Pa. Superior Court rules gun law unconstitutional, says lawsuit in teen’s death can proceed

Pa. Superior Court rules gun law unconstitutional, says lawsuit in teen's death can proceed

A state appellate court ruled Monday that a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer for a Westmoreland County teen’s shooting death may move forward after the court declared the law shielding the defendants is unconstitutional. The Pennsylvania Superior Court found the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) to be unconstitutional, a decision seen as a victory by gun control activists as the law has received increased scrutiny in recent years. The state Superior Court is the first appeals court in the country to rule the act wholly unconstitutional. “This is by far the most exhaustive judicial decision analyzing the unconstitutionality of PLCAA,” said Jonathan Lowy, the lead counsel for the Gustafsons and legal vice president at the advocacy agency Brady: United Against Gun Violence. He expects the decision to be “highly influential around the country.” The gun manufacturer, Illinois-based Springfield Armory, Inc., and the Saloom Department Store in Mount Pleasant were sued by Mark and Leah Gustafson following the shooting death of their son, J.R. The 13-year-old was killed by a friend who, after unloading the clip from his father’s handgun, unwittingly shot J.R. with a chambered bullet. The Gustafsons held the manufacturer responsible, alleging the gun was defective since there was no indication the gun was loaded even with a removed clip. The defendants said they were protected by the PLCAA, passed by Congress in 2005, which would prevent them from being held liable even if the Gustafsons convinced a jury of their guilt. The Gustafsons […]

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