immunity bill called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. “It’s a historic piece of legislation,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said at the time of its passage. “As of Oct. 20, , the Second Amendment is probably in the best shape in this country that it’s been in decades.”
Before the gun industry secured this protection, a number of manufacturers faced suits on liability charges in which their guns were involved in illegal purchases and trafficking. Prosecutors claimed the manufacturers were negligent in their sales practices, that more could be done to lessen the risk of firearms falling into the wrong hands. The manufacturers disagreed.
The transcripts of these depositions have largely been tucked away in the archives of law firms and courthouses for the last decade. But documents recently acquired by The New York Times have disclosed some startling testimony from the leaders the gun manufacturing industry.
“I don’t even know what a gun trafficker is,” said one top executive of Taurus International, a manufacturing conglomerate that specializes in making a variety of guns.
Former Glock COO Paul Jannuzzo was asked if he would ever consider declining to sell high-capacity magazines. ”Not for one half a second, no, sir,” he answered. As the Times reports, Jannuzzo ”derided a suggestion that children should be denied access to the section of stores where Glock guns were sold.”
“Like all gun executives, there is nothing that Mr. Jannuzzo would not sell in order to make money, nothing legal anyway,” said msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell in the Rewrite Tuesday. “But Glock’s merchant of death Paul Jannuzzo, who was so eager to sell high-capacity magazines, so eager to make money that way, turned out to be a little too eager to make money any way he possibly could.”
Jannuzzo was convicted last year of conspiring to divert about $5 million from the Glock company between 1991 and 2003. The former Glock COO is currently serving a seven-year sentence in Autry State Prison in Georgia.
At the trial, Jannuzzo’s lawyer told the story of how his client had come to Glock after serving as a New Jersey prosecutor, how he had played a pivotal role in defending the gun manufacturer from product liability lawsuits. “This man has been ruined,” the lawyer said, apparently seeking sympathy.
“Ruined,” said O’Donnell, “but not shot by a Glock. [Jannuzzo] was not sitting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, when a mass murderer walked in carrying two Glocks. This man was not one of the 12 people murdered that night. This man was not one of the 58 wounded that night. This man was not in the parking lot in Tucson, Arizona, when a mass murderer with a Glock and a high-capacity magazine shot Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in the head and killed six people. This man was not one of the people who was killed simply because the shooter had a high-capacity magazine and did not have to reload after firing ten bullets. This man was not hit with the 13th bullet that day. Nine-year old Christina Taylor-Green was hit with that bullet. Her life was ruined by that 13th bullet, ended by a Glock with a high-capacity magazine, the murderous weaponry that Paul Jannuzzo made sure that mass murderers could easily obtain.”