Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ninth Circuit dismisses claim vs gun manufacturer

In 2005, Congress enacted The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits for injuries caused by people using guns for criminal activity. Part of the motivation for the bill came from a case filed by the victims of a shooting rampage by a white supremacist who brought at least seven guns into a Jewish center and severak children and adults. The lawsuit claimed that the defendant made more guns than they could sell on the legitimate market with the intention of selling the remainder on the “secondary market” where criminals often buy their guns. In other words, the plaintiffs alleged that the manufacturer marketed the guns knowing they would be used for criminal activity. The lawsuit survived for a long time after the adoption of the Act, but was finally dismissed, in a 2-1 opinion, by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In dissent, Judge Marsha Berzon objected to the retroactive effect of the Act, which allowed Congress to defeat a case that had been filed before the enactment of the Act. The full text of the opinion is available here. Thanks to Jonathan Turley for the information and links.

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