NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, applauded the Supreme Court for refusing to hear Remington Arms Co.’s appeal to block a lawsuit filed by families whose loved ones were shot and killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School. This ruling has major implications on the scope of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which the NRA called the “most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years” at the time of its passage.
“Gun manufacturers throughout the country should be on notice that they’ll need to answer for their reckless business practices in the courts,” said Eric Tirschwell, Managing Director of Litigation and National Enforcement Policy of Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “This reaffirms that the gun industry is not above the law and that the families of the Sandy Hook victims will have their day in court.”
For nearly forty years, gun manufacturers have had a special exemption from regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the government has been unable to provide the same oversight for firearms that they provide for every other consumer product.
In 2005, the gun lobby took this special exemption further by urging the passage of PLCAA. The law provides broad immunity from many civil lawsuits for gun manufacturers. With immunity from the law, gun makers have ignored downstream impacts of their business practices, including gun trafficking and irresponsible gun marketing practices.
However, the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Sandy Hook lawsuit to proceed shows that the gun industry is not beyond accountability. In fact, Everytown is currently suing another gun manufacturer, Jimenez Arms, for its role in facilitating a gun trafficking ring.