Alaska PLCAA Decision

The Supreme Court of Alaska Upholds Constitutionality of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and Holds That Negligence Claims Arising From the Theft of a Firearm Do Not Meet an Enumerated Exception to the Act

On February 22, 2013, the Supreme Court of Alaska issued its decision in Estate of Kim v. Coxe, No. S-14077, 2013 Alas. LEXIS 18 (Alaska Feb. 22, 2013), which affirmed the constitutionality of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, 15 U.S.C. § 7901, et seq. (“PLCAA” or the “Act”) and held that the Act prohibits lawsuits against a manufacturer or seller based on general negligence theories.  In fact, the Alaska Supreme Court specifically held that the theft of a firearm from a retailer “does not support liability under claims excepted from the PLCAA.”

Factual Background

On August 2, 2006, Jason Coday entered Defendant’s gun shop (Rayco Sales).  All three persons present in Rayco that afternoon (owner Ray Coxe, employee Bill Driver, and customer Stan Buckham) testified that they did not notice any behavior from Coday to indicate danger or potential for violence.  After Coday inquired about purchasing a .22 caliber rifle for target shooting, Coxe suggested a used Ruger rifle priced at $195.  Coday ultimately stated that he would have to think about the purchase and appeared to be leaving the store.  When Coxe left the store front, Coday then stole the rifle and left two $100 bills on the counter.  Read the rest of this entry »