In 1999, Furrow brought at least seven guns into a Jewish center in Granada Hills and wounded three children, a teenager, and an adult. He later shot and filled Joseph Ileto, 39.
The opinion written by Judge Susan Graber is based on The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act 2005, a law passed by Congress to protected federally licensed gun manufacturers and sellers from liability for criminals’ shootings. This lawsuit was expressly cited by sponsors as part of the motivation for the new law.
The lawsuit claimed that Glock made more guns than they could sell on the legitimate market with the intention of selling the remainder on the “secondary market” where criminals often buy their guns.
While I find the basis of the lawsuit questionable, they did have an interesting argument that the case fell into an exception where a company knowingly violates another state or federal weapons-related law.
In dissent, Judge Marsha Berzon objected to the retroactive effect of the lawsuit, a legitimate concern. Congress is increasingly acting to block pending cases in favor of powerful lobbies. Even under a rational basis test, Judge Berzon rejects the claim of the defendant:
The majority resolves this question by concluding that the PLCAA’s mandatory dismissal provision is rationally related to a legitimate government interest and that no heightened level of constitutional scrutiny is warranted. The majority’s cursory discussion of the constitutional issue belies the
sweeping nature of what it reads the PLCAA to do, and the difficult questions of constitutional law required to uphold that reading. Neither the Supreme Court nor this Circuit has ever made clear that rational basis review is the proper standard on which to review a federal statute that retroactively requires the dismissal of pending causes of action for injuries cognizable at common law but does not leave any alternative means of redress. Moreover, even if we were to assume that
no heightened level of scrutiny is appropriate, I am not convinced that such a statute would survive the rational basis review outlined by the Supreme Court in Duke Power Co. v.
Carolina Envtl. Study Group, 438 U.S. 59 (1978).
For the full story, click here.
Here is the opinion 06-56872.