Soto v. Bushmaster

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

Connecticut Citizens Defense League Files Brief Opposing Lawsuit that Seeks to Make Gun Manufacturers Liable for Gun Crimes Because Firearms are “too Dangerous” for Law-abiding Citizens

June 20, 2017  (Groton, CT)
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) has filed an amicus curiae brief in the Connecticut Supreme Court opposing an attempt to impose legal liability on the manufacturers and sellers of the firearm used in the Sandy Hook tragedy. The Supreme Court case (Soto v Bushmaster), brought by lawyers representing the estates of several victims of the shooting, is based on the novel theory that the firearm used in the shooting is “too dangerous” to sell to ordinary, law-abiding citizens, and that the makers of the gun should thus be on the hook whenever it is misused to cause injury. But as CCDL’s brief points out, the particular type of firearm used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook in fact has about one-fourth as much firepower as many ordinary hunting rifles, because it uses lightweight ammunition. And crime statistics show that ordinary handguns are over fifteen times more likely to me used by “mass shooters” than the model of firearm chosen by Lanza. If the defendants are held liable in this case, then, it will set a precedent that would expose businesses to legal liability each time they sell virtually any type of firearm in Connecticut.

The State Superior Court rejected the Plaintiffs’ theory, noting that it “would be a dramatic change in tort doctrine.” But the Plaintiffs have now appealed to the Supreme Court.

“The implications of the radical theory of tort law advanced by Plaintiffs’ lawyers in this case are dangerous and breathtaking,” said Scott Wilson, President of CCDL. “When you realize that by every empirical measure, the type of firearm at issue in this case is less dangerous and less likely to be used in any kind of violent crime, including mass shootings, than an ordinary hunting rifle or handgun, it becomes clear that this is just the latest effort in the long-running campaign by anti-gun activists to make the manufacturers of any firearm liable simply because criminals or the mentally unstable misuse their product.” But the Second Amendment protects the right to sell firearms to lawful citizens, according to multiple federal court decisions; and a federal statute also generally forecloses attempts to make firearm manufactures and retailers liable for the misuse of the firearms they sell, so long as the sale itself was lawful. “Plaintiffs’ effort to choke off the sale of virtually all ordinary firearms is contrary to both the Constitution and federal law,” Mr. Wilson said. “CCDL hopes that our brief will help the Supreme Court to recognize the truly radical—and unconstitutional—implications of this lawsuit.”

The full brief can be downloaded here: CCDL-Amicus-AS-FILED (pdf)

Amicus Application Accepted

The Connecticut Supreme Court has accepted CCDL’s application to appear as Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) in the case of Soto v. Bushmaster, as well as approving our full legal team.

This means the court agrees that CCDL and it’s members have a legitimate interest in this case and it’s outcome, and they will allow CCDL to explain why we believe that a ruling for the plaintiffs in this case could seriously jeopardize the ability of law-abiding citizens to obtain lawful arms in Connecticut.

Our legal team is putting the final touches on the actual brief, which we hope to be able to share with our members as soon as possible.

Soto-v-bushmaster amicus application granted (pdf)

CCDL files Application to CT Supreme Court

CCDL has applied to the CT State Supreme court to submit an Amicus Curiae Brief (Friend of the Court Brief) in support of Bushmaster Firearms International LLC.

The case known as ‘Soto v Bushmaster’ has been ongoing for some time, and CCDL will withhold any further statements on the case until the court accepts our petition for the brief to be filed.

The application is a matter of public record on file with the State Supreme Court as of May 30, 2017. You may view a copy of the application here: Application-of-CCDL-for-permission-to-appear-as-amicus-curiae.pdf

CCDL Joins California Fight

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League has joined with the New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn, Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Commonwealth Second Amendment (Massachusetts), Maryland State Rifle & Pistol Assn, and Gun Owners of California to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of Peruta v. San Diego.

While the actual case is in California, Petitioner Ed Peruta maintains a residence in Connecticut, and CCDL feels the outcome of this case could have a direct impact on our state’s ability to deny carry permits to law-abiding gun owners.

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League remains vigilant and active on cases such as these that could have long-lasting impact at both the state and national level.

You can read the Brief of Amici Curiae we filed with the Supreme Court here: 16-894 Amici Brief-CCDL (pdf)

Connecticut Bar Association

An article published recently in the “Connecticut Law Tribune” states that the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) is considering joining with the Brady Center to submit an amicus in support of Connecticut’s unconstitutional gun law, Public Act 13-3.

“The Connecticut Bar Association is a membership organization of Connecticut attorneys working to advance the principles of justice, the practice of law and the public understanding of the law.” according to the CBA website.

According to the Law Tribune story, The question of whether the CBA should join the amicus being drafted by the Brady Center will go to the CBA House of Delegates for a vote this coming Monday, July 21. The article also claims an email was to have been sent out to all members of the CBA advising them to tell their representatives if they have concerns about the group getting involved in “a social or political matter.”

We know there are quite a few CCDL members who also belong to the Connecticut Bar Association. We urge them to contact the CBA and their representatives before July 21 and tell them how you feel about the CBA siding with the Brady Center and against the constitutionally protected rights of the citizens of CT.

Two lawyers that we know of already have. Scott D. Camassar of the law firm Stephen M. Reck, LLC, and Rachel M. Baird of the law firm Rachel M. Baird & Associate.
Both attorneys have graciously shared their letters with CCDL. Read them both, and if you are a member of the Bar Association as well, be sure to submit your own letter before Monday.

UPDATE: Attorney Martha Dean sent us a copy of her letter to the CBA, as well as further info about the upcoming CBA vote. She writes:

The Connecticut Bar Association is about to vote on whether to become a signatory to the Brady Center’s amicus brief in Shew v. Malloy (the federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of CT’s new firearms law). CBA’s Human Rights Section is pushing this anti-2nd Amendment position within the organization. Please share and forward this information on to all pro-2A attorneys and any other attorneys who would be concerned about this blatant and, in my view, entirely improper, politicization of CBA. Ask them to make their voices heard in writing and/or at the meeting this coming Monday. Any attorney who is a member of CBA can send written feedback to the CBA executive committee c/o this address: cdejohn@ctbar.org ON OR BEFORE SUNDAY JULY 20, 2014. Any CBA member can attend the Special Meeting to discuss whether CBA should sign-on to the Brady brief on Monday, July 21 at 6 p.m. at CBA Headquarters in New Britain. In order to attend the special meeting, CBA members MUST SIGN UP BY (tomorrow) THURSDAY, JULY 18 here >> https://www.ctbar.org/Calendar/Signup.aspx?EventNo=8195

Full disclosure – Martha Dean is one of many lawyers involved in our lawsuit, Shew v. Malloy.

Scott Camassar letter (pdf)

Rachel Baird letter (pdf)

Martha Dean letter (pdf)

Litigation Update – Amicus Brief

Amicus Brief is short for “Amicus Curiae Brief”. Amicus Curiae is Latin for “friend of the court”. It’s a legal brief filed with the court by someone who is not an actual party to the litigation, but who believes that the court’s decision may affect its interest. Well, yesterday the Attorney Generals from twenty-three states filed an Amicus Brief in support of our appeal in Shew v. Malloy. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. All 23 of these states agree that Public Act 13-3 infringes upon the rights of the citizens of Connecticut, and if allowed to stand may eventually set a precedence for infringing upon the rights of all US citizens. You may read or download a copy of the brief here:
Shew v Malloy States’ Amicus Brief (pdf)