Controversial federal law that protects gun makers from lawsuits is unconstitutional, Pa. court says

Controversial federal law that protects gun makers from lawsuits is unconstitutional, Pa. court says

Gun and ammo (Shutterstock image) A federal law that protects firearms manufacturers from lawsuits is unconstitutional and so cannot block a Pennsylvania family from suing an iconic gun maker over the shooting death of their teenage son, a state appeals court panel has ruled. That decision, handed down by the Superior Court, is most certain to be appealed to the state’s Supreme Court and could become fodder for a federal court fight. The Brady Campaign, a nationwide group that advocates against gun violence, called the decision “a victory for gun rights victims” and said the Superior Court is the first appeals court in the U.S. to find the Protection of the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act unconstitutional. The ruling, outlined in an opinion by Judge Deborah Kunselman, marks at least a temporary win for Mark and Leah Gustafson who are suing Springfield Inc. over the March 2016 shooting death of their 13-year-old son James in Westmoreland County. James, also known as J.R., was killed when a 14-year-old friend fired a semiautomatic pistol made by Springfield after mistakenly believing it was unloaded. The other teen had removed the ammunition clip from the gun, but a bullet remained in the firing chamber. In their suit, the Gustafsons claimed there were no adequate warnings on the pistol to inform the other boy that it might still be loaded even after the clip was removed. The 14-year-old later pleaded guilty in juvenile court to a charge of involuntary manslaughter. The constitutionality of the […]

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