Can I Sue a Gun Shop for Selling a Gun that is Used to Kill My Spouse?
Most personal injury cases are based on negligence. Negligence just means that someone didn’t act the way they were supposed to. For example, in a slip and fall case, a store may be held negligent for not keeping their floors dry. Or a daycare worker could be held negligent for letting children play with dangerous chemicals.
When it comes to gun accidents, however, the rules are a bit different. For the most part, you can’t sue a gun shop for negligence. You can’t sue a gun manufacturer either. This is because there is a law that protects them from personal injury claims.
The Protection of Lawful Consumer in Arms Act (PLCCA) protects gun shop owner from liability if a customer uses one of their guns to hurt someone. So, if someone buys a gun at a shop and then kills someone in a robbery, you can’t sue the gun shop owner.
The law was passed in 2005. And, since then, there have only been a handful of cases that have proceeded to court. This is because the PLCCA provides immunity to gun shop owners in 99% of personal injury cases.
Your Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta is Familiar with the PLCCA
Not only does the PLCCA protect gun shop owners and manufacturers from liability. It also bans people from filing suit against these people. The law prohibits suits from being files for damages resulting from any criminal or unlawful acts carried out with a gun.
Now, the law doesn’t prevent you from suing for things like breach of warranty. However, it’s not a breach of warranty issue that’s going to kill your loved one. It’s a criminal act.
If you do attempt to file suit against a gun manufacturer or shop owner, the law actually allows for you to be fined up to $200,000. That’s how strong the immunity is under the law.
For the most part, nobody has been able to file suit against these defendants since 2005. There have been a few exceptions.
- Lawsuit filed in Milwaukee where two police officers were shot and injured by straw buyer
- In Kansas, a woman was able to sue a shop owner who let her husband use his grandmother to fill out the background check information. Her husband later used the gun to kill her 8-year old son
- Missouri Supreme Court recently held that woman could file suit for the death of her husband. She had called and warned the shop owner not to sell her daughter a gun. Her daughter was suffering from mental illness and had threatened to kill herself. The store ignored the woman’s advice and sold the woman the gun. She went home and killed her father.
These cases represent the only three cases in the country that have allowed plaintiffs to sue a gun show owner.
The courts in all three held that the cases were not based on negligence. They were based on something called negligent entrustment.
Your Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta Knows What Negligent Entrustment Is
There isn’t a huge difference between negligence and negligent entrustment. The law really only applies to people who sell or handle dangerous products. These people are held to a much higher standard.
For gun shop owners, the law does give them permission to deny to sell a gun to anyone, for any reasons. So, if a store is told that someone is dangerous or is going to use the gun to hurt someone, they don’t have to sell them a gun or bullets.
The difference between negligence and negligent enforcement has to do with foreknowledge. If you are made aware (or should be aware) that someone’s going to use a gun do hurt someone, you should not sell them a gun.
The law applies whether the potential buyer wants to use the gun to hurt someone else or themselves. So, unless this special situation applies to your case, you won’t be able to file suit against the gun shop owner.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia
If your loved one is the victim of gun violence, you need to contact a personal injury attorney in Atlanta. Although the PLCCA may prevent you from filing suit against the gun shop owner, you do have other options.
Your personal injury attorney in Atlanta can help you file a claim against the person who shot your spouse. He can fight to get you justice.
Call and schedule your free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney in Atlanta today. And remember – you pay nothing until you settle your case.