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Senate Bill 13

Friday, August 1, 2003

What does Senate Bill 13 do?

  • Senate Bill 13 puts a stop to local governments` attempts to deflect attention from their inability to control crime in their cities by filing frivolous lawsuits against firearm manufacturers to recover costs related to criminal misuse of their products.
  • Senate Bill 13 clearly attempts to stop abuses of the court system by local governments, but does not affect the traditional right to sue over a defective product or breach of warranty or contract.
  • More than two dozen cities and counties have filed these suits (including St. Louis, MO) in an attempt to use the courts to set public policy, thus circumventing the legislative process.
  • Evidence of the attempt to abuse the judicial system to usurp the legislature`s role can be seen in several court opinions where these suits have been dismissed, including federal court in California.

Why is the legislation necessary?

  • Spearheaded by the anti-gun lobby, these suits intend to circumvent Congress and state legislatures to achieve handgun prohibition through the courts.
  • While dozens of these suits have been filed, court after court (including the U.S. Supreme Court and three state Supreme Courts) has rejected their claims.
  • Anti-gun mayors, aided by greedy trial lawyers, continue to file these suits in hopes of bankrupting this legal industry as a part of their political agenda.
  • Bankrupting legitimate and legal businesses only hurts Missouri citizens.
    • By bankrupting the firearm industry, government would be interfering with the people`s right to Keep and Bear Arms under the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions.
    • If competition in the marketplace is diminished or completely eliminated, Missourians will be faced with higher prices for individual purchases. Local, state and federal firearm purchases for law enforcement and military purposes will also needlessly become more expensive.
    • In fact, the authorities who seek payment from these businesses for the cost of crime will only be increasing costs to their own citizens and ultimately increasing their own budgets. They will be destroying tax paying businesses and taking away jobs from honest citizens, including many in Missouri.

  • These lawsuits are bad public policy.
  • These lawsuits only hurt a legitimate industry and law-abiding Missouri citizens.
  • These lawsuits only hurt Missouri`s economy and unnecessarily places a burden on the state budget and taxpayers.
  • These lawsuits are an affront to our founding fathers and our constitution which provided for a separation of powers.
  • Public policy and lawmaking is the job of the legislature and this legislation will ensure this responsibility stays with them.
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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.