October 13th, 2019

Federal District Court Dismisses Suit Against AR-15 Makers

Federal court case dismiss dismissal Primus Smith Wesson Ohio district U.S.

Chalk up a legal victory for the gun industry. The U.S. District Court (Southern District of Ohio) has dismissed, with prejudice, the Primus Group v. Smith & Wesson, et al lawsuit. The decision was delivered October 9, eliminating the plaintiff’s claims against several prominent AR-15 firearms manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Remington Arms Company, SIG Sauer, Sturm, Ruger & Company, Colt Manufacturing, and Armalite.

Federal court case dismiss dismissal Primus Smith Wesson Ohio district U.S.“This decision by the federal judge to dismiss with prejudice this frivolous case is pleasing, if not unexpected,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs and General Counsel. “These are lawful and federally-regulated AR-15 modern sporting rifle manufacturers that make semiautomatic rifles for lawful purposes. The judge was absolutely correct to assert that the proper venue to establish public firearms policy is through the legislature and not the courts.”

Primus Group, LLC, is a small entity in Columbus, Ohio with a vague business model. The limited liability company filed suit after the tragic murders in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. They claimed racketeering, intentional misrepresentation claims, and “a clear and present danger” of all American lives due to “assault weapons”. The modern sporting rifles manufactured and sold by the companies named as defendants are semi-automatic rifles, meaning one round is fired for each trigger pull.

The court found the plaintiffs had no standing to bring the case against the defendants. This decision rightfully asserts that those who purposefully and criminally misuse firearms are the ones who are responsible for those crimes. It further affirms that activist lawsuits to prompt judicial action are not the proper avenue to establish policy.

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April 12th, 2015

Federal Court Dismisses Aurora Case Against Ammo Sellers

In a major victory for firearms and ammunition retailers, a Federal District Court in Colorado has thrown out a Brady Center-backed lawsuit arising out of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting. The Federal Court ruled that: “The federal and state immunity statutes prohibit the claims of liability for the sales of ammunition in this case.” If you are involved in sales of guns or ammunition, whether as a distributor or retailer, we strongly recommend you read the entire U.S. District Court decision by Richard P. Matsch, Senior District Judge. The Judge’s memorandum cites many important principles of law. CLICK HERE for Dismissal Order.

U.S. District Court Aurora Colorado Shooting NSSF Gun Ammunition Lucky Gunner Sportsman Guide lawsuit

The case, Phillips v. Lucky Gunner, was brought by the parents of an Aurora shooting victim against several web-based businesses from whom the shooter, James Holmes, purchased materials. The plaintiffs sued two web-based ammo vendors, Lucky Gunner LLC and The Sportsman’s Guide, as well as suppliers of various tactical gear.

Brady Center lawyers representing the family members alleged that the Internet business practices of the FFLs did not include “reasonable safeguards” to prevent persons such as Holmes from purchasing their respective products.

The court found that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) as well as a Colorado preemption statute required dismissal of the Brady Center’s lawsuit. In dismissing this action, the court followed legal precedents that have consistently found the PLCAA to be constitutional.

Highlights of Court Decision:

The ammunition sellers are also protected by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, 15 U.S.C. § 7901 et seq. (“PLCAA”). Enacted in 2005, the PLCAA generally prohibits claims against firearms and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers for damages and injunctive relief arising from the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearms and ammunition, unless the suit falls within one of six enumerated exceptions. 15 U.S.C. §§ 7901–7903.

The Colorado legislature specifically limited suits against ammunition sellers to those where the plaintiff requests “damages” for relief, except in a product liability action which includes “any remedy.” Section 13-21-504.5(1). Subsection (2) precludes liability of the ammunition sellers for the actions of Holmes in any type of action. The plaintiffs’ claims of negligence, negligent entrustment and public nuisance based on the sales of ammunition to Holmes are barred and “shall” be dismissed. C.R.S. § 13-21-504.5(3).

Story based on report by NSSF.org.
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August 26th, 2014

California Gun Waiting Period Laws Ruled Unconstitutional

second amendmentBig Victory for California Gun Owners!
California’s 10-day waiting period for gun purchases was ruled unconstitutional by a Federal judge on August 25, 2014 in a significant victory for Second Amendment civil rights. The laws were challenged by California gun owners Jeffrey Silvester and Brandon Combs, as well as two gun rights groups, The Calguns Foundation, and Second Amendment Foundation. The decision was issued in the case of Silvester v. Harris.

Ruling is Limited in Scope
The Court’s decision does not toss out California’s 10-day waiting period completely. However, the Court did rule that the 10-day rule is invalid for those who already lawfully possess firearms and have satisfied background checks. The full decision can be read at http://bit.ly/silvester-v-harris-decision

Federal Court Decides 10-day Waiting Period Laws Violate 2nd Amendment Rights
The ruling was made by the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of California. In his decision, Federal District Judge Anthony W. Ishii, a Clinton appointee, found that “the 10-day waiting periods of Penal Code [sections 26815(a) and 27540(a)] violate the Second Amendment” as to certain classes of citizens, and “burdens the Second Amendment rights of the Plaintiffs.”

Specifically the Court held that the 10-day waiting period was invalid for citizens who already held a CCW license and had passed background checks. The Court did NOT hold the the 10-day period was invalid for new purchasers who had not already been vetted. Specifically, Judge Ishii held that: “Penal Code §26815(a) and § 27540(a)’s 10-day waiting periods impermissibly violate the Second Amendment as applied to those persons who already lawfully possess a firearm as confirmed by the AFS, to those who possess a valid CCW license, and to those who possess both a valid COE and a firearm as confirmed by the AFS system, if the background check on these individuals is completed and approved prior to the expiration of 10 days.”

“This is a great win for Second Amendment civil rights and common sense,” said Jeff Silvester, the named individual plaintiff. “I couldn’t be happier with how this case turned out.”

Under the court order, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) must change its systems to accommodate the unobstructed release of guns to gun buyers who pass a background check and possess a California license to carry a handgun, or who hold a “Certificate of Eligibility” issued by the DOJ and already possess at least one firearm known to the state.

“California gun owners are not second-class citizens and the Second Amendment doesn’t protect second class rights,” noted plaintiff Brandon Combs, also CGF’s executive director. “This decision is an important step towards restoring fundamental individual liberties in the Golden State.”

“This ruling clearly addressed the issue we put before the court,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We are naturally delighted with the outcome.”

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September 6th, 2013

NRA Joins Lawsuit Against Federal Phone Surveillance Programs

NSA phone surveillance eff.orgThe NRA has joined in an ACLU lawsuit challenging the Federal government’s vast domestic telephone surveillance program. Currently the National Security Agency (NSA) captures billions of telephone call records in a vast data-mining operation. As those records could reveal every person who makes a call to the NRA, shooting club, or gun store, the NRA claims the NSA call-tracking program could be used to create a de facto national gun registry. The NSA and/or other government agencies could easily create a list to identify and locate gun owners: “The government could simply demand the periodic submission of all firearms dealers’ transaction records, then centralize them in a database indexed by the buyers’ names for later searching.”

The NRA argued: “It would be absurd to think that the Congress would adopt and maintain a web of statutes intended to protect against the creation of a national gun registry, while simultaneously authorizing the FBI and the NSA to gather records that could effectively create just such a registry”.

The NRA claims the Federal Government’s telephone surveillance programs is unconstitutional: “The mass surveillance program threatens the First Amendment rights of the NRA and its members. The mass surveillance program could allow identification of NRA members, supporters, potential members, and other persons with whom the NRA communicates, potentially chilling their willingness to communicate with the NRA.”

The ACLU’s lawsuit, ACLU vs. Clapper, seeks an injunction to halt the NSA’s phone-surveillance program and also force the Federal Government to expunge all of its phone call records. Named defendants in the ACLU lawsuit the National Security Agency, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice. The ACLU has welcomed the NRA’s participation in the lawsuit: “The range of voices joining the protest against mass government surveillance — not to mention the bipartisan storm that has swept Congress since the recent NSA disclosures — is a real testament to the fact that the government’s dragnet surveillance practices are offensive to Americans from across the political spectrum”.

Along with the NRA, other organizations have joined in the ACLU lawsuit against the NSA’s surveillance programs. These include the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and several news organizations including Fox, National Public Radio, Bloomberg News and The New Yorker. In fact even Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin filed supporting briefs. Sensenbrenner is a co-author of the 2001 Patriot Act, which the NSA has cited as authority for its data-gathering program. Sensenbrenner believes that NSA’s vast phone-logging operations have gone well beyond anything contemplated by Congress in passing the Patriot Act.

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May 13th, 2013

Ashbury Int’l Wins Patent Case on Modular Rifle Chassis System

Judge Glen E. Conrad, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, entered a final judgment upholding the validity of Ashbury International Group, Inc.’s patent on its modular rifle technology. The court also held that Cadex Defence, Inc. of Canada infringed that patent, and enjoined Cadex from future infringement. Ashbury was represented by the Troutman Sanders law firm, and D. Alan Nunley of Reston, Virginia. The official case title is: Ashbury International Group, Inc. v. Cadex Defence, Inc., Case No. 3:11cv79, filed on December 16, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

“The court held that Ashbury’s patent is valid, and potential infringers now know that Ashbury will protect its valuable intellectual property,” said Robert Angle, the head of Troutman Sanders’ Litigation Department in Virginia and a leading intellectual property litigator. “This case validates the significant investment Ashbury has made in its technological innovations.”

After entry of judgment, Ashbury CEO/President Morris Peterson declared: “We are very pleased with the final judgment, and feel confident that our intellectual property and [our] many innovative ideas … can in fact be protected, even in the hyper-competitive firearms industry. Our customers in the government, military, and sport shooting communities rely on Ashbury’s innovations. They deserve to have our best-engineered designs, particularly in life-critical applications.”

Virginia-based Ashbury Int’l Group is a DOD contractor, systems integrator, engineering, manufacturing and logistics company serving the government, military, and Spec-Ops communities in the USA and allied foreign nations. Among its products, Ashbury has designed fully integrated precision rifle platforms using the advanced SABER®-FORSST® modular stock chassis system for sporting, target competition and tactical shooting activities. Ashbury currently holds 16 US Patents relating to its advanced modular chassis system for precision bolt action rifle platforms, including the patent infringed by Cadex, U.S. Patent No. 7,802,392, and other patents pending.

About Troutman Sanders Law Firm
Troutman Sanders LLP is an international law firm with more than 600 lawyers and offices located throughout the United States and China. Founded in 1897, the law firm represents clients ranging from multinational corporations to individual entrepreneurs, federal and state agencies to foreign governments, and non-profit organizations to businesses representing virtually every sector and industry.

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