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California Appeals Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Firearm Manufacturers

Friday, February 11, 2005

The gun-prohibitionists in California continue to shoot blanks.

In a unanimous decision Thursday, a California Appellate Court upheld an earlier Superior Court decision dismissing a junk lawsuit filed by Los Angeles, San Francisco and 12 other California cities and counties. The municipalities had alleged that the manufacturers were designing, marketing, and distributing firearms in an "unfair, deceptive and fraudulent" manner that "facilitates the weapon to be used in violent crimes."

A San Diego County Superior Court judge dismissed the case in 2003 on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not establish a link between the manufacturers` business practices and criminals acquiring firearms. In that decision, Judge Vincent P. DiFiglia said, "There is no competent evidence before the Court that any criminal acquisition can be attributed to conduct by the [gun industry defendants]."

Affirming Judge DiFiglia`s decision, California Appellate Court Judge James Marchiano said, "The only business practice the defendants in this case have engaged in is marketing their products in a lawful manner to federally licensed dealers. No evidence in this case hints that any of the manufacturer defendants provided weapons to criminals or failed to properly record sales or did any of the other acts that plaintiffs characterize as high-risk business practices. They did not control the wrongful acts or encourage others to engage in questionable acts. Neither did they change their business practices to avoid proposed regulations or advise retailers on ways to circumvent the law. Even plaintiffs` experts could not present an evidentiary link between the manufacturer of a firearm and a retail gun dealer who sold guns that ended up in criminal circumstances."

The Appellate Court`s unanimous ruling represents yet another serious blow to the anti-gunners` efforts to litigate the gun industry out of business, but does not mitigate the need for passage of a federal law to end these suits.

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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.