From the Document: "There has been increased interest in the scope of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) after the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit may go forward against the manufacturer, distributor, and dealer of the semiautomatic rifle used by the assailant in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The PLCAA generally bars lawsuits in federal or state court against firearm manufacturers, distributors, and dealers when a third party acquires a firearm from that distribution chain and uses it for criminal ends. But the plaintiffs in 'Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms International' contend, and the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed, that the alleged claims fit within one of the PLCAA's enumerated exceptions: when a manufacturer or seller knowingly violates a state or federal law 'applicable to' the sale or marketing of firearms, and that violation 'was a proximate cause' of the harm the lawsuit seeks to vindicate (known as the 'predicate exception'). This Sidebar outlines the PLCAA, explains the 'Soto' ruling, and evaluates the impact it may have on future litigation against the firearms industry if plaintiffs may invoke consumer-protection laws-- the type of law relied on in 'Soto'--as a means for shooting victims to seek compensation from the makers and distributors of firearms."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10292
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/