Gun dealers’ liability for crimes

by Walter Olson on December 20, 2005

Despite the enactment of the federal pre-emption bill, some politicians, like New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, are still pushing the idea:

Gun dealers could be held liable if they sell weapons that are later used to commit a crime under an Assembly proposal that’s under fire by gun-rights proponents.

The measure’s chances for passage are considered remote, though. (Heather Yakin and John Milgrim, “Gun dealers balk at proposal to hold them liable”, Middletown, N.Y. Times Herald-Record, Dec. 20).

{ 3 comments }

1 Moe Levine 12.20.05 at 2:35 pm

Given that a very conservative federal court of appeals, not a state court, held that there can be aiding and abetting liability for selling a book on how to use a gun to commit a murder, I am hard pressed to see your point.

If I walk into a gun store asking to buy a firearm so that I can rob a bank, who has problems with liability? No one, to my knowledge.

What difference does it make that the knowledge of my plan is circumstantial, as long as the gun dealer has a pretty good reason to know what I am about?

2 Walter E. Wallis 12.20.05 at 3:17 pm

Why not sue the teacher who taught the crook how to read the book that taught him how to use a gun?

3 Moe Levine 01.06.06 at 12:36 am

Walter wonders, Why not sue the teacher who taught the crook how to read the book that taught him how to use a gun?

Walter, its really pretty simple, legally and morally. The teacher doesn’t know/have reason to know what the reader will do with the skill. Morally, it comes straight from the Bible–having a duty to prevent injury to our fellow humans

Comments on this entry are closed.