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Scholarship Highlight: Recent Articles on Gun Violence Prevention

By on July 2, 2021 Categories: ,

A few new articles on firearms law have recently been published. Check them out below.

  • Nancy Dodson, To End Gun Violence Against Children, the Firearms Industry Must Be Held Accountable, Hum. Rts., 2021

From the Introduction:

The United States is the only developed country where children are routinely killed by a gun. They have been killed while doing the most normal activities of childhood: running on a playground, jumping on a bed, searching through their parents’ closet, doing their homework, walking home after school, talking with friends in a park, sitting in a church pew, sitting in a high school cafeteria, sitting in their car seats.

The United States is also the only developed country where children routinely die by gun suicide. More so than with adults, young people’s moments of suicidality are fleeting–lasting minutes or hours rather than days or weeks– but access to highly lethal firearms in a moment of crisis allows them no moment to reconsider or call for help.

When we think of children dying from guns, we often think of school shootings. When homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings are taken together, the children killed each year would fill 170 classrooms.

  • Ariel J. Romero, “Some Days It’s Tough Just Getting’ Up”: How the Current Civil and Criminal Legal Remedies Fail to Protect Mass Shooting Victims, 24 Chap. L. Rev. 529 (2021)

From the Introduction (footnotes omitted):

On October 1, 2017 at 10:01 pm, the sound of gunfire rang out. Thousands of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas initially mistook these sounds of gunfire for fireworks popping off in the distance. One of those people was me. By the time my mind realized what the sounds were not, it was too late. I had been shot in the face with a hollow point bullet from an AR-15. It entered my right cheek, exploded inside my jaw, and exited the back of my neck. A choice to sing and dance near the front of the concert stage that night was one that gave rise to ten excruciating minutes of gruesome sights and horrific sounds that will never leave me.

At the time of the attack, I was a twenty-three-year-old woman, unknowledgeable about guns, uninformed of their history, ignorantly indifferent to the gun debate in our society, uneducated about the rights of victims of gun violence, and completely unaware of what gunfire sounded like. Now, gunfire is a sound I cannot and will not forget. It plays on a continual loop in my head almost every single day, blasting against the backdrop of the lyrics playing when a loved one and I were shot: “Some days it’s tough just gettin’ up.” Those Jason Aldean lyrics became the soundtrack to a new reality for me: I now live in a world where I survived, and she did not. Witnessing the carnage of mass murder, fighting for a renewed will to live, and continuing to survive through trauma inspired this Article.

This Article proposes amending United States laws dealing with rights and remedies for victims who survive mass shootings. … Further, this Article proposes concepts that, if implemented, would prevent further victimization of mass shooting victims. In the civil context, it includes offering various non-monetary remedies to victims. In the criminal context, it includes implementing measures for sufficient follow-through with victims in addition to creating a domestic terrorism federal cause of action for more accountability and equity. When civil and criminal remedies overlap, this Article recommends streamlining the civil and criminal procedures for victims to manageably navigate.

Part II of this Article provides a short history of mass shootings and the relevant law pertaining to victims’ civil and criminal remedies. Part III and IV separately discuss the deficiencies in civil and criminal remedies, including their failure to address the psychological and emotional injuries suffered by mass shooting victims, and briefly proposes various non-monetary solutions for victims. In the civil context, this Article recommends: allowing victims the opportunity for catharsis, advocacy, and reputational harm, forbidding non-disclosure clauses in settlement agreements with victims of mass shootings, and tolling statutes of limitation for mass shooting victims. In the criminal context, this Article recommends: enacting private victim compensation funds specifically for victims of mass shootings and stronger enforcement of codified victims’ rights. Part V highlights the civil and criminal remedies’ overlap and its legal implications, and proposes a stronger interdisciplinary approach to victims’ rights by recognizing all mass shootings as acts of domestic terrorism, thereby creating a federal domestic terrorism cause of action. Part VI concludes.