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Arizona Suit Supremely Rejected

Friday, March 28, 2003

Affirming a ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals, on March 21 the Arizona State Supreme Court ruled that neither the manufacturer, retail dealer, nor the promoter of the gun show where the gun was allegedly sold can be held legally liable for the murder of two Tucson Pizza Hut employees. The suit arose from the 1999 murder of two employees during a robbery. Christopher Huerstel and Kajornsak Prasertphong were convicted of the murders and sentenced to death, but the families of the murder victims, aided by attorneys that work closely with anti-gun organizations, filed a civil suit that included Glock, Inc., Centerfire, Inc. (a Tucson gun store), and McMann`s Roadrunner (a gun show promoter) as defendants. In writing for the appellate court, Judge Joseph Howard noted, "Third parties often can legally obtain handguns from private individuals or illegally on the street. Imposing additional liability on manufacturers and gun show operators would not have protective effect." The case was originally dismissed in 2001 by Pima Superior Court Judge Ted Borek who noted at that time that the families failed to prove the defendants had a duty to conform to "certain standards of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risk."

Though the Arizona Supreme Court mirrors an ongoing trend of tossing out on their ears these reckless lawsuits, it nonetheless demonstrates the compelling need for the passage of S. 659 (H.R. 1036 in the House)—the reckless lawsuit preemption bills currently pending in Congress. Our focus at this time is on the U.S. Senate. Those Senators who have already signed on to S. 659 deserve our thanks, so please contact them to express your support. Those who have not should be encouraged to sign on as cosponsors. To find out if your U.S. Senators have signed on yet, those on the Internet can go to the Library of Congress website. If you do not have Internet access, you can call the Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.

You can reach your U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121. For additional contact information, use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.

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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.