The federal statute limiting civil liability for the gun industry is “repugnant to the Constitution of the United States,” a Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled in a sweeping decision holding that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act cannot be enforced and allowing the family of a teen killed in an accidental shooting to sue companies involved in the manufacture and sale of the gun.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court on Monday said the federal law, which all but eliminates liability claims for the gun industry, violates principles of federalism outlined in the 10th Amendment and that the U.S. Congress had no authority under the Commerce Clause to enact the law. The lawsuit, Gustafson v. Springfield, brought negligence and strict liability claims against gun maker Springfield Armory and Saloom Department Store, which sold the handgun involved in the fatal shooting.
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