[JURIST] President Bush has commended the passing of legislation [press release] shielding the firearms industry from civil lawsuits brought by cities, municipalities and victims of gun crimes and says he looks forward to signing the bill into law. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act [S. 397 bill summary], passed by the House [JURIST report] Thursday following Senate approval in July, is being hailed by the National Rifle Association [advocacy website; press release] as a "historic victory" that will end "predatory and baseless" suits often financed by the gun control lobby. Opponents of the act, including groups such as the Brady Campaign [advocacy website], claim that the act protects gun dealers from liability when they recklessly supply guns to the black market. Had the law been in effect during the Washington-area sniper attacks, the Brady Campaign claims, the families of six victims would not have been able to obtain their $2.5 million settlement against the dealer who supplied the gun to John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. The Brady-associated Coalition to Stop Gun Violence [advocacy website] said the Act will not stop its lawsuit against the gun makers and dealers who allegedly sold the guns used by convicted felon Buford Furrow to kill five people -- four of them children -- in a 1999 shooting rampage at a Jewish community center. Roughly 20 other pending lawsuits by victims and local governments against the industry would, arguably, be affected by the new law. Friday's New York Times has more.