A Judge’s Ruling That Ignores The Law

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about a recent lawsuit regarding the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The parents of the children who were killed have sued the manufacturers of the guns used in the shooting.

The article reports:

It is important to remember that the rifle used by Adam Lanza, a semi-automatic AR-15, had been legally bought by his mother, Nancy Lanza. Lanza killed her while she was sleeping before he headed to the elementary school and engaged in his killing spree. In fact, some of the families blamed Nancy Lanza for what happened, saying that she knew about her son’s mental problems and “ignored all the signs” of his “increasing instability.”

The parents subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit in state court against Bushmaster Firearms, Remington Arms, and a host of other firearms manufacturers. The families claim that the manufacturers acted “unethically, oppressively, immorally, and unscrupulously” in marketing the “assaultive qualities and military use of AR-15s to civilian purchasers.”

I don’t mean to be difficult, but the manufacturers had nothing to do with the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The article reports:

Of course, the main problem faced by the plaintiffs is that this lawsuit is absolutely barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCA). The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush to stop these types of emotionally-charged lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Codified at 15 U.S.C. §7901-7903, the Congressional “Findings” specifically state that businesses that manufacture, market, distribute, import or sell firearms should not “be liable for the harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse” such weapons. Such civil liability lawsuits “may not be brought in any Federal or State court.”

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act provides only limited exceptions to this prohibition. One exception is for lawsuits claiming a normal product liability issue, such as the harm caused by a weapon that contained a design or manufacturing defect that caused it to malfunction. Or if the manufacturer deliberately sold the gun to someone who is prohibited from owning a guns—like a felon. Or if the manufacturer encouraged a gun owner to misuse the weapon in a way that led to the harm.

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was horrific. A mentally ill young man managed to get hold of a gun and went on a killing spree. Unfortunately, the way our laws are currently written, this was not a preventable crime. The laws that cover committing a person to a mental hospital have gotten complicated, and it was reported that the young man’s mother was attempting to have him hospitalized because of his mental state. Unfortunately, she was not able to complete that complex process before her son killed her. Maybe the answer is a review of our mental health policies–not suing people who are not responsible for the crime.

Moving Responsibility As Far As Possible From The Person Who Is Actually Responsible

Our culture has some very strange ideas about who is responsible for what. Somehow we have forgotten that as people we make decisions all of the time and that those decisions have consequences. Sometimes those decisions have horrible consequences, but when all is said and done, the consequences are the result of an individual’s decisions. A recent lawsuit against Freedom Group, the owners of both Bushmaster and Remington Arms, relating to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut illustrates the fact that we no longer allow individuals to be held accountable for their actions.

Hot Air posted an article about the lawsuit today.

The article reports:

The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School had a huge impact on the national discourse and, to some extent, the electoral battlefield, but there’s another fight dragging on as a result of it. Some of the families who lost loved ones during the attack by a deranged madman filed a lawsuit as a result. They weren’t going after the shooter’s estate or even that of his mother, but the parent company of the manufacturer who produced one of the guns used in the attack. Freedom Group, the owners of both Bushmaster and Remington Arms (among others) was their target, claiming that they knowingly sold a dangerous product which wound up being used against the children and teachers at the school. This week the company is pushing back, seeking the dismissal of the case on grounds that it is essentially baseless and conflicts with current law.

I love the way the article explains exactly how the current law is written:

The law in question here is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which we’ve covered a number of times in the past. It’s a piece of legislation which really never should have needed to be passed, but Congress was forced into a rare bit of productive action when relentless nuisance suits by anti-gun rights groups threatened to bankrupt smaller members of the industry. It essentially says that the manufacturer or retailer can’t be held liable for the production, distribution and sale of safely designed, properly functioning, wholly legal products simply because they are put to an illegal use by criminals or the insane. It’s no different than saying you can’t sue the manufacturer of a properly designed and operational toaster just because your angry girlfriend throws it in the bathtub with you. (The italics are mine.)

You can argue that the guns were not properly secured and got into the hands of a dangerous person, but that is not the fault of the manufacturing company. Had there been a person in the school with a gun manufactured by the same company, there would have been fewer lives lost–does that mean that the product is no longer dangerous, but a safety item?

The article concludes:

It’s easy to understand the sorrow and anger felt by the Sandy Hook families, just as it’s obvious how and why anti-Second Amendment groups would seek to use them as pawns to further their cause. None of that changes the facts on the ground, however. This was an ill considered venture to begin with and we’re in a lot of trouble as a nation if the courts manage to bend reality enough to allow them to prevail.

 

An Unconstitutional Solution To A Horrific Event

Yesterday The Blaze reported that Connecticut gun owners have begun registering their guns in order to comply with new gun laws that will go into effect on January 1.

The article reports:

Charles Gillette, who was registering magazines, told the news station that he would have a problem with it if the state was trying to ban the magazines or firearms, but said “if they want to just know where they are, that’s fine with me.”

However, not one gun owner who was registering firearms or magazines said they think the new laws will reduce gun violence.

“If people are going to do things illegally, they’re not going to be here registering their gun,” Jared Krajewski, another resident registering firearms, said.

For now, in Connecticut, the law is the law. The new gun control measures were put into place following the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Common sense tells us that those who have nefarious future plans involving their guns will not be in line registering those guns. All this law does is put a new restriction on law-abiding gun owners–it will have no impact at all on those people who choose to ignore the law. Newtown was a horrible tragedy, but this law may be setting the stage for an even more horrible tragedy–potentially letting criminals know which households have the means to defend themselves if they are robbed.

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