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絕命槍響:暴力事件猖獗 美民眾普遍仍支持擁槍

立報/李威撰 2012.08.15 00:00
策劃、編譯■李威撰過去短短1個月的時間裡,科羅拉多、威斯康辛與德州都發生槍擊案,共造成22人死亡、64人受傷,加強槍枝管制的問題,再次成為輿論焦點。近來,美國的威斯康辛州與科羅拉多州發生致命槍擊案,再次引發加強管制槍枝的呼聲。但在辯論過程中,有一點幾乎被忽略:槍枝製造商與賣家是否該背負責任?Recent deadly shootings in Wisconsin and Colorado reignited calls for more gun control in the United States, but one element has been largely missing from the debate: Should gun makers or sellers be held liable?2005年的一項法律,讓槍枝業者能免除部分訴訟,但這項法律在阿拉斯加州遭遇到挑戰。在一起案例中,支持槍制管制的行動者,獲得將這項法律交給美國最高法院審理的機會。A 2005 law that protects the gun industry from certain lawsuits has been challenged in Alaska in a case that may give gun-control activists their next chance to test the law before the U.S. Supreme Court.2006年8月2日,有多次逮捕紀錄的逃犯寇戴,從朱諾一家槍枝店帶走魯格步槍。2天後,他用這把步槍殺害26歲的西蒙金,受害者是約聘油漆工,在朱諾市區一家超級市場外工作。寇戴以一級謀殺及其他罪名被起訴,最後判101年徒刑。On August 2, 2006, Jason Coday, a drifter with a lengthy arrest record, left a gun store in Juneau carrying a Ruger rifle. Two days later, he used the gun to kill Simone Kim, a 26-year-old contract painter who was working outside a supermarket in the city's downtown. Coday was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges and sentenced to 101 years in prison.家屬控訴商家未檢查買家背景西蒙金的家屬在2008年控告槍枝店老闆柯克斯,指稱他明知寇戴是「一名逃犯」,且又是「甲基安非他命與其他毒品的使用者」,卻仍販賣槍枝給他,而沒有先檢查對方的背景。In 2008, Kim's family sued gun store owner Ray Coxe, alleging that he knowingly allowed Coday, "a fugitive from justice" and a "user of methamphetamine and other drugs," to pay for the gun without first getting a background check.2010年,阿拉斯加州的法官駁回這項訴訟,該法官引用聯邦的《合法槍械買賣保護法》,指出民眾不得以「他人濫用他們的產品」為理由,向槍枝製造商與販售者要求民事賠償。An Alaska state judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2010, citing the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prohibits civil claims (1) against gun makers and dealers for the "misuse of their products by others."西蒙金的家屬上訴至阿拉斯加州最高法院,聲稱這項法律違反美國憲法第10條修正案,該修正案指出,未授予聯邦政府的權力,保留給地方政府或人民。(註1)Kim's family is appealing to the Alaska Supreme Court, arguing that the law violated the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved for states or the people.前總統小布希2005簽署通過的《合法槍械買賣保護法》,是為了回應一連串與槍枝製造業者及販賣者有關的訴訟。紐約市在2000年指控,槍枝製造商與販賣者讓他們的槍枝流入黑市而造成公害。數十名被告中,包括了知名槍械製造商,如史密斯威森與葛洛克公司。The law, which was signed by President George Bush in 2005, came in response to a wave of lawsuits against gun makers and sellers. New York City alleged in 2000 that gun manufacturers and dealers created a public nuisance(2) by allowing their guns to be diverted into illegal markets. The dozens of defendants included well-known gun makers like Smith & Wesson Corp and Glock Inc.連同全國步槍協會在內的法條支持者,認為這波訴訟是自由派人士的策略,他們想藉此搞垮槍枝業,並剝奪守法公民的擁槍權。Supporters of the law, including the National Rifle Association, viewed the wave of litigation as a strategy by liberal activists to bankrupt the firearms industry and to strip law-abiding citizens of their right to bear arms.來自愛達荷州的共和黨參議員克雷格表示:「這些訴訟的代價,導致這項重要產業面臨歇業的危險,過程中將喪失數千個待遇優渥的工作機會,並危及憲法保障美國人基於自衛及其他合法用途而取得槍枝的權利。」"The cost of these lawsuits threatens to drive a critical industry out of business, losing thousands of good-paying jobs in the process and jeopardizing Americans' constitutionally protected access to firearms for self defense and other lawful uses," U.S. Senator Larry Craig, a Republican from Idaho, said at the time.聯邦法規成槍商保護傘法條反對者則表示,該立法是多餘的。他們表示,控告槍械製造商的無聊訴訟通常會被駁回。有些法律專家則說,這項法條剝奪了各州法官的裁量權,僭越各州的權利。美國律師協會也反對這項法律,表示《合法槍械買賣保護法》將「優先於50州的法律,為這個受到保障的群體的過失行為設立一個特別的、更高的標準」。(註2)Opponents of the law argued the legislation was needless. Frivolous lawsuits against gun makers were being dismissed regularly, they argued. Some legal experts also said the bill stepped on states' rights by taking away the discretion of state judges. The American Bar Association also opposed the legislation, saying it would "preempt (3) the laws of the 50 states to create a special, higher standard for negligence actions for this one protected class."該法律也提供廣泛的法律保護給槍枝業。當國會通過法條,讓其他業者(如疫苗製造廠商)免於民事訴訟時,政府會另外設置其他替代機制來補償受害者。但是,《合法槍械買賣保護法》卻沒有提供這樣的途徑。The legal protection the law gives to the gun industry is broad. While Congress has passed laws limiting civil lawsuits against other businesses, including makers of vaccines, the government also established alternative mechanisms to compensate victims. But the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act offers no such avenue.不過,這項法規並沒有豁免槍枝業者所有的民事責任。舉例而言,當槍販與生產者蓄意違反像是《布雷迪法案》等槍枝管制法規時,仍可能會被起訴。《布雷迪法案》規定,獲得許可的槍販要對買家進行背景檢查。The law did not eliminate all civil liability (4) against the gun industry. For instance, it left room for lawsuits against gun dealers or manufacturers that knowingly violate gun-control laws, like the Brady Act, which requires licensed firearms dealers to conduct background checks on buyers.不過,這可能無助於7月20日在科羅拉多州電影院及8月5日在威斯康辛州錫克寺廟這兩起槍擊案的訴訟,因為這兩起案例所使用的槍枝都是合法購買。But it will likely discourage lawsuits stemming from the shootings at the movie theater in Colorado on July 20 and the Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5. In both instances, the firearms used were purchased legally.奧爾巴尼法學院教授立頓表示:「這項立法旨在保護槍枝生產者及槍枝販賣者,使這類情況能免除民事責任。」"The legislation is designed to protect gun manufacturers and gun dealers from civil liability in exactly these kinds of situations," said Timothy Lytton, a professor at Albany Law School.布雷迪預防槍枝暴力中心是全美國最大的槍枝管控團體,他們利用法律規定的例外情況來推動訴訟。去年,該中心與手槍製造商卡爾武器就某起槍殺致死案件以60萬美元達成和解。The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the largest U.S. gun-control group, has used some of the exceptions in the law to press lawsuits. Last year, it reached a $600,000 settlement with pistol maker Kahr Arms over a shooting death.但該中心處理的訴訟中,至少有3起案件因為《合法槍械買賣保護法》的規定而被駁回,其中1起就是代表西蒙金家屬的案件。But at least three of its lawsuits have been dismissed because of the law, including the one it brought on behalf of the Kim family.阿拉斯加的這起案例中,關鍵的問題是寇戴是否偷走槍枝,抑或是柯克斯非法販賣槍枝給他,而沒有先調查他的背景。若槍枝為非法賣出,控訴柯克斯的官司將因法律的例外而成立。A big question in the Alaska case is whether Coday stole the gun or whether Coxe unlawfully sold it to him without conducting a background check. If the gun was sold unlawfully, the lawsuit against Coxe could have proceeded under one of the shield law's exceptions.西蒙金的家人提到,柯克斯告訴寇戴槍枝的價格是195美元,而寇戴離開店家前,留下2百美元在櫃檯。The Kim family noted that Coxe had told Coday the cost of the gun was $195 and that before Coday exited the store he left $200 on the counter.柯克斯的律師承認,他有展示一些槍枝給寇戴看,但柯克斯表示,他讓寇戴自己去思考自己想買什麼。等柯克斯發現槍枝不見時,他和同事都撥打了電話給警方,而這件事也已經被證實。Lawyers for Coxe conceded that he showed Coday some guns. But Coxe said he left Coday by himself to think about the purchase. Once Coxe realized that the rifle was gone, either he or a colleague called the police, he testified.法官認為法條無違憲之虞最後,阿拉斯加州高等法院法官派倫伯格站在柯克斯這邊,他判定西蒙金的家人指控柯克斯蓄意提供槍枝給寇戴的說法,「只不過是沒根據的推測及猜想」。派倫伯格也判定,店家在經營上粗心大意的指控,並不在《合法槍械買賣保護法》的考慮範圍之內。Ultimately, Alaska Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg sided with Coxe. He found the Kim family's allegation that Coxe knowingly supplied the gun to Coday was "nothing more than unsupported speculation and conjecture." Pallenberg also ruled that the lawsuit's claim that Coxe ran his store negligently was barred under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.今年2月,布雷迪中心的洛威(西蒙金家屬的律師),向阿拉斯加最高法庭表示,這項法律是冒犯州的司法權,州法院被剝奪判定是否屬於過失的權利。In February, Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center, an attorney for the Kim family, argued to the Alaska Supreme Court that the law was an affront to the state's judiciary, which was being deprived of the right to decide claims of negligence (5).不過,西蒙金的家屬在憲法上的論點可能不會成功,因為法律通過後,聯邦第二巡迴上訴法院與聯邦第九巡迴上訴法院都認為合憲。But the Kim family's constitutional arguments may be a long shot. Since the law was passed, federal appeals courts in both the 2nd and 9th U.S. circuits have said it is constitutional.今年2月在一場聽證會上,其中一名法官提醒洛威這點。洛威則要求法庭重新思考那些法庭所提出的論點及推論。Lowy was reminded of this by one of the justices at the hearing in February. Lowy asked the court to reconsider the arguments and reasoning of those courts.最高法院已兩次拒絕審理對該法律合憲性的質疑。況且,這項法律得到司法部的背書,他們在西蒙金的案件中提出辯護,聲稱這項法律是國會行使管制州際貿易的有效權力。The Supreme Court has twice refused to hear challenges to the law's constitutionality. And the law also has the backing of the Department of Justice, which filed a brief in the Kim case arguing the law is a valid exercise of Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.(路透Reuters)▲▲一家位於科羅拉多州奧羅拉的電影院爆發槍擊案,母女3人聚在一塊為罹難者祈禱,圖攝於7月25日。▲威斯康辛州也爆發槍擊案,悲傷的罹難者家屬在橡樹溪市(Oak Creek)參加燭光守夜的活動,圖攝於8月7日。(圖文/路透)●註1:美國憲法第10條修正案為:「舉凡憲法未授予合眾國政府行使,而又不禁止各州行使的各種權力,均保留給各州政府或人民行使之。」●註2:根據美國憲法第6條規定,相對於州法及地方法,國會通過的聯邦法具有較高的優位性,對各州都有約束力。國會通過法律,決定管制特定事務時,原本交給州跟地方的權力,便轉交至聯邦政府手上,此即所謂的「聯邦法優先適用」(Federal Preemption)。在槍枝管制問題上,美國憲法賦予公民擁有槍枝的權利,但傳統上,是由州政府來負責槍枝的管制,各州的規定內容及寬鬆程度不盡相同。在《合法槍械買賣保護法》的爭論中,法院認為國會沒有明確表示聯邦政府接手槍枝管制的地方事務,因此不存在侵犯州權或聯邦法優先適用的問題。關鍵字詞1. civil claim (n.) 民事求償2. public nuisance (n.) 妨害公眾安寧3. preempt (v.) 優先於...4. liability (n.) 責任、義務5. negligence (n.) 疏忽、疏失

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