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Senate Repudiates Junk Lawsuits

Wednesday, February 2, 2000

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- James Jay Baker, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, hailed today's 68-29 defeat of the Levin amendment to the Senate Bankruptcy Reform Bill as a bi-partisan stand for the rule of law and a repudiation of the anti-gun agenda of junk lawsuits against gun makers. "In its overwhelming rejection of Senator Levin's amendment, the Senate sent a clear, bi-partisan message that we live in a nation of laws and that gun makers are entitled to the same legal protections as every other lawful industry," said Baker. "There is no rational basis to exclude firearms companies from bankruptcy law, and to do so would be patently unfair. "Under the Levin Amendment, gun makers who are facing devastating legal costs from fighting multiple tax-payer-funded junk lawsuits would be denied the option of restructuring through bankruptcy and driven out of business. Offering this amendment is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to encourage junk lawsuits against the firearms industry, and, when one considers the consequences, the hypocrisy is clear. Despite their claims otherwise, those who support junk lawsuits don't really want a 'settlement,' and they aren't truly seeking damages. The goal is nothing less than the end of the firearms industry in the United States and the destruction of the Second Amendment. "I want to thank Senators Craig (R-ID), Hatch (R-UT), Lieberman (D-CT), Sessions (R-AL), and Smith (R-NH) for their leadership on this issue," concluded Baker. Lawsuits against the firearms industry seeking damages for third-party criminal or unlawful misuse of their products have been almost universally unsuccessful. Recently, an Ohio court dismissed with prejudice a suit against the gun industry, stating that the suit, "is an improper attempt to have this Court substitute its judgment for that of the legislature, something which this Court is neither inclined nor empowered to do." Courts in Connecticut and Florida have ruled similarly.
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