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As far as I can tell the US government, especially the current US President Obama, wants stricter laws concerning the ownership and / or acquisition of guns and weapons in the USA.

Now again as far as I can tell, there's the general idea in the US that whenever a (foreign) government reduces your potential sales, you can sue them to replace the money that you potentially may have gained. With the (foreign) only applying when there's a free-trade agreement (like TTIP or NAFTA) between the US and the foreign nation in question including investor-protection measures.

Now assume Obama convinces the congress to make a law to restrict the acquisition of guns (e.g., more controls for private sales, less people qualified to buy guns in the first place, etc.) or he just signs an Executive Order having the same effect.

In this scenario, can every single company that sells / produces guns sue the US government because their sales got reduced by this new law / executive order?

  • I'm not seeing where your second paragraph comes from, but it's not even remotely true. The more accurate statement is "you can't sue a foreign government in US court unless they consent to suit or unless a couple very specific exceptions apply." – cpast Jan 3 '16 at 15:45
  • @cpast, this is from media transported to me about the current TTIP negotiations. If TTIP (i.e. a free-trade agreement) is in place investor-protections kick in and allow US companies to sue EU governments, I'll modify the paragraph appropriately. – SEJPM Jan 3 '16 at 15:49
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Probably not.

The legal doctrine here is Sovereign Immunity which basically states that you can't sue the government unless the government agrees either by a general piece of legislation (e.g. the Federal Torts Act, an Investor State Dispute clause in a treaty) or in the specific case being brought.

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It's not coming to mind right now, but I think there is a precedent in agriculture, where a change in laws that alters the method of practicing business can act as the basis for a valid suit.

The suit, in this case, would be on the grounds of compensation for time needed to adjust business practice


This is not a full-enough answer, but given it is one position I want to provide it here, and I will add more as I research for the related precedent. Anyone is welcome to edit with the same.

  • Were American vintners, brewers, and distillers compensated when their products were made illegal by Prohibition? – DJohnM Jan 3 '16 at 23:37
  • @DJohnM liquor export was not considered a significant portion of the GDP. I think it would be ruled differently. There's a basis to question the fairness of this, but down that track I think we veer into politics. I'm not sure we will solve anything there, in terms of Law – New Alexandria Jan 4 '16 at 1:08

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