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April 30, 2008

Could an individually enforceable Second Amendment right impact debates over tort liability for guns?

200pxcatch22_cover The Second Circuit today issued a split opinion in City of New York v. Beretta, No. 05-6942 (2d Cir. April 30, 2008) (available here) concerning a civil suit against gun manufacturers.  Though the ruling is far afield from core sentencing issues, the decision returns me to my speculation that a pro-gun ruling in the Heller Second Amendment case could change not just the law, but also the politics, surrounding a variety of gun issues, including manufacturer liability. 

Notably, this issue came up during the Q&A in a presentation I gave a few nights ago as part of the wonderful Hoffinger Criminal Justice Colloquium at NYU School of Law.  That presentation, which I titled "The Second Amendment and the Plate Tectonics of Constitutional Criminal Law," developed some of the Second Amendment and sentencing themes I have developed in a number of prior posts.  I am not sure how this Beretta ruling fits into my thinking; it is notable that there is no Heller talk in the decision, though the dissent notably cites the Joseph Heller classic Catch-22.  Also notable are a variety of federal/state and civil/criminal issues developed in all the Beretta opinion.  I was stressing both the importance and volatility of these constitutional "fault lines" in my NYU talk.

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April 30, 2008 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

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