Sandy Hook Gun Lawsuit Allowed to Proceed (For the Moment)

Millions of Americans lawfully own and responsibly use AR15s everyday, but relatives of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims are trying to use the court system to hold manufacturers of the rifle accountable for the acts of a criminal.  The over-zealous plaintiffs previously filed their lawsuit against Remington Arms in federal court, and the federal court judge rightfully tossed the case to the curb.  But the plaintiffs refiled the lawsuit in state court.  Today, the state court judge decided to allow the case to proceed, although she will allow the defendants to raise their claim of immunity again later on.

The filing of this lawsuit is in contradiction of current federal law that was specifically enacted to prevent this type of back-door gun control.  

Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005 to protect firearms dealers and manufacturers from these specific types of suits. The number one purpose of the law is to prevent lawsuits against dealers and manufacturers “for the harm solely caused by the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearm products . . .”.  If such a case is filed, in federal or state court, the law requires that the court dismiss it.

Manufacturers and dealers can still be held liable for defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, or other violations of the law. Similar laws protect manufacturers of automobiles, power tools, and other “dangerous” products from over-zealous plaintiffs looking for someone to blame for the actions of an individual. 

Of course, an activist judge coupled with aggressive lawyering will find ways around any law. The plaintiffs in the pending state lawsuit are creatively trying to argue their way around the PLCAA by claiming that the way in which the manufacturer marketed the rifle to the public was negligent.  If you’re shaking your head and trying to understand this argument, you’re not alone. They are arguing that the manufacturer was negligent in producing and distributing the AR-15 rifle to a populace who is not trained to use it, would not understand its power, and the manufacturer “knew” its AR-15 rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting “wasn’t suitable for civilian use when it was introduced in the market.” The plaintiffs argue that the way Remington markets its “military-style weapon to the civilian market” is a form of “negligent entrustment,” which is an exception to the immunity legislation. They claim that the manufacturer should have foreseen that someone would misuse such a rifle, because it poses an unreasonable and egregious risk of injury to other people.  They also make a second, creative argument, that alleges that the marketing violates Connecticut state law prohibiting deceptive advertising.

It’s easy for those of us who support and try to protect the Constitution to see the effect of allowing this type of a case:  the criminals will still run free, but we will no longer be able to find a firearm for sale to defend ourselves.

 

 

 

Hillary Touts Her Gun Control Stance . . . Again

(C) 2016 by Alexandria Kincaid

During her “conversation on gun violence” in New York on April 11th, Hillary touted her stance to fight against the law that has, according to her, made it impossible for people to sue gun manufacturers.

Since the beginning of her campaign, Hillary Clinton has shown her complete ignorance of, or deliberate disregard for, the potential liability of firearms manufacturers.  Of course, who cares about the facts?  Her gun control agenda is focused on emotion, regardless of the truth.  I work with firearms dealers and manufacturers everyday.  Their businesses are fraught with potential liability, both civil and criminal.  The law does protect them from the misplaced emotion of over-reaching plaintiffs and the lawyers who would represent them, but otherwise, their business is a tricky one that requires constant and careful diligence.  Congress passed a law giving the manufacturers some protection for good reason: if they did not, manufacturers would soon be put out of business for the actions of criminals.  This situation would allow back-door gun control, as Americans would no longer be able to exercise their right to keep and bear arms if they cannot find a gun to buy.

The following is an excerpt from my book, Infringed, explaining the law that currently provides some protection for firearms manufacturers:

“Chapter 21:  Won’t People Sue Me for Selling Implements of Death if I’m a Dealer or Manufacturer?

There is no doubt that firearms manufacturers come under fire after mass shootings. Victims’ families and the general population look for someone to blame, other than the criminal, who is actually to blame. Although this phenomenon is in and of itself mildly conversation-worthy, it is more interesting that Congress passed a law in 2005 to protect firearms dealers and manufacturers from this type of “negligence” lawsuit.

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCAA) is a law that requires that a lawsuit must be thrown out if the person filing the lawsuit claims the manufacturer or dealer was “negligent” in manufacturing a firearm because firearms can kill other people. Manufacturers and dealers can still be held liable for defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, or other violations of the law.

You may be thinking that many other products pose a similar risk of injury to other people. Similar laws protect manufacturers of automobiles, power tools, and other “dangerous” products from overzealous plaintiffs looking for someone to blame for the actions of an individual. Unfortunately, prior to the PLCAA’s enactment, some firearms dealers and manufacturers had been successfully sued for “negligence” for the mere act of producing and distributing firearms to the public.

Of course, the PLCAA does not always stop gun control advocates from trying to punish firearms manufacturers. After the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, the victims’ families attempted to sue Bushmaster Firearms International LLC.  These plaintiffs alleged that Bushmaster was negligent in producing and distributing the AR-15 rifle to a populace who is not trained to use it and would not understand its power. They claimed that Bushmaster should have foreseen that someone would misuse such a rifle, because it poses an unreasonable and egregious risk of injury to other people. In a similar suit after the Aurora Theater shootings in Colorado, plaintiffs sued the online ammunition manufacturer. The federal judge deciding the Aurora Theater case not only threw it out, but also ordered that the plaintiffs pay the legal fees of the company they sued. While these lawsuits were rightfully tossed to the curb, the Sandy Hook plaintiffs re-filed their lawsuit in state court, and it is still pending.  Gun control advocates also continue to advocate for the repeal of the PLCAA.”