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California Reckless Suits Dealt Crushing Blow

Friday, March 7, 2003

On March 7, 2003 California Superior Court Judge Vincent P. DiFiglia dealt a stinging blow to the gun-ban lobby’s reckless lawsuit agenda when he granted summary judgment to the firearms industry, rejecting the suits of 12 California municipalities. "This is a definitive victory for us in a string of vindications that began a year ago when the City of Boston dropped its suit against the industry for lack of proof of wrongdoing," noted Lawrence G. Keane, Vice President and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. (NSSF), the firearms industry’s major trade association and a defendant in the case. (See the NSSF press release here) "Once again, this victory supports the long-held principle that responsible and law-abiding manufacturers of highly regulated, non-defective firearms cannot be held accountable when criminals misuse their legally sold products."

The rejection of these suits is an embarrassment for anti-gun extremists at many levels. The California Supreme Court rejected an HCI-backed reckless lawsuit in 2001, Merrill v. Navegar, which led to anti-gun extremists in the legislature repealing the law that prohibited such suits. These rejected suits were also "supported" by an affidavit submitted by Robert Ricker, HCI’s star "whistle-blower." But in the end, neither rewriting product liability laws nor testimony from an alleged "insider" could convince the court of the merits of the reckless lawsuit agenda. Judge DiFiglia still ruled in favor of common sense and law-abiding gun makers.

"The best path forward is to abandon this obviously faulty lawsuit strategy and work cooperatively to promote safety programs and communication, rather than pursuing a discredited theory for litigation that wastes the taxpayers’ money," Keane suggested. "Unfortunately, this is not the last of these cases remaining and the money wasted in this futile and unjust process points to the need for Congressional action to stop such wasteful lawsuits."

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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.