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Reckless Lawsuit Dismissal Upheld In New York

Monday, June 30, 2003

The firearms industry has won another significant legal victory in the ongoing battle over reckless lawsuits. On June 24, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court affirmed a trial court`s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D). The appellate court found that it was "legally inappropriate, impractical and unrealistic" to force gun manufacturers to take steps to decrease the availability and illegal use of firearms.

This reckless lawsuit, brought by Mr. Spitzer in 2001, alleged that firearm manufacturers had created a "public nuisance" by knowingly distributing a "flood" of firearms used illegally by criminals. In August of that year, the trial court judge, State Supreme Court Justice Louis York, dismissed the suit, finding that the state`s case failed to link the firearms industry directly to the "public nuisance." York sensibly wrote, "it is obvious that the parties most directly responsible for the unlawful use of handguns are the individuals who unlawfully use them."

"We should applaud this victory, but the fight is far from over," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "This case is just another clear example of why the U. S. Senate must follow the lead of the House of Representatives and pass S. 659 to prohibit these reckless lawsuits." It is critical that you continue to contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to do everything in their power to ensure that this common sense bill is approved.

Commenting on the recent ruling, National Shooting Sports Foundation`s Vice President and General Counsel, Lawrence G. Keane, said, "We are extremely pleased and gratified that the appeals court has found that Attorney General Spitzer`s politically motivated lawsuit lacks any legal merit, precisely what other courts around the country have concluded in dismissing similar ‘junk` lawsuits filed against our industry. These lawsuits are nothing more than an attempt to circumvent Congress and state legislatures to impose through litigation an extreme anti-gun agenda repeatedly rejected by Congress and the American people."

You can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121. You may also use the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org for more contact information. Also, please continue to contact your U.S. Representative in opposition to H.R. 2038 and your U.S. Senators in opposition to S. 1034 (bills seeking to expand the 1994 Clinton gun ban). You can call your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121. You may also use the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org for additional contact information. Be sure to encourage your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to contact their lawmakers as well!

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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.