The Alaska Supreme Court has weighed in on a Juneau case that has the potential to overturn a Bush-era federal law protecting gun dealers from liability for murders committed with guns from their shops. The justices didn't disagree with a lower court judge's interpretation of the law, but it questioned whether he considered all the relevant evidence in the case, reports the Juneau Empire. The high court last week sent the case back to Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg for further consideration. Pallenberg had dismissed a lawsuit against a Juneau gun dealer by the family of a murder victim who was shot with a gun either stolen from or bought off the books from the dealer.
From the Empire:
The dispute about whether the gun was sold off the books is a “critical” evidentiary issue which should be considered further, [Supreme Court Justice Daniel] Winfree wrote.
“This dispute is whether on the facts of this case a reasonable inference can be drawn that [gun dealer Ray] Coxe voluntarily transferred or illegally sold [[killer Jason] Coday the rifle, or whether the reasonable inference is that Coday stole the rifle from Coxe,” Winfree wrote.
Winfree wrote that some of the [family's] claims cannot survive under Coxe’s versions of events — the firearm’s theft.
Coday is serving a 101-year prison sentence for the 2006 murder of a random stranger two days after he acquired the gun.
Read more at the Empire: Alaska Supreme Court remands gun case back to trial court. Find more about the ramifications of the case in this 2012 ADN article: Alaska high court reviews federal gun-shop liability law