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NRA Supporting Taxpayer Lawsuit Against Ohio City

Wednesday, February 16, 2000

Gun-rights group backs lawsuit by Cincinnati Councilman to halt further waste of taxpayer dollars in frivolous action against lawful gun makers.
(WASHINGTON, DC) -- The National Rifle Association is backing a legal challenge to Cincinnati`s reckless lawsuit against gun makers as a violation of the state`s "good government" laws. The lawsuit was filed in Ohio State court yesterday on behalf of Cincinnati Councilman Charlie Winburn. The suit argues that the city`s decision to appeal its case after last October`s ruling to dismiss it with prejudice amounts to a misuse of public funds. A hearing is set for March 3. "Taxpayers have every right to challenge their government when tax dollars are being wasted," said James Jay Baker, NRA`s chief lobbyist. "NRA has always maintained that these lawsuits are utterly frivolous, and this is abundantly clear in Cincinnati`s case where the court so thoroughly rejected the city`s suit. The very notion of trying to hold a third party, who operates in total compliance with the law, responsible for the criminal actions of another flies in the face of common sense and our system of American jurisprudence, and the city`s decision to appeal its case is completely irresponsible. "In poll after poll, the vast majority of Americans believe these suits are wrong, and they are tired of lining the pockets of greedy trial attorneys with tax dollars while the nation`s tough gun laws go unenforced and criminals arm themselves with impunity. I commend Councilman Winburn for having the courage to stand-up to his city on behalf of taxpayers and common sense fiscal responsibility. This is a wake up call for all those mayors who jumped on the lawsuit bandwagon in order to get their names in the papers. Your city`s taxpayers have had enough, and the NRA is ready to pursue this legal strategy on their behalf." Ohio State Judge Ruehlman`s October opinion states that, "the City`s complaint is an improper attempt to have this Court substitute its judgement for that of the legislature ... only the legislature has the power to engage in the type of regulation that is being sought by the City here. Moreover, the City`s request ... exceeds the scope of its municipal powers and ... violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution." In 1999, the NRA successfully worked to enact legislation in fourteen states to prohibit municipalities from wasting tax dollars through reckless lawsuits against firearm manufacturers. Baker said NRA continues this legislative effort and will seek passage in as many as 20 more states in 2000.

For more information, see "Junk Lawsuits" Against Gun Makers, Senate Repudiates Junk Lawsuits, Bridgeport, CT Lawsuit Against Gun Industry Thrown Out, NRA Supports Reckless Lawsuit Preemption Legislation in Ohio, and Lawsuit Against Firearm Industry Thrown Out of Ohio Court.

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