Gun Store Liability
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Can a Gun Store Face Criminal Charges?
If a gun is used in a violent crime to kill or injure people, is it possible for the owner of the gun store to be charged with a crime?
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is a federal law that restricts the charges gun dealers and manufacturers can face in response to gun crimes. Although there has been some debate about increasing liability for gun store owners and manufacturers, a gun store currently cannot receive criminal charges for simply legally selling a gun that is later used in a gun crime.
Can a Gun Store Face Civil Charges?
Gun control laws allow people who have been injured to file liability civil suits for a number of potential reasons.
- Defective products: A gun store or product manufacturer can be held liable if their products misfired or went off accidentally as a result of a product defect.
- Breach of contract, warranty, or customer product liability: If a gun injury occurs as a result of a manufacturer’s or seller’s failure to fulfill the terms of a legal contract, warranty, or customer product liability law, the injured party can bring a civil suit to recover damages for medical bills, mental duress, and pain and suffering incurred.
- Negligence: If a gun store sells a fun knowing that the owner plans to use it in a crime, or if owners violate other gun laws, the store or store owner can be sued for negligence.
Which Laws Protect Gun Stores?
The PLCAA is part of federal code and located at 15 USC §§ 7901-7903. It protects gun stores from being sued by the families of victims injured or killed in gun violence crimes. High profile shootings such as the ones that occurred in Colorado and Connecticut brought the issue of gun possession into the public discourse.
Families of the victims proposed repealing the PLCAA in order to allow civil suits to proceed against gun stores when a weapon sold in a store is used in a violent crime, but as of spring 2016, the law is still in place.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you are a gun store owner who is being sued because of a weapon sold in your store, you should speak with an attorney right away. A lawyer can help advise you of your rights and represent you during settlement negotiations or in court.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 05-31-2016 11:56 AM PDT
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