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Von Lossberg v. State: State Liability for Gun Suicides & the Background Check System

Posted by on June 8, 2022

The Idaho Supreme Court recently held that the state could be held liable in a wrongful death action for negligently failing to add a name to the database used in gun purchase background checks.  In Von Lossberg v. State, the parents of a young man who committed suicide with a gun sued the state, the […]

A Fascinating New Case on Parking Lot Laws

Posted by on April 22, 2022

In a remarkably interesting decision issued a few weeks back, a federal district court in Kentucky declined to dismiss a lawsuit for wrongful discharge based on Kentucky laws that forbid employers from taking adverse action against employees who store guns in their cars in the company’s lot. In Sheard v. Novo Nordisk, Inc., No. 3:20-CV-152-BJB […]

A New Call to Arms: Rewriting Second Amendment Threats

Posted by on April 13, 2022

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), codified at 15 U.S.C. § 7901 et seq., has nearly banished the specter of civil liability for covered gun industry entities. PLCAA was predicated on the claim that gun industry actors, including firearm manufacturers and sellers, were under siege from baseless lawsuits founded on novel legal […]

Public Nuisance Liability and the Irrelevance of the Second Amendment

Posted by on April 12, 2022

1. Introduction In 2005, the U.S. Congress bestowed on gun makers and sellers broad immunity from civil lawsuits by enacting the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). Congress explicitly based this immunity on the need to protect Second Amendment rights, pitting defenders of those rights against victims of criminal gun violence seeking to […]

The Road to The Sandy Hook Settlement

Posted by on April 8, 2022

Over a recent five week period, $430 million was awarded to victims of gun violence in court cases:  a federal judge in Texas ordered the Air Force to pay $230 million to victims of the Sutherland Springs church shooting; the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to pay $127 million to victims of the Parkland High […]

Guns and Banks: New Laws & Policies

Posted by on April 7, 2022

When gun manufacturers or dealers face civil liability for misuse of firearms, the liability costs eventually shift to investors (shareholders or owners), liability insurers, commercial lenders, or creditors (the debts they own now carry more risk), and indirectly to future customers, who may face price increases. Financial institutions (which I will call “banks,” though this […]

Does the Threat of Tort Liability Unduly Burden the Right to Bear Arms?

Posted by on April 6, 2022

When it passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) in 2005, Congress viewed the prospect of at least some forms of civil liability as a threat to the rights secured by the Second Amendment. In treating the right to keep and bear arms as one enjoyed by individuals and that would operate […]

Essays from Privatizing the Gun Debate Conference

Posted by on April 1, 2022

On March 18th, the Center hosted a conference at the law school on Privatizing the Gun Debate. We were grateful to be joined by a dozen scholars, practitioners, and public officials to discuss the ways that firearms are increasingly being regulated outside legislative channels through actions like tort lawsuits and business policies. The keynote address was deliver […]

Stronger than PLCAA: Civil Immunity for Unlawful Conduct

Posted by on March 4, 2022

The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is in the news lately, due in large part to the recent settlement between the now-bankrupt Remington Arms and the families of the Sandy Hook victims. I recently wrote about how I see that case as a turning point in gun litigation, with more potential […]

Privatizing the Gun Debate – Conference at Duke Law on March 18th

Posted by on February 16, 2022

We are very excited to announce that the Center will be hosting a conference at Duke Law School on Friday, March 18th on the theme Privatizing the Gun Debate. The conference will explore the ways in which private actors are increasingly taking on a major role in the gun debate. These actors participate not just […]

Government Faces Massive Civil Liability for Sutherland Springs Mass Shooting

Posted by on February 9, 2022

In a significant ruling on civil liability for gun-related fatalities, a federal trial court this past week ordered the federal government to pay more than $230 million to families and victims of the 2017 Sutherland Springs mass shooting. The survivors and their kin sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging that the Air Force’s […]

Gun Industry Tort Shields and DOJ’s Defense of Congressional Enactments

Posted by on October 27, 2021

In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). That law provides fairly robust protection for most gun industry actors (e.g., manufacturers and dealers) when a firearm is used by a third party to cause harm. There’s a fair debate to be had about whether most of the lawsuits that PLCAA […]

PLCAA’s Constitutionality: Gustafson v. Springfield

Posted by on August 25, 2021

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Superior Court sitting en banc heard oral arguments in Gustafson v. Springfield Inc., et al. This is a rehearing en banc in a case in which the original appellate panel became the first court (at least of which I am aware) to declare the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) […]

Upcoming Conference on Firearms Litigation

Posted by on November 25, 2020

On December 1st, the Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law is hosting what will be a very fascinating conference: Firearms Litigation: Liability, Regulation, and the Constitution. We are delighted to team up with the Center on Civil Justice and co-cosponsor the event with the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at […]

“The Gun Subsidy”—A New Approach to Combating Gun Violence

Posted by and on May 28, 2020

After Columbine, Aurora, Newtown, Las Vegas, Orlando, and nearly 40,000 gun deaths annually—with no meaningful legislative reform in sight—it has become abundantly clear that a new approach to gun violence is needed. Combating gun violence has become politically polarized, constitutionalized, and an object of pessimism and despair. The answer, we believe, is changing political incentives […]

Torts, Insurance, and Mass Shootings

Posted by on February 28, 2020

After the Supreme Court refused to halt a state tort claim by Sandy Hook plaintiffs against a gun manufacturer last November, debate over tort liability for gunmakers and sellers is getting a lot of attention, with  experts increasingly weighing in on these types of lawsuits. To help inform the public, the Center is hosting a […]

New Decision in a (Very) Old Case: City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp

Posted by on December 13, 2019

On November 26, the Indiana Supreme Court denied review in an important case regarding tort liability for gun manufacturers and the Protection for Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA): City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp. The latest ruling leaves in place a Court of Appeals decision from last May, which in turn means […]

SCOTUS Watch: Daniel v. Armslist, LLC

Posted by on September 13, 2019

In 2012, Zina Daniel Haughton obtained a restraining order against her husband after he threatened to kill her. This restraining order prohibited the husband from possessing a firearm. Nonetheless, a few days later he posted a want ad on armslist.com seeking to buy a gun. He found a willing seller, arranged a meeting in a […]

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