Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Conn. Gun Law

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

   |3 Comments

A federal judge has dismissed a gun industry group lawsuit challenging a wide-ranging firearms law passed by Connecticut in response to the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven ruled Monday that the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc. does not have legal standing to challenge how the legislature and governor approved the law in April.

The foundation sued Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, legislative leaders and other officials in July, claiming the "emergency" legislation was approved illegally without proper public input, without time for adequate review by lawmakers and without an explanation of why the usual legislative process needed to be bypassed.

The law, which expanded a ban on assault weapons and prohibits large-capacity ammunition magazines, still faces other legal challenges by gun rights advocates.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is considering whether to appeal Hall's ruling to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, said Lawrence Keane, the foundation's senior vice president and general counsel.

"We're obviously disappointed," Keane said Tuesday. "The legislature voted on a 139-page bill that they never read, and we were denied our First Amendment right to advocate for changes in the actual bill that was voted on."

The nonprofit foundation represents the interests of more than 9,500 federally licensed firearms manufacturers, distributors and retailers, as well as companies that manufacture, distribute and sell shooting and hunting-related goods and services. More than 200 of its members are in Connecticut. It also represents sportsmen's associations, gun clubs and shooting ranges.

Hall, citing legal precedent, ruled that although foundation members may have been harmed financially by the law, there is no "logical nexus" between that harm and the lawsuit's allegations.

"That injury, however, does not make NSSF -- or any other member of the public aggrieved only incidentally by procedurally defective legislation -- into a proper party to challenge the defects in legislative process," Hall wrote. "Gun control legislation passed without the alleged procedural defects would result in identical injuries."

The office of state Attorney General George Jepsen released a statement calling the measures "entirely appropriate and lawful -- both procedurally and substantively." The office pledged to continue defending the legislation.

What's being said

  • Bob

    I am disappointed but not surprised. The government has wide latitude to set its own procedural rules and to bypass them when they see fit. It is very frustrating to see the legislature operate in this fashion. As citizens, we like to participate in the process of determining what laws we will have imposed upon us. Connecticut's lawmakers, even if they agree with the law that was passed, should be ashamed of the method they used to do it.

  • peterkuck

    The process is the punishment. Due process for citizens is being strangled and the 2nd ammendment is being used as the wedge issue to do it with. There is at least one judge who needs to be impeached.

  • peterkuck

    The process is the punishment. Due process for citizens is being strangled and the 2nd ammendment is being used as the wedge issue to do it with. There is at least one judge who needs to be impeached.

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