June 22, 2022 – In the wake of the tragedies in Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo, New York, and countless other cities across the United States, there has been a renewed interest in holding gun manufacturers liable for their role in enabling these heinous crimes. However, the issue of gun manufacturer liability is far from clear, as traditional theories of product liability do not apply with the same force as they do to other products. However, given the dramatic increase in shootings and the fact that gun manufacturers are one of the few parties who can do anything to curb this violence, the door to holding a gun manufacturer liable for a shooting may be opening. Additionally, under existing law, gun makers and gun dealers can be held liable in certain situations where their products were used to inflict serious injury or death.
If you recently lost someone close to you in a shooting, nothing is ever going to bring back your loved one. No amount of money is going to change the fact that they were tragically ripped away from you. However, you may be able to use their memory to effect real societal change by pursuing a product liability lawsuit against a gun manufacturer. At the law firm of Console & Associates, P.C., we recognize that we cannot truly understand what your family is going through; however, we empathize with you and want to help you make a difference. Our team of personal injury lawyers is actively investigating product liability claims against gun manufacturers. As a part of our investigation, we are scheduling free consultations for those families who lost a loved one or were otherwise affected by a mass shooting. We can help you understand your rights and explain your legal options.
Product liability is a subset of personal injury cases that hold manufacturers liable for injuries caused by their products. Product liability claims generally fall into one of two categories: those involving defective products and those involving dangerous products containing insufficient warnings. Under either type of product liability case, a victim seeking to hold a manufacturer liable does not usually need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. Simply put, if a product is defective or fails to adequately warn consumers of the dangers posed by the product, the manufacturer can be held liable for any resulting injuries.
However, gun manufacturer liability is a different story. In 2005, following a number of lawsuits brought by individuals and municipalities attempting to hold gun makers liable for multiple instances of gun violence, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act provides broad protections to gun manufacturers, preventing government entities and victims of gun violence from pursuing claims against gun makers.
As a type of personal injury lawsuit, product liability claims allow injured parties to obtain financial compensation after being injured by a manufacturer’s product. However, product liability laws are not just about compensating injury victims and grieving families for harms that occurred in the past—they are also instrumental in encouraging companies to make safer products, better regulate existing products, and to adequately warn consumers about the dangers of a product. In other words, a company that knows it could be financially liable for any harm caused by its products is incentivized to ensure that its product is safe.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is a federal law that provides civil immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers under certain circumstances. The PLCAA was introduced into the Senate by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) on February 16, 2005, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2005.
In some situations, yes, gun manufacturers and gun dealers can be liable for injuries and deaths resulting from a mass shooting. While under the PLCAA, gun dealers and manufacturers have immunity from a lawsuit stemming from “criminal or unlawful misuse” of firearms or ammunition, the PLCAA contains numerous exceptions. If an exception is met, the PLCAA does not provide immunity to a gun manufacturer or dealer and victims of a shooting are able to sue them in a court of law. The exceptions to the PLCAA are:
If you recently lost a loved one in a mass shooting, you are not alone. Families across the country are grieving the losses of loved ones killed as a result of gun violence. In many cases, those carrying out these crimes obtained the guns used in the attacks illegally and potentially with knowledge of the company that sold them the weapon. At Console & Associates, P.C. we want to help your family pursue justice for everything you’ve been through. If you are interested in learning more about pursuing a product liability claim against a gun manufacturer or gun dealer, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney at Console & Associates, P.C. at 866-778-5500 or contact us online. We will attentively listen to your story, answer your questions, and offer you guidance about how you may be able to pursue a claim against the parties responsible for your losses.