Resurfacing after Judge Barbara Bellis of Connecticut Superior Court ruled in favor of the lawsuit against gun makers of Bushmaster XM15-E2S, the firearm that was used in Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre back in Dec. 14, 2012, is the 2005 heated debate of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. This is a federal law that has been passed by the congress to protect manufacturers of guns from lawsuits associated with the use of their weapons. This law reinforces the claims of those who are in the industry of making these deadly weapons that such lawsuits are a form of abuse of the current legal system in the country.
Image courtesy the The_Gun_Gurup
This news brings good and bad news to the families of the departed and to Remington Arms, respectively. While the lawyers of 9 of the 20 first graders who have been shot and 6 teachers felt justice over the ruling, the lawyers of the gun makers are yet to issue a statement. Remington Arms is the parent company of the actual gun maker of the rifle in question, Bushmaster Firearms. Aside from the 26 who have been killed in school on that fateful day, 20 years old Adam Lanza also killed his mother who is the legal owner of the semi-automatic rifle.
Lawsuit vs. Remington Arms moves forward
In the decision of the honorable Judge Bellis, she countered that while Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 shield gun makers from any abuse that can be inflicted by victims of criminal acts that use the weapons they have made, it does not prevent the families of the victims from the basic notion that Bushmaster XM15-E2S is primarily for military applications. The semi-automatic rifle should have not been sold to civilians like Nancy Lanza, the mother of 20 year old Adam who went amok that resulted to killing 27 people plus himself when the police arrived.
Her court believes that such argument is best presented through a motion which can be done as the lawsuit progress. For that reason alone, she is ruling not to dismiss the victims’ families’ argument against Remington Arms.
Joshua Koskoff, one of the lawyers of the families who seek justice for the departed says that they are simply thrilled over the fact that the families they represent in the lawsuit can continue to fight for their right in court. He believes that they can surely present the facts that will unveil the standing responsibility of gun makers over the distribution and sale of their weapons without ‘hurting’ the federal law that keeps them protected from legal abuse.
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
PLCAA or the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was passed by the congress and reinforced to become a federal law in the United States. The main purpose of the law is to keep gun makers as well as dealers of the said weapons to being litigated for any kind of crime that may be committed with the use of their firearms. The law does not protect them from being liable over defects, criminal misconduct, and any other kind of actions that they are responsible of directly. The law does not also shield them if found that they have negligence or have any reason to learn that their product will actually be used to do a crime.
This law has been passed and submitted after a lot of gun makers went bonkers over numerous lawsuits over negligence to know that their products will be used to do crime. Among the most popular claims are state and federal suits including the 1998 Chicago Mayor Daley vs. gun makers and dealers, people of the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut vs gun companies, and Mayor Joseph Ganin. Facing unfathomable number of lawsuits in 2000, gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson then agreed to implement measures that will restrict dealers from selling firearms to everyone unless they pass a number of requirements. This was followed by New York’s affirmation to lawsuits for those dealers and manufacturers who do not comply with the control measures.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was signed in October 26, 2005 by then President George W. Bush. It received the public code 109-92, which the National Rifle Association called significant pro-gun legislation that eventually became a law after about twenty years. There had also been at least two more lawsuits after the pro-gun act that received court decisions – one in favor of the Alaska gun store where Jason Coday bought his gun and the other was $6 Million claims against gun dealer Badger Guns.
There had been a number of lawsuits that had been declined by the judicial branches around the country. Among these is the Lleto vs. Glock appeal by the infamous Los Angeles Jewish Community Center shooting and the dismissed lawsuit against Lucky Gunner vs Brady Center and the 2012 Aurora shootings victims. Ironically, the plaintiffs were ordered to pay off the gun dealer whom they accused and believed where the ammunitions were bought.
Twist of events
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut has sparked a new interest over the running Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, though. This may be due to the rising victims of shootouts by irresponsible civilians who eventually had access to firearms. A budding call to repeal the act is now on the foreground to give civilians, especially the victims or families of victims of ruthless and mindless killings the chance to achieve justice against negligent gun makers and dealers.
One notable exchange of beliefs over the act is the presidential elections of the country where Hillary Clinton bowed to repeal the law if elected. Bernie Sanders who have once been criticized by Ms. Clinton for favoring the law in 2005, defended gun makers saying that they cannot be held liable if their firearms landed in the hands of a murderer after selling it off to a responsible pro-gun citizen of the United States.