The Next Big Vote on Gun Control May Be in the Supreme Court

After this weekend’s mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, pressure to reform gun laws has focused on Congress—and, as usual, Congress seems stymied about what to do. But with far less attention, an important strand of the debate has now landed in the Supreme Court.

Last week, the gun-maker Remington, which had annual sales of approximately $600 million in 2017, asked the Supreme Court to overturn a Connecticut decision that gave Sandy Hook families the ability to sue the company over the way it marketed the weapon used in the 2012 school massacre.

The ability to bring suits against gun manufacturers would give American citizens a powerful tool to hold gun-makers liable for the damage their weapons cause—much as cigarette companies were vulnerable to suits for the harms of tobacco. It’s not clear whether John Roberts’ court will take the case, and if it does, whether it will side with the families or uphold protections that gun-makers have enjoyed since the Bush administration.

At issue is a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which gives gun manufacturers and dealers immunity from the vast majority of lawsuits that could be brought as a result of crimes committed with their firearms. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called it “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years.”

He was right that the law would be a boon to gun manufacturers and dealers. Federal appeals courts in New York and California concluded that the law precluded lawsuits under New York and California law. Federal courts in D.C. and Colorado—along with state courts in Alaska, Illinois and Missouri—also held that the law barred suits against the gun industry.

 Read more at Politico

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