Suit seeks to blame Newtown school massacre on gun suppliers

The new lawsuit by the prominent Connecticut personal-injury firm of Koskoff, Koskoff, and Bieder [news coverage: WSJ Law Blog, CNN] seeks to get around the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act by latching on to the law’s narrow exception for “negligent entrustment.” That’s not a reasonable reading of the law, and I argue in a new post at Cato at Liberty that courts should toss attempts like these to revive gun control through litigation, all the more so because legislative attempts to overturn PLCAA (as I discussed last year) are rightfully going nowhere.

Some out there seem to think it’s okay to use litigation as a way of lashing out against opponents, whether by way of a winning case or not:

More: “The Sandy Hook Families’ Lawsuit Against Bushmaster Will Fail. Here’s Why.” [Bob Adams, Bearing Arms] And Eugene Volokh’s analysis breaks down the provisions of PLCAA and its interaction with the specifics of Connecticut law, concluding that “unless there is some evidence that the defendant manufacturers and gun sellers in this case violated some specific gun regulations (judgments actually made by legislatures), plaintiffs’ claim will go nowhere — and rightly so, I think.” Yet more: Steve Chapman.


  • I don’t find the plaintiffs’ theory at all convincing, but I do not find it to be so meritless that it should not have been filed. I realize that some impact litigation is motivated primarily by the need for social solidarity. When litigation becomes a way of saying, “here’s who I like and here’s who I dislike,” we’ve lost an essential element of the rule of law. But we must also preserve the ability of the aggrieved to test the limits of a statute.

  • @John Steele,

    “But we must also preserve the ability of the aggrieved to test the limits of a statute.”

    Sure, if there is a legitimate grievance, but the plaintiffs in this case don’t have one.

  • Agreed. And the plaintiffs should be financially liable for the defense costs when it’s tossed. How much extra did you pay for your car to cover the nuisance litigation expenses? Damn auto companies…

  • In answer to your question, HFB, several % of the MSRP on average. More if your car was inexpensive, less if it was not. Jury verdict on the personal injury/products liability don’t seem to take the cost of the car into account, and attorney fees for the plaintiff dwarf the recovery in warranty suits.

  • CarLitGuy…right?!

    I pay several percent for the fact that some guy drunk and driving recklessly can’t navigate a 20 mph curve at 80 and the car doesn’t wrap him up in an all-protecting stasis field. He gets injured (Duh!!) and so he sues. Win or lose, we pay for his folly.

    I’m sure glad we pay for all these little fishing expeditions so that we “preserve the ability the aggrieved to test the limits of a statute.”

    Yay! Group hug…kumbaya…vomit…