GMU conference, part two
Par two led off with Larry Keane, general counsel to National Shooting Sports Foundation. His focus was on firearms liability litigation after enactment of the Lawful Commerce in Firearms act. Basically, most of the city suits against gun manufacturers were dismissed, and arguments that the statute was unconstitutional were rejected. The one exception was, surprise, assigned to Judge Weinstein of EDNY. The Act has an exception for a dealer who violates laws specifically applicable to gun dealers and makers. It was plainly aimed at GCA 68 and state gun laws. Weinstein found instead that the NY statutes on "nuisance" came within the exception and so his suit could go ahead.
He was followed by Richard Gardiner, a Fairfax VA attorney who pretty much specializes in defending against ATFE revocations. The standard pattern in these is ... well, between bound book and 4473, there are about 40 items to fill in or check off per gun. So even if you get the human error rate down to 1%, there would be one error per 2.5 guns sold. ATF audits the books, finds lots of errors, gives warning. It comes back in a year or two later, finds lots of errors, and files to revoke the license.
He noted that sometimes the errors claimed are things not required by regulation. One dealer got cited for a person who filled in the 4473 question "have you ever been convicted" etc. with "never," ATF claimed the proper answer was yes or no. He pointed out the regulations say the question must be answered, and the gun cannot be transferred if it is yes. But nothing in the regs say the answer must be "no" and not "never."