Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Gun Violence Scourge in America

The blog post title likely suggests this post will be an erudite commentary on gun law, constitutionalism, and America. Alas, it is merely a post about dogs shooting owners with guns. Yes, this is a thing. Dogs don't just bite---they also shoot.

So what's the legal angle? Let's say you're at the grocery store, and the car next to you has Fi Fi, the enthusiastic Saint Bernard bouncing around waiting for his owner (who carelessly left a handgun on the seat of the car). Suddenly a shot is fired, and you've got a hole in your car door the size of a lime and can't help but panic every time you see a dog. How do you determine what you can sue for?

Try American Jurisprudence 2d. American Jurisprudence 2d (a.k.a., AmJur) is a legal encyclopedia, which means the subjects are organized alphabetically. In our hypothetical with the dog, you might come to the library and pull the volume off the shelf that has a section on dogs, torts (e.g., outrage, emotional distress, trespass to chattels), or guns. Note, however, that the gunshot and subsequent damage is the most unique aspect of this case, so looking that term up in the index (the last volumes of the encyclopedia set) might point you in the right place. Also try synonyms like firearm or weapon. If the thought of pulling books of the shelf is exhausting, you can find AmJur on Westlaw.

AmJur will summarize the law for you and give you relevant legal citations so that you can begin your research, which is just what you need when you don't know where to start.