Recently, a Milwaukee jury awarded $5.7 million dollars to two police officers who were seriously injured by a firearm purchased at a Milwaukee gun shop. The jury found that the clerk who sold the weapon knowingly violated the the law by selling the gun to an obvious straw buyer, thus subjecting the gun dealer to liability under an exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). A similar suit is currently under way against a pawn shop in Odessa, Missouri. That case involves shop that sold a firearm to Colby Sue Weather, a now 41-year-old mentally ill woman, who used the gun to kill her father. The plaintiff contends that PLCAA is unconstitutional.
Professor Timothy Lytton is quoted in The Trace’s Oct. 20 article “The Other Breed of Bad Gun Dealer: The Kind that Just Doesn’t Care” stating that this forthcoming 2016 case, delves into “largely uncharted territory” as no court has held PLCAA to be unconstitutional.
Timothy D. Lytton is a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law with expertise in the public policy implications of tort litigation. He is the editor of Suing the Gun Industry: A Battle at the Crossroads of Gun Control and Mass Torts (2005).