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California Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Firearms Manufacturer

Monday, August 13, 2001

National Rifle Association
11250 Waples Mill Road • Fairfax, VA 22030

California Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc.
271 East Imperial Highway • Fullerton, California 92835

Firearms Manufacturer Navegar, Inc. Not Liable for Deaths
in the 101 California Street Shooting

San Francisco- In a ruling mirroring that of other cities across the country, such as Cincinnati, Ohio, Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Chicago, Illinois, the California State Supreme court today held that as a matter of public policy, "a gun manufacturer many not be held liable. . . [I]n a products liability action on the basis that the benefits of [its] product do not outweigh the risk of injury posed by the product`s potential to cause serious injury, damage or death when discharged.`" This ruling reinforces the industry position that reckless lawsuits being brought against the firearms industry by municipalities and individuals alike are doomed to failure.

"We are certainly pleased with the outcome of Merrill v. Navegar, which reverses the egregious ruling by the California Court of Appeals. Hopefully this ruling sends a clear message to those who wish to use the threat of lawsuits in order to discourage the firearms industry from marketing their legal products in the State of California." stated CRPA`s attorney Chuck Michel.

Merrill v. Navegar was filed by survivors of the July 1, 1993 shooting which took place at 101 California Street in San Francisco against Navegar, Inc., manufacturer of the TEC-DC9, firearm used by murderer Gian Luigi. The trial court found that Navegar had no duty under California law not to sell or manufacture the firearm named in the suit. The California Court of Appeals reversed the lower court`s finding, holding that Navegar did have a duty not to manufacture and market the TEC-DC9 and therefore was liable for damages. The California Supreme Court overturned, and found that under Section 1714.4 of the California Civil Code, gun manufacturers cannot be held civilly liable to victims of firearms usage.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.