The Loophole Behind Why Families of Sandy Hook Victims Sue Bushmaster and others

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‘Negligent Entrustment.’ The families of Sandy Hook Victims are suing Bushmaster and others…WTAF?

from our firearms lawyer friend Adam K…

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This editorial opinion sponsored by the belt-making badasses at Ares Gear. It might not reflect their opinion, but it does demonstrate their intention to bring you important stuff to think about!

It’s like living in the legal twilight zone sometimes. Some guy somewhere concocted some legal theory, which allows an individual (or individuals) to sue a company for something that the company had nothing directly to do with. On December 13, 2014 several estates of individuals who were killed at Sandy Hook sued not only Bushmaster, but a company that distributes Bushmaster products as well as the gun shop that sold the rifle to Ms. Lanza.

Now I know what you’re thinking. That’s bullshit. How can someone sue a gun manufacturer for producing a gun and be liable when someone else used it in an unlawful manner? Well, most of the time they couldn’t thanks to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005; most of the time.

That act prohibits qualified civil liability actions, which are defined as “a civil action…against a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product…for damages, punitive damages…restitution, fines, or penalties, or other relief, resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the person or third party…”

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In layman’s terms it prevents the victim of gun violence from suing the manufacturer or seller of the gun for damages they received as a victim of a criminal act or unlawful misuse of the gun. So far so good, right? Congress was nice enough to carve out six specific exemptions in the statute, which includes “an action brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se…” This exception is why the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act may not help Bushmaster.

Negligent entrustment is defined in the statute as “…supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.” The result of Bushmasters attempts to use this statute to defend itself remains to be seen. I’ll keep my eye on it as it unfolds.

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Here are some snips from the complaint that will most likely leave you with some elevated blood pressure levels…

The complaint in its introduction alleges “the number of lives lost in those 264 seconds was made possible by the shooter’s weapon of choice: a Bushmaster AR-15…” It goes on to state “The AR-15 was designed as a military weapon, and it has always excelled on the battlefield…..was engineered to deliver maximum carnage with extreme efficiency.”

“Has little utility for legitimate civilian purposes. The rifle’s size and overwhelming firepower….are in fact liabilities in home defense.”

In a section entitled “THE GUN”, the complaint alleges the, “…Bushmaster XM15-E2S is essentially indistinguishable from its military sibling, the M16. Both weapons are designed for mass casualty assaults. Both share design features of exceptional muzzle velocity, the ability to accommodate large-capacity magazines, and effective rapid fire.”

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“…’Call of Duty’ exposes players to intensely realistic tactical scenarios and teaches assaultive weapon techniques such as ‘taped reloads’, which allow high capacity magazines to be taped together to reduce reloading time.”

And I’ll leave you with this last gem which is found under subsection D. “A ‘Civilian’ Weapon with no Legitimate Civilian Purpose” under the Self-Defense heading…(emphasis added)

“There is no evidence that semiautomatic rifles are commonly used for, or necessary for, legitimate self-defense by law abiding citizens.”

I, for one, will continue to keep my AR-15 by my bedside. I suspect many of you will as well.

The complaint can be found at: http://documents.latimes.com/lawsuit-behalf-sandy-hook-shooting-victims/

And don’t worry, there is plenty more in there to raise your blood pressure.

If you’re interested, you can read what Adam had to say about the Darren Wilson grand jury decision here at this link.

Mad Duo, Breach-Bang & CLEAR!

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