Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Reckless Lawsuits—What The Courts Say

Friday, March 18, 2005

Judicial Activism

"It seems that plaintiffs seek injunctive relief from this court because relief has not been forthcoming from the General Assembly. We are reluctant to interfere in the lawmaking process in the manner suggested by plaintiffs, especially when the product at issue is already so heavily regulated by both the state and federal governments. We, therefore, conclude that there are strong public policy reasons to defer to the legislature in the matter of regulating the manufacture, distribution, and sale of firearms." Supreme Court of Illinois, Chicago v. Beretta (2004)

"[The] courts are the least suited, least equipped, and thus the least appropriate branch of government to regulate and micro-manage the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of handguns." Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, People of New York v. Sturm, Ruger (2003)

"The practical effect of the [doctrine of preemption by the state legislature] is to preclude all other local or special laws on the same subject. That the City has filed a lawsuit rather than passing an ordinance does not make this any less usurpation of State power. The City may not do indirectly what it cannot do directly." Court of Appeals of Georgia, Sturm, Ruger v. Atlanta (2002)

"[T]he court will not twist a jury trial involving municipal costs into a wildly expensive referendum on handgun control. The Mayor and the City must find another means to their ends." Delaware Superior Court, Baker v. Smith & Wesson (2002)

"[Miami-Dade County, Florida’s] frustration cannot be alleviated through litigation as the judiciary is not empowered to enact regulatory measures in the guise of injunctive relief. The power to legislate belongs not to the judicial branch of government but to the legislative branch." Florida Third District Court of Appeals, Penelas v. Arms Technology (2001)

"[Philadelphia’s] action seeks to control the gun industry by litigation, an end the City could not accomplish by passing an ordinance." U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia v. Beretta (2000)

 

Exotic Legal Theories

"Plaintiffs have advanced a novel approach to an old theory by targeting the gun manufacturers. Unfortunately, this was a theory in search of a case, and the defendants are out of range." U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia v. Beretta (2000)

"The Court sees no duty on the manufacturers part that goes beyond their duties with respect to design and manufacture. The Court cannot imagine that a weapon can be designed that operates for law-abiding people, but not for criminals." Delaware Superior Court, Sills v. Smith & Wesson (2000)

 

Attacking a Law-Abiding Industry

"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. The record in this case shows that the only business practice that these defendants engage in is the manufacture and sale of firearms to dealers that are licensed as such by the federal government. Plaintiffs have cited no cases finding a manufacturer has engaged in an unfair practice solely by legally selling a non-defective product based on actions taken by entities further along the chain of distribution. 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. It is important to emphasize that the evidence presented did not show that any defendant had actual knowledge that specific retailers were illegally supplying guns to the crime gun market or took any action to aid or encourage such activity." California Court of Appeals, 1st Appellate District, People v. Arcadia Machine & Tool, Inc. (2005)

 

Liability for Actions of Others

"[W]e are reluctant to state that there is a public right to be free from the threat that some individuals may use an otherwise legal product (be it a gun, liquor, a car, a cell phone, or some other instrumentality) in a manner that may create a risk of harm to another. . . . We conclude that there is no authority for the unprecedented expansion of the concept of public rights to encompass the right asserted by plaintiffs." Supreme Court of Illinois, Chicago v. Beretta (2004)

"[N]o legal duty exists upon these defendants to protect citizens from the deliberate and unlawful use of their products." U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia v. Beretta (2000)

 

Remote Effects and Lack of Causation

"[W]e hold that proximate cause cannot be established as to the dealer defendants because the claimed harm is the aggregate result of numerous unforeseeable intervening criminal acts by third parties not under defendant’s control. By implication, proximate cause is also lacking as to the manufacturer and distributor defendants, who are even further removed from the intervening criminal acts." Supreme Court of Illinois, Chicago v. Beretta (2004)

"The harm allegedly suffered by the Plaintiff and the actions of Defendants here that are alleged to have caused that harm are simply too remote to support a claim … based on a theory of either public nuisance or negligence. Because the product here in dispute is a non-defective one, any possible recovery by Plaintiff from Defendant under a product liability claim is undercut." Circuit Court of St. Louis County, St. Louis v. Cernicek (2003)

"It cannot be denied that factors other than the defendant’s manufacture, advertisement, distribution and retail sales of guns contribute in significant measure to the various harms claimed by the plaintiffs. The scourge of illegal drugs, poverty, illiteracy, inadequacies in the public educational system, the birth rates of unmarried teenagers, the disintegration of family relationships, the decades long trend of the middle class moving from city to suburb, the decades long movement of industry from the northeast rust belt to the south and southwest, the swings of the national and state economies, the upward track of health costs generally, both at the state and national level, unemployment, and even the construction of the national interstate highway system, to name a few, reasonably may be regarded as contributing to Bridgeport's increased crime rate …" Supreme Court of Connecticut, Ganim v. Smith & Wesson (2001)

 

Public Nuisance

"[I]f public nuisance law were permitted to encompass product liability, nuisance law would become a monster that would devour in one gulp the entire law of tort. If defective products are not a public nuisance as a matter of law, then the non-defective, lawful products at issue in this case cannot be a nuisance without straining the law to absurdity. To extend public nuisance law to embrace the manufacture of handguns would be unprecedented under New Jersey state law and unprecedented nationwide for an appellate court." New Jersey 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Camden Co. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders v. Beretta (2001)

 

Impact on Other Industries

"[G]iving a green light to a common-law public nuisance cause of action [against the firearms industry] will, in our judgment, likely open the courthouse doors to a flood of limitless, similar theories of public nuisance, not only against these defendants, but also against a wide and varied array of other commercial and manufacturing enterprises and activities. All a creative mind would need to do is construct a scenario describing a known or perceived harm of a sort that can somehow be said to relate back to the way a company or an industry makes, markets and/or sells its non-defective, lawful product or service, and a public nuisance claim would be conceived and a lawsuit born. A variety of such lawsuits would leave the starting gate to be welcomed into the legal arena to run their cumbersome course, their vast cost and tenuous reasoning notwithstanding." Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, People of New York v. Sturm, Ruger (2003)

"In addition to the quite reasonable fears of this and other courts which have examined the issue of opening a floodgate to additional litigation, the end of which cannot even be imagined, there are issues of both logic and fairness that weigh heavily in favor of granting the present motion to dismiss." Circuit Court of St. Louis County, St. Louis v. Cernicek (2003)

TRENDING NOW
No Gov. Northam, Your Gun Ban is NOT Constitutional

News  

Friday, December 13, 2019

No Gov. Northam, Your Gun Ban is NOT Constitutional

As Virginia gun owners have shown their displeasure with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed attack on their rights in city and county meetings across the Old Dominion, Northam has been forced to answer questions about ...

Bloomberg Bought Virginia Legislators Introduce Confiscatory Gun Ban

News  

Monday, November 25, 2019

Bloomberg Bought Virginia Legislators Introduce Confiscatory Gun Ban

Michael Bloomberg’s bought and paid for Virginia legislators have wasted no time introducing legislation that would make the Old Dominion’s gun laws worse than those of the billionaire’s home state of New York.

Member Spotlight: Meet the hunter who stands up to those who call her a ‘murderer'

Hunting  

News  

Monday, December 9, 2019

Member Spotlight: Meet the hunter who stands up to those who call her a ‘murderer'

America’s hunters are increasingly under fire by political extremists. Hunter and philanthropic consultant Britt Longoria has been at the center of an online hate campaign by animal rights extremists who don’t understand where their food ...

Virginia Gov. Northam Seeks Gun Registration as Down Payment on Gun Confiscation

News  

Friday, December 13, 2019

Virginia Gov. Northam Seeks Gun Registration as Down Payment on Gun Confiscation

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) must think that Old Dominion gun owners are stupid. After months of Northam and his Michael Bloomberg-backed General Assembly allies advocating for the enactment of gun confiscation legislation, the governor ...

Pro-Gun Bill Introduced to Protect Lawful Gun Carriers from Federal-State Legal Trap

News  

Monday, December 9, 2019

Pro-Gun Bill Introduced to Protect Lawful Gun Carriers from Federal-State Legal Trap

Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) introduced a bill that would protect persons lawfully carrying firearms under state law, including in those states that do not require a carry permit, from being snared ...

Crooked California: Bad Gun Control Laws Once Again Foster Official Corruption

News  

Monday, December 9, 2019

Crooked California: Bad Gun Control Laws Once Again Foster Official Corruption

In news that will not shock gun rights supporters, the anti-gun utopia of California has provided further evidence that unjust gun control laws invite official corruption. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s ...

Massachusetts: Hearing on Bill to Mandate Doctors Push State’s Anti-Gun Agenda

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Massachusetts: Hearing on Bill to Mandate Doctors Push State’s Anti-Gun Agenda

On December 10th, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health will hear House Bill 2005 to impose a mandatory requirement for doctors to ask patients about firearms in their homes and for the type of ...

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

Friday, November 15, 2019

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

On Friday, November 22nd, the Kentucky state Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary will consider so called “red-flag laws.” Though no legislation has been introduced, such laws usually allow for Second Amendment rights to be suspended ...

NRA's Statement on Second Amendment Sanctuaries

News  

Friday, December 6, 2019

NRA's Statement on Second Amendment Sanctuaries

Read the NRA's statement on Second Amendment sanctuaries. “It is the tyrannical nature of politicians that triggers sanctuary, not the other way around...”

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

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.