In 2005, the gun industry celebrated a major victory when Congress passed a wide range of impunity laws in federal and state courts.
That law, Legal trade protection under the Weapons Act (PLCAA)Was a response to a legal objection in which gun manufacturers and sellers argued that the product should be held liable if it was used in a crime. Dozens of cities claim that the gun industry has created “pollution” through sales practices that make it easy to sell guns in illegal secondary markets that have fallen into the hands of those who have committed violent crimes using guns. Did.
Legal debates have had various successes in court, but the threat has urged the gun lobby to seek federal protection. PLCAA has made some exceptions to plaintiffs, but if they are killed or injured due to a design flaw, or if the firearms distributor intentionally sells the firearms to someone who intends to use them for a crime. The law provided strong legal protection for guns. industry.
In search of an end run
However, recent developments have shown that the debate on pollution is not going away anytime soon.
Victims seriously injured on May 31 April New York subway shootings The manufacturer of the gun used in the case claims to sue Glock. Played a role through the negligent marketing of that gun..
Proceedings under the first New state law Attempts to bypass the immunity provided by PLCAA. New York’s first law in the country is a gun manufacturer if prosecutors, cities, and individuals believe they are not using “reasonable controls and procedures” to prevent the illegal use of products in the state. And authorizes the distributor to sue.
A group of gun manufacturers, distributors and retailers Disputed the Constitution Of that law because it is trying to invalidate federal law.However, on May 25, Judge Mae D’Agostino of the US District Court Abandoned the proceeding“Parliament explicitly intends to allow state law to regulate the firearms industry. State law establishing responsibility for improper sale or sale of firearms is not an obstacle to the purpose of the PLCAA Congress.”
Appeal to “criminal intent”
Plaintiff Ilene Steur, who shoots the subway, claims that Glock sold firearms with its large capacity, easy concealment, and other features that “appeal to the buyer for criminal purposes.” She also claims that the company failed to “adopt the most basic policies and practices” to prevent their guns from falling into the wrong hands.
The proceedings (and New York law) focus on one of the exceptions within the PLCAA. Federal law specifies that states may pass “predicate law” to regain some liability.
However, a major challenge facing Sturge or other plaintiffs is to prove negligence. If a gun has features that appeal to criminals, does general marketing of those features constitute negligence? Is the seller obliged to measure the buyer’s intent? What are the “basic policies and practices” to keep guns out of the wrong hands?
Nevertheless, a litigation, or litigation threat, can provide an answer and limit the way the gun industry sells its products.
Other actions targeting the gun industry
Of course, there is already one major development related to marketing in the gun industry. The family of Sandy Hook’s shooting victims sued Remington Arms for how they sold the Bushmaster AR-15 firearm, the gun used in the case. February, gun company Settled proceedings for $ 73 million.. However, the settlement means that the company did not admit cheating.
Action has also been taken by the Federal Trade Commission, where gun control advocates have petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to: Regulate the gun industry Just like cigarettes.
All this is done during a period of increasing public awareness of gun violence in the United States. On May 24, shooters killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and other mass shootings take place almost daily.
The United States Unique among developed countries For resistance to gun violence. There are also many responsible persons. Such proceedings may add firearm manufacturers to the list.
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