PLCAA Showdown at Connecticut Supreme Court

Connecticut Law Tribune: “Amicus Groups Try to Sway Conn. Supreme Court in Sandy Hook Hearing.” This is an area where gun control groups and ivory tower law professors would be smart not to push these kinds of absurd theories of negligent entrustment, and hopefully the Connecticut Supreme Court isn’t going to buy it either:

Thirteen law professors specializing in common-law torts discuss how negligent entrustment should apply to Remington and Bushmaster. The professors filed their brief to “provide the court with further direction regarding the common law foundation of the tort of negligent entrustment, including relevant scholarship and judicial decision.”

The brief’s co-author, Stanford University law professor Nora Freeman Engstrom, said negligent entrustment boils down to whether a defendant took adequate precautions. “And, here, the jury might ultimately find the defendant failed to take adequate precautions in their sale of military grade assault weapons to an untrained population,” according to the brief.

We left exceptions in PLCAA specifically so that dealers which violated the law, or who committed the actual tort of negligent entrustment, not this fanciful, bizarre tort being foisted by these law professors, may still be sued despite the general immunity provided by PLCAA. Under the theory proffered by those siding with the Plaintiffs, a tort would be created for any type of complex and potentially dangerous product, such as automobiles. Because drunks sometimes plow into school busses, Ford and its dealerships have to make a reasonable efforts not to sell cars to drunks. Why wouldn’t gas stations also have such a duty?

Currently under PLCAA, if someone walks into a gun dealer and says, “I’m really pissed off at my wife. Let me see that .357,” and the dealer sells it to him anyway, if he later kills his wife the family would still have a viable action against the dealer.

If the gun control crowd wins on these arguments, that selling an AR-15 to any civilian represents negligent entrustment because some people might do bad, evil, or stupid things with them, do you think we lack the political power and will to narrow PLCAA’s exceptions? The law is not a scalpel. Narrowing the exceptions to PLCAA will almost assuredly let some folks who ought to be open to suit gain immunity. But if the gun control groups win on this theory we will have no choice. I’d also expect a host of other industries who sell complex and potentially hazardous products to also start demanding immunity.


9 thoughts on “PLCAA Showdown at Connecticut Supreme Court”

  1. So what the fuzzbrained perfessers fail to understand, is that me and several million of my fellow veterans could simply present our various DD-214s or other Service records, which should all indicate suitable training with the M-16 and other arms.

    And so, we’d have a situation where the only “trained and qualified” segment of the population which could own “military grade” (yeah, right…where’s the giggle switch on mine, huh?) arms.

    Which “trained and qualified” population would tend to vote about, oh, 80% or thereabouts, directly in opposition to the aforementioned fuzzbrained perfessers, and their perfidious schemes?

    Their very argument would create the permit that they don’t want me to have.

    Of course though, they’d soon follow up with the requisite pretzel-logic by which to repudiate that, too.

    I find it appropriate to point at them and laugh, but simultaneously, make plans to thwart them their ilk at every turn.

    And no I DON’T WANT a privileged class of “DD-214” permits, either. Don’t mistake my rhetoric for advocacy thereof. I’m just illustrating the stupidity of said perfessers!

    Looks like it’s time to take a new batch of newbies to the range and generate some smiling, happy, fun-having pro-gun converts!

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

    1. “Which ‘trained and qualified’ population would tend to vote about, oh, 80% or thereabouts, directly in opposition to the aforementioned fuzzbrained perfessers”

      First let me say I sincerely hope you are correct in your assessment of our fellow veterans. But, my observations of human nature suggest that anyone holding a “special” status, often tends to covet it, and usually prefers at some level that their situation remain exclusionary — though it is difficult to get them to admit that.

      I have watched that work in particular with concealed carry permits, with many permit holders regarding their permit as being a badge of their status as a Real Gunnie. Those types don’t seem to be really offended (here in Pennsylvania) by suggestions that the qualification process be made more exclusionary, for example, by the addition of a training requirement; and I have known gun rights activists who would give public lip-service to desiring constitutional carry, while privately expressing reservations and objections to the concept.

      One such would often boast proudly of how his county sheriff had presented him with his carry permit as a present on his 21st birthday. I’m not sure anyone ever pointed out to him that his sheriff pal had violated the law by violating the codified application process. I wouldn’t have reminded him, because he clearly reveled in his own specialness.

      1. As a PA resident, the only way that I would EVER accept any sort of training requirement would be as part of a 3-tier constitutional carry bill:

        * Constitutional carry of any defensive article without restriction (i.e. carrying a defensive tool is not a crime, and anyone can do it regardless of where they’re from) or training requirement;

        * Current LTCF for reciprocity when traveling, without any training requirement; and

        * New “Enhanced” LTCF with training, specifically for expanded reciprocity.

        The ONLY reason I would consent to this is that there are a handful of states that do not have reciprocity with PA specifically because our LTCF has no training requirement. It would be nice to be able to carry in places like SC and DE on a PA LTCF.

  2. Has anyone considered:

    Connecticut had already determined what firearms were assault ‘weapons’ and had banned them. The Bushmaster used at Newtown was compliant with the Connecticut ban and thus was not an assault weapon under Connecticut law. The definition was changed after Newtown, but holding Bushmaster to the later definition is “ex post facto” in spirit if not in law.


    The suit alleges that Bushmaster should know that a semiauto rifle that accepts 30 round magazines is not suitable for sale to civilians. However, for many years (while supplies lasted) the United States government (DCM) sold semiauto rifles that accept 30 round magazines (M1 Carbine) to civilians, including those in Connecticut.. How can Bushmaster be penalized for doing the same thing that the US government did at the behest of our elected representatives?

  3. You guys missed the basic flaw in the argument: this ‘untrained person’ accomplished his goal and killed twenty some people. Why in God’s name should training have anything to do with the sale of an AR-15? This 16 year old kid did just fine (relatively speaking) with no training what so ever.

    Would the sale of the same gun to the same mentally deranged kid, but with training, have ended with a different outcome? Doubtfully. More likely the pile of bodies would have been a little bit larger.

    1. Training?

      Oh no, the anti-gunners don’t mean training training. They mean training in the political sense, trained by Commissars to be proper and obedient armed servants of The Party.


    2. The purpose of mandatory training is that it serves as a financial barrier. That’s it. The notion that it is somehow about “public safety” is nothing but a fig leaf.

      In that way, it is fundamentally the same as the “literacy tests” and “poll taxes” that were used to disenfranchise many southern voters following the war between the states.

      1. “The purpose of mandatory training is that it serves as a financial barrier…”

        I’d suggest (and only suggest, because I’m white) that it also provides a cultural barrier, because it implies having to submit oneself to the judgment of another culture, and possibly to expose oneself to law enforcement personnel, who are not trusted.

        But primarily I object because it is one more prior restraint on a fundamental constitutional (and human) right. Would we accept being required to take English Comp 101 before we could write a letter-to-the-editor, or a World Religions course before we were permitted to choose a church to attend, or PoliSci before we were allowed to vote?

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