May 1st, 2008

Court of Appeals Dismisses NY Case against Gun Makers

On April 30th, the gun industry scored a huge win in Federal Court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit tossed out New York City’s long-standing lawsuit against firearms manufacturers. That suit sought to hold gun makers responsible for the criminal misuse of firearms.


Firearms Lawsuit

Judge Robert J. Miner, writing for the U.S. Court of Appeals, held the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, enacted in 2005, is constitutional and that Brooklyn, NY, federal court judge Jack B. Weinstein misinterpreted the law by not dismissing the case.

“We think Congress clearly intended to protect from vicarious liability members of the firearms industry who engage in the ‘lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, importation, or sale’ of firearms,” said Judge Miner. In dismissing the city’s claim that its suit fit within an exception to the Arms Act, the court wrote that the statute was “intended to shield the firearms industry from the vicarious liability for harm caused by firearms that were lawfully distributed[.]”

The Appellate Court ruling is seen by many as a major setback for gun-control groups, principally the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which funded many of the municipal lawsuits, including this New York City case, against the firearms industry.

The city’s lawsuit against the nation’s firearms manufacturers was originally filed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in June 2000 and was continued by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mayor Bloomberg is also suing out-of-state firearms retailers. That case will go to trial later this month before Judge Weinstein.

This report is provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

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