Idon't sue everybody, but I like to know I can if I want to. This came to mind when I read that, just before it went on vacation, the Senate passed a bill that says I can't sue gun manufacturers or dealers if I'm the victim of a crime.

I called up Hammer, a lawyer with Hammer, Hammer, Hammer & Thumb, and asked him for guidance on a story.

"If a company sold a pacemaker that didn't work, could I sue them?"

"Of course. No one wants to walk around with a faulty heart."

I asked, "Asbestos, as in roof shingles and ceilings -- sue or not sue?"

"Sue. A jury will be on your side."

"You find a ball bearing in a can of chicken soup."

Hammer said, "It's been known to happen, and the soup company has to take the fall."

"Suppose a crooked executive of a communications company defrauds billions and billions and I lose my life savings. Can I sue him?"

"Of course you can, and we would take your case. Suing people is what lawyers are for. We have one class-action suit now against a chemical company that's running arsenic in the Hudson River. Launch a suit and they'll settle out of court for millions."

"What about this one? I'm in an automobile crash because the brakes on my car don't work. The automobile maker never told anyone they didn't work, but there are e-mails indicating the company was aware the brakes were faulty and could lead to death."

"You can sue them for every golden parachute that the designer of the brake will get after he's fired."

I said, "I love America, because if somebody does you wrong, you can do them wrong."

"Not so fast, big boy. There are things in this country that are so holy you can't sue -- even if the product is responsible for putting you in the hospital or making your wife a widow."

"Such as?"

"You can't sue a manufacturer or a dealer in guns if you get shot."

"Why not?" I asked Hammer.

"The Senate passed a bill just before going on vacation that you can't sue anyone in the gun business because it is sacred. What it means is, if, for example, someone goes to a gun show and buys a weapon to commit a crime, you can't sue the maker or dealer. It's not their fault."

"Why did the Senate pass such a bill?"

"Stupid question. They were doing it to protect the Second Amendment and to support the National Rifle Association out of fear of losing money."

"How do you feel about it?" I asked

"I'm a lawyer. They're taking business away from me. At the same time, I believe that the Senate is looking out for my best interests. If we allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers, the courts will fill up, and then you will have to wait a long time to sue for the things the senators say you can sue for, such as sex abuse in the workplace."

Therefore, when it comes to guns, the manufacturers had a great victory. The Senate's bill says you can't sue gun makers and dealers for the misuse of a firearm during the commission of a crime. If someone goes to a gun show and then uses the purchased gun to commit a crime, you can't sue the maker and dealer, who did no more than provide the weapon of choice.

The senators passed this bill to protect the U.S. gun manufacturers and to keep the NRA happy.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services