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Ohio Supreme Court Revives Cincinnati Reckless Lawsuit

Friday, June 14, 2002

On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court overturned an appellate court ruling that had dismissed the City of Cincinnati’s reckless lawsuit against law-abiding gun manufacturers. And while some might interpret this as a victory for the gun-ban movement (see story on HCI), the decision simply means this baseless case may proceed to trial. Justice Francis Sweeney made clear that the 4-3 ruling should not be any indication of the possible success of the suit, stating, "[W]e do not predict the outcome of this case...." And the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) pointed out in its press release on the ruling, "This decision merely provides the city with an opportunity, through discovery, to try to prove its outrageous accusations. The court did not rule on the validity or merit of those allegations."

NSSF also indicated the case could still be thrown out for violating a recently-enacted state reckless lawsuit preemption law, and there are also signs the Cincinnati suit may simply be dropped. The city’s mayor has indicated he wants to reassess whether the city should proceed. NSSF Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane, commenting on Wednesday, said, "Today’s decision, while obviously disappointing, puts Cincinnati in the same position Boston was three years ago. In the end, Cincinnati will conclude, as Boston before it, that this industry has a long-standing and genuine commitment to further reducing accidents and to working cooperatively with law enforcement in its efforts to combat the criminal and accidental misuse of firearms." Boston, you will recall, put an end to its own nearly three-year harassment campaign against law-abiding gun makers in March when it moved to dismiss its own baseless suit, realizing it simply could not win and could not afford to continue to waste tax-payer dollars.

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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.