New Lawsuit Shows Sign of a Crack in the Gun Rights Armor

New Lawsuit Shows Sign of a Crack in the Gun Rights Armor

Ninety years ago, the murderous gangster Al Capone finally met justice for the mundane crime of failing to file federal tax returns. Now a similar dynamic is at work in the effort to impose common sense restraints on guns in the U.S. Gun manufacturers are suddenly facing a series of potentially crippling lawsuits that leverage standard consumer protection principles. If the effort succeeds, the courts could finally force gunmakers to account for the lethal consequences of their marketing strategies. Sandy Hook as the tipping point Gun safety advocates hoped that the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut would be a political tipping point. It was not, but it could very well be the legal tipping point. In 2014 a group of Sandy Hook parents filed a lawsuit alleging illegal marketing practices by Remington, which made the shooter’s Bushmaster rifle. Five years later, in 2019 the Connecticut Supreme Court finally ruled that the case could move forward under the provisions of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). The PLCAA has long been upheld as a major obstruction to gun safety legislation. It carves out special protections for gunmakers that are not available to other manufacturers. As a result, the makers of some of the most dangerous consumer products in the world have been considered immune from consumer lawsuits. However, the PLCAA does not offer perfect immunity. Legal experts have noted that the law does provide for gunmakers to be sued for negligence, or […]

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