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Florida Verdict Defies Common Sense

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Going against the near universal trend of rejecting politically-motivated, reckless lawsuits aimed at bankrupting the lawful firearm industry, a Florida jury awarded the widow of a murdered schoolteacher $24 million, with $1.2 million of the settlement to be paid by the gun distributor Valor.

The jury found that since the gun resembled a toy and lacked what they deemed a sufficient safety device, Valor would have to pay five percent of the total award. It defies logic to see how a student, who was sent home from school for disciplinary reasons, who stole a gun, who brought the gun to school, and who pointed it at and shot his teacher, would have thought the gun was a toy or how a "safety device" would have prevented his deliberate and homicidal act.

Lawrence Keane, Vice President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation noted, "This was a verdict based on emotion, sympathy for the victim, not the law. The firearm was legally sold and owned, but stolen, loaded, and pointed by a criminal. You might as well say Budweiser is responsible for drunk driving." Keane hoped, "An appellate court will have the sense to reverse this."

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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.