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Utah Supreme Court rules in gun case involving intoxicated person

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Posted at 4:35 PM, Jan 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-30 18:35:16-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court has ruled that gun owners have a duty “to exercise reasonable care in supplying their guns to intoxicated individuals,” in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The case centers around a 2006 incident where an intoxicated woman shot and killed herself at a party with a handgun she obtained from the party’s host. According to the ruling handed down from the state’s top court on Friday, the woman’s estate sued the party’s host for wrongful death.

In its ruling, the Utah Supreme Court did not say if the man was liable, but disagreed with a lower court ruling that initially dismissed the case.

“Supplying an intoxicated individual with a gun, just as supplying a car to such a person, creates a foreseeable risk of harm. But the fact that gun owners have such a duty does not mean that they will necessarily be liable for damages when those individuals injure themselves, because in most cases the intoxicated individual’s negligence will likely exceed that of the gun owner as a matter of comparative negligence,” the court said.

Read the ruling here:

The Utah Supreme Court sent the case back to lower courts to be litigated.