It seems like we have unintentional shootings involving youth happen almost daily.
Awful story out of Alabama. Guns are not toys and should always be treated as if they're loaded!
Umm, what???---NRA Floats Idea Of Kids Needing To Show Gun Proficiency "To Advance To The Next Grade"-- via @mmfa
BID on your chance to meet Megan Mullally backstage after a Broadway performance! #BidForBrady
Wow. Interesting piece on how lax gun laws and bad-apple gun dealers are helping fuel violence in Latin America.
Great editorial on the importance of including suicide in the conversations about gun safety.
We're happy to see California step up and make new handguns sold in the state safer!
Another tragic weekend in Chicago, that once again illustrates the need for commonsense regulations across the board.
Join Sandy and Lonnie as they say #NotOneMore! Text Not One More to 877-877!
It is disgusting that the corporate gun lobby thinks keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers is a bad thing

Articles by LAP Attorneys

Attorneys at the Legal Action Project (LAP) have published numerous articles promoting gun control laws and criticizing the arguments of gun rights advocates. The articles below represent a strong sample of such articles. The articles are organized by date in reverse chronological order.

In addition to the below articles, the attorneys at LAP also regularly author investigative reports highlighting specific issues in the fight against gun violence.

How to Bring a Successful Case Against Gun Manufacturers and Sellers and Avoid Dismissal Under the Federal Gun Industry Legal Shield Law by Daniel R. Vice

Courts have recognized that liability should be imposed on gun manufacturers and dealers whose negligence arms criminals with guns. In 2005, the gun lobby succeeded in enacting into law sweeping legal protections for gun dealers and manufacturers. While this new federal law is an unwarranted attempt to discriminate against gun violence victims, it has failed to shut the courthouse doors to all legitimate claims. This paper explains how to plead and litigate successful cases to hold gun dealers and manufacturers accountable for reckless conduct that arms dangerous criminals. Read the Complete Article (September 2008)

Self Inflicted Wounds: The D.C. Circuit on the Second Amendment by Dennis Henigan

In the Parker v. District of Columbia ruling, the D.C. Circuit Court adopted an expansive view of the Second Amendment right to arms that is at odds with the rulings of nine other federal circuits. This article's aim is to expose, in summary form, the most self-destructive flaws in the Parker analysis of the Second Amendment. Read the Article from George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Spring 2008)

The Case Against Guns on Campus by Brian J. Siebel

In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy on April 16, 2007, the gun lobby began to vigorously push for legislation that would prohibit colleges and universities from maintaining rules or regulations that bar students from carrying handguns on campus. This article stands as a counter to the gun lobbyists. Currently, college campuses are much safer than the communities that surround them. The presence of guns on campus will only serve to increase the level of violence. Read the Article from George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Spring 2008)

Dances with Guns by Dennis Henigan

From the pivotal District of Columbia v. Heller case, much is at stake for both pro-gun supporters and gun control advocates. This article details an interesting turn in the case, set to be heard in March 2008 before the Supreme Court. The Solicitor General, Paul Clement, of the Bush administration Department of Justice, has filed an amicus brief in support of the D.C. gun ban law. The article goes further to provide more background and insight into the legal implications of HellerRead the Article from Legal Times (January 28, 2008)

The Mythic Second: Constitutional Fantasy at the D.C. Circuit Should Not Destroy Our Nation's Gun Policies by Dennis Henigan

On Friday, March 9, the earth moved on the gun-control issue. For the first time in our nation's history, a federal appeals court struck down a gun law as a violation of the Second Amendment. With a 2-1 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Parker v. District of Columbia, the city's restrictive handgun law was held unconstitutional. And as a threat to gun regulation, the Second Amendment moved from rhetoric to reality. Read the Article from Legal Times (March 26, 2007)

Gun Industry Immunity: Why the Gun Industry's "Dirty Little Secret" Does Not Deserve Congressional Protection The Gun Industry's "Dirty Little Secret" by Brian J. Siebel

The gun industry has a "dirty little secret": It knows who the "bad apple" dealers are and could force them to reform or refuse to sell them guns, but gunmakers are unwilling to do so. Congress should protect the right of gun violence victims to have their claims heard in a court of law by declining to immunize an industry that profits from supplying the criminal gun market. Read the Article from UMKC Law Review, Vol. 73, No. 4(Summer 2005) Read the Article from The Recorder (October 2003)

Have the Assault-Weapons Ban and the Brady Law Helped to Prevent Crime? by Dennis Henigan

With the enactment of two federal firearms laws in 1993 and 1994, respectively, America finally began to see a decrease in gun violence. It seems highly likely that these new laws had a significant effect on this decrease. However, the question remains: What will happen to these gun laws, and gun control in general, under the new Bush administration? CQ Researcher, Vol. 14, No. 40 (November 12, 2004)

Blind Eye for Killers by Brian J. Siebel

During the trial of sniper John Muhammed in Virginia, one question lingered on everyone's mind: How he and his purported partner, Lee Boyd Malvo, got the assault rifle that was the instrument of their attacks? Or have you thought more generally about how felons and gang members can so easily get handguns, especially in a place like Washington, D.C., where the possession of handguns has been illegal since 1976? Well, the answer is they acquire them — using straw buyers or other methods to get around the Brady Law — from gun dealers outside the District who engage in risky business practicesLegal Times (October 2003)

Ashcroft's Bad Aim by Dennis Henigan

Attorney General John Ashcroft's change in the Justice Department's long-standing interpretation of the Second Amendment is weakening the Department's legal defense of gun laws against challenges made by criminal defendants charged with violating those laws. Legal Times (July 2002).

Gunning for Justice by Allen Rostron

In courts across the country, plaintiffs are demanding that the gun industry be held accountable for dangerous and irresponsible practices. The premise of the lawsuits is that gun manufacturers could design and distribute their products more safely and prevent many serious injuries and deaths. Trial (November 2001)

Marketing Handguns to Women: Fair Advertising or Exploitation? Guest Editorial by Sarah Brady

"Much has been written about the growing trend of women purchasing handguns for self-protection. What is often overlooked, however, is that this "trend," if in fact it is real, is not spontaneous. As with any product, when sales are down, producers look for a new market. Women have become the latest untapped market for gun manufacturers looking to boost sagging sales and for pro-gun organizations looking for new members." (2001)

The Case Against the Gun Industry by Brian J. Siebel

More than two years ago, New Orleans became the first city in the nation to file suit against the gun industry. Shortly thereafter, the city of Chicago and Cook County followed with a second lawsuit. The lawsuits struck an immediate chord with municipal and county officials across the United States, who have been facing widespread gun violence in their communities for years. Read the Article from Public Health Reports (Sept/Oct 2000)

Litigating Against Gun Manufacturers by Jonathan E. Lowy

The author explains the theories of liability which can be asserted against gun manufacturers, including legal precedents and arguments supporting claims under negligence, nuisance, and product liability. Read the Article from Trial (November 2000)

Our Second Amendment Rights Are Not Eroded - Our Understanding Of Them, However, Is by Rachana Bhowmik

This article confronts the public's misunderstanding of the meaning of the Second Amendment by examining the historical and legal underpinnings of the amendment. The author concludes that the Second Amendment does not provide individuals with unbridled rights to firearm ownership and the Second Amendment is no barrier to reasonable gun control measures, including licensing and registration. Church & Society Magazine, Vol. 90, No. 5 (May/June 2000)

Is Clinton Right in Showdown with NRA over Gun Control? by Allen Rostron

The NRA's recent claims about President Clinton willingly accepting shooting deaths to further his political agenda reveal the increasingly desperate lengths to which the NRA will go to shift attention away from the weaknesses of our gun laws and the vital need to strengthen them. Read the Article from Knight-Ridder newspaper syndication (April 2000)

City Lawsuits Against the Gun Industry: A Roadmap for Reforming Another Deadly Industry by Brian J. Siebel

The author provides a comprehensive analysis of the city lawsuits, including the legal theories and public policy justifications behind the litigation. The public costs of gun violence are substantial, and the city lawsuits provide an excellent vehicle for reform of this deadly industry. Using the New Orleans and Chicago lawsuits as models, the author provides a detailed description of the Major theories used by dozens of cities in their claims against the gun manufacturers. Read the Article from St. Louis University Public Law Review, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, 1999

Should Government Sue Gun Makers to Recover Costs? by Allen Rostron

Public housing authorities have compelling reasons to assert their legal rights against gun manufacturers in an effort to reduce danger and to recoup some of the billions of taxpayer dollars spent trying to protect residents. Read the Article from Knight-Ridder newspaper syndication (December 1999)

Litigating Accidental Shooting Cases Against Gunmakers: A Working Model by Jonathan E. Lowy

The article is designed to give insights to practitioners concerning basic theories of liability in the Under-litigated area of design defects in firearms. If guns were sold with basic safety features and adequate warnings, many shooting tragedies could be avoided. The author provides a practice brief outlining design defect claims against gun manufacturers. Read the Article from The Brief, Vol. 28 No. 3 (Spring 1999)

Should Cities Be Allowed to Sue Firearms Manufacturers? by Dennis Henigan

The industry should pay its fair share to treat victims of gun crimes and accidents. Product liability lawsuits serve to encourage gun manufacturers to increase product safety. However the National Rifle Association is consistently pushing legislation to ban cities from filing such lawsuits. Insight, Vol. 15, No. 15 (April 1999)

How firm a Constitutional right to bear arms? by Dennis Henigan

Briefly, this article discusses the text of the Second Amendment in regard to the right to bear arms. The article cites statements made by former Chief Justice Warren Burger to support its presumption.Washington Times (Jan. 1, 1998)

Does the Second Amendment Guarantee an Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms? by Dennis Henigan

Brief answer: No. Numerous judicial opinions recognize that the Second Amendment was expressly enumerated to apply to a "well regulated militia," and ensure the right of a militia to be armed to protect the people. An example chosen by the Supreme Court of such a militia is the National Guard. The constitutional debate on gun control laws for individual usage is a fallacy; the argument should be focused on public safety. Read the Article from CQ Researcher (December 19, 1997)

N.R.A. Should Not Rejoice: Brady Act Lives On by Dennis Henigan

Since its enactment, the Brady law has stopped handgun sales to 250,000 felons and other high risk gun buyers. Given its success, the Supreme Court decision that struck down the mandatory background check provision of Brady is not a victory for the anti-gun law advocates. Despite the Supreme Court decision, most police officers will continue to perform background checks, and the effectiveness of other gun laws has been left intact. Read the Article from National Law Journal (Summer 1997)

Sin Under Siege: The Legal Attack on Firearms, Tobacco & Gambling. Unsafe by Design: Using Tort Actions to Reduce Firearm-Related Injuries by Mark Polston and Doug Weil

Using the accidental shooting death of a minor by his fourteen-year-old friend as the starting point, the authors explain how civil liability can be imposed against both gun owners and gun manufacturers for unintentional shootings. Given that 61% of gun owners living with children keep at least one gun in an unlocked place, the imposition of civil liability against gun owners will lead to the safer storage of guns. Additionally, imposing civil liability on gun manufacturers for unintentional shootings will encourage the redesign of guns with safety features. Stanford Law & Policy Review, Vol. 8: 1 (Winter 1997)

Point and Counterpoint on Handgun Control by Brian J. Siebel

The epidemic proportions to which handgun violence has soared provides a compelling impetus for handgun control. Using handgun death statistics as a background, the author addresses the need to limit handgun access and make the storage and handling of handguns safer through proposed Brady II legislation. Read the Article from Communique (Sept. 1996)

Militias Misinterpret Constitution by Dennis Henigan

This article links the misinterpretation of the Second Amendment "as purportedly guaranteeing the right of private citizens to bear arms in opposition to a potentially tyrannical government" to the rise of paramilitary groups. The author traces this misinterpretation to NRA rhetoric and argues that violent opposition to the government, as envisioned by private militias and their supporters, is contrary to democratic principles. Read the Article from National Law Journal Vol. 17, No. 41 (June 12, 1995)

Civil Liability for High Risk Gun Sales: An Approach to Combat Gun Trafficking by Mark Polston

Federal and State laws licensing firearms transactions need bolstering to end gun trafficking and to stamp out the illegal gun market. The author illustrates how imposing tort liability on gun dealers for selling guns, knowing that such guns will end up on the illegal gun market, will reduce the rate of gun-related crimes. Read the Article from Seton Hall Legislative Journal, Vol. 19, #3 (1995)

Guns and the Constitution: The Myth of Second Amendment Protection For Firearms in America by Dennis Henigan

The seminal Second Amendment case of the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. v. Miller, held that the Constitutional right to bear arms is limited to the maintenance of a well-organized state militia. The author refutes the media and gun lobby perpetuation of the myth that there is a fundamental right to private ownership of firearms. Aletheia Press, Northampton, Mass. (1995)

Victims' Litigation Targets Gun Violence by Dennis Henigan

This article looks at the movement within the judiciary toward "fashioning a common law of accountability that recognizes that the inherent danger of firearms justifies a higher standard of conduct."This development has led to owner liability for improperly stored guns used in accidental shootings by minors, retailer liability for negligent or illegal gun sales, and manufacturer liability for the manufacture and sale of guns having no legitimate purpose that are used in crimes. Trial (Feb. 1995)

Obscuring the Second Amendment by M. Polston

The NRA embraces a myopic view of the history surrounding the Second Amendment's enactment, and misconstrues its text to provide a right for private gun ownership and a prohibition on gun control laws. The author demonstrates the errors in the key premises of an NRA-backed article by looking at case law and the Second Amendment's historical context. Virginia Resolves, Vol. 34, No. 32 (Spring 1994)

Suing Firearm Dealers for Gunshot Injuries – Liability Without Defect by Mark Polston

Federal, state and local laws provide attorneys with the prospect of successfully suing gun dealers for sales of non-defective guns where customers subsequently use the guns in crimes, suicides or negligent acts. The author examines several cases to demonstrate the viability of this approach to holding gun dealers liable for gun-related violence. Product Liability Law Reporter, Vol. 13 (July 1994)

Civil Liability of Firearms Dealer for Illegal Sale of Crime Gun, by J. Bonderman

Imposing liability on gun dealers for violating statutes baring sales of guns to minors and other prohibited persons based on negligence will change overall behavior of those involved in the industry.The author looks at several cases indicative of the trend toward imposing dealer liability when the sale is illegal or the foreseeability of harm is evident. CTLA Forum (June 1993)

Shooting Blanks by Dennis Henigan

The NRA gets more firepower from the Second Amendment as a rhetorical weapon than as a barrier to gun control laws. In the past three years, two states and more than 30 localities have passed laws banning semiautomatic military assault weapons. Two main issues present in regard to the Second Amendment right to bear arms are (1) the scope of the right and (2) the due process limitation on states. The Recorder,No. 149 (August 3, 1992)

In Search of Justice: Compensation of Victims of Assault Weapon Violence by J. Bonderman

The "abnormally dangerous activity" doctrine and negligence serve as means to shift costs of injuries and deaths resulting from the use of semiautomatic assault weapons from victims and society at large to gun dealers. Cost shifting resulting from the imposition of tort liability will force gun dealers to either increase costs of assault weapons or limit their sale to the military and police. Either choice will have positive ramifications for public safety. BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, Vol. 20, No 25 (June 1992)

After the Ban: Shifting the Cost of Assault Weapon Violence to the Gun Industry by J. Bonderman

Although the ban of certain assault weapons by the New Jersey Legislature is a positive step, the author argues that judicial action is required to shift the costs of violence caused by assault weapons from victims to assault weapon manufacturers and dealers.The author focuses on the abnormally dangerous activity doctrine as a means to ensure that the assault weapons industry bear the costs for the lethal consequences of their trade. Civil Trial Bar Section Newsletter, Vol. IV, No. 2, NJ State Bar Association (Feb. 1992)

2nd Amendment: A right to own arms? by Dennis Henigan

The notion of a right to own guns is a constitutional myth perpetuated by the gun lobby. Judicial interpretation has confirmed that there is no personal right to own guns. USA Today (Nov. 20, 1991)

Arms, Anarchy and The Second Amendment by Dennis Henigan

In 1989, Sanford Levinson claimed that the Second, Ninth and Tenth Amendments, read together, provide ordinary citizens with the right to bear arms in opposition to a potentially tyrannical government. The author demonstrates that Levinson's theory is not supported by the Constitution, by explaining the context in which the Second Amendment was enacted, and Supreme Court decisions. Valparaiso Univ. Law Review, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Fall 1991)

Gun Control Through Tort Law by Dennis Henigan

Once the exception to the rule, the trend towards holding dealers accountable when an irresponsible gun sale leads to violence, is slowly building momentum. The author refers to several cases that indicate a willingness of courts to apply negligence principles in ways that punish the gun industry for wrongful conduct of individual dealers. Read the Article from Legal Times (August 19, 1991)

Liability and Accountability: Negligence claims against dealers achieve gun control through the courts by Dennis Henigan

Selling assault weapons to the general public is, in and of itself, an abnormally dangerous activity, which should expose gun dealers to strict liability for injuries and deaths resulting therefrom. Applications of the abnormally dangerous activity doctrine will allow courts to shift the high costs of assault weapon violence from victims and society at large. The Recorder (July 1991)

Exploding the NRA's Constitutional Myth by Dennis Henigan

This article highlights the way in which the Brady Law debates focused around the myth that the Second Amendment guarantees a broad, personal right to bear arms. The author discusses case law to dispel this widely accepted myth and to argue for honest debate on gun control laws. Read the Article from Legal Times, Vol. XIII, No. 47 (April 29, 1991)

Seller Conduct is the Key to Assault-Gun Liability, by J. Bonderman

Sellers of nondefective handguns have escaped liability for criminal misuse of their products. The author makes a persuasive argument that sellers of assault weapons should be treated differently. Claims applying the ultrahazardous activity doctrine and a simple negligence analysis may lead to assault weapon dealer liability, based on improper marketing decisions that endanger the public. Read the Article from Leader's Product Liability Law & Strategy (April 1991)

Paying the Bill for Violence by J. Bonderman and Dennis Henigan

Selling assault weapons to the general public is, in and of itself, an abnormally dangerous activity, which should expose gun dealers to strict liability for injuries and deaths resulting therefrom. Applications of the abnormally dangerous activity doctrine will allow courts to shift the high costs of assault weapon violence from victims and society at large. National Law Journal, Vol13, No.21 J. Bonderman (January 1991)

Needed: Truth about the Second Amendment by Dennis Henigan

A response to a particular guest columnists previous article, which claimed the Second Amendment bars strong gun laws. Read the Article from Los Angeles Daily News (October 11, 1990)

Assault Weapon Violence: Making the Gun Industry Pay by J. Bonderman and Dennis Henigan

Following the tragic 1989 school shooting in Stockton, California, the authors offer a look into the world of assault weapons. The liability for the violence caused by these weapons is highly contested. Strict liability of assault weapons manufacturers can be supported through the abnormally dangerous activity doctrine without infringing on the legal liability of handgun owners.

The Right to be Armed: A Constitutional Illusion by Dennis Henigan

The NRA contention that legislators cannot limit accessibility to guns without offending the Constitution is unfounded. This article challenges the widely held notion that the Second Amendment guarantees each individual a right to own a gun by analyzing the textual language, history, and court interpretation of the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment in the Twentieth Century: Have You Seen Your Militia Lately? by K. Ehrman & Dennis Henigan

An in-depth review of the historical context within which the Second Amendment developed reveals that there are no Constitutional restrictions on the ability of legislators to enact tough gun laws. Further, the authors analyze various decisions to show that the Second Amendment does not support the right of private citizens to own guns for non-militia related purposes. Read the Article from Univ. of Dayton Law Review Vol. 15, No. 1 (Fall 1989)