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Illinois Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Gun Industry

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fairfax, Va. - Today, the Illinois Supreme Court dismissed yet another reckless lawsuit aimed at putting firearms manufacturers out of business. Adames v. Beretta was dismissed under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCAA). The court’s order affirmed the original trial court judgment in the case.

This is the second judicial decision in 2009 upholding a dismissal under the PLCAA. Ten days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court denied appeals in the cases of New York v. Beretta and District of Columbia v. Beretta.

NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox said, “We are pleased that the Court recognized that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is the law of the land. America’s law-abiding firearms manufacturers must be protected from reckless suits, such as this one, that have no legal merit. Blaming gun manufacturers for the acts of criminals is not the way we do things in America, and today the Illinois Supreme Court confirmed this view.”

The Illinois Supreme Court found that “the discharge of the Beretta was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense, which act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death.”

The Court also agreed with the appellate court in finding the PLCAA was constitutional. Finally, it let stand the trial court’s findings that "the Beretta [pistol] was not unreasonably dangerous or defectively designed" and that the danger of pointing a gun at another person and pulling the trigger is open and obvious, even if the person pointing the gun mistakenly believes that the gun is not loaded.

Several cities and individual plaintiffs began suing firearm manufacturers in the late 1990s, based on the expectation that although the industry manufactured a legal product, forcing manufacturers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees just to prove their innocence in court would drive them into bankruptcy.

In addition to being based on bogus legal theories that seek to evade personal responsibility for criminal or reckless acts, these lawsuits endangered American military personnel and law enforcement officers. During congressional debate on the PLCAA, the Department of Defense issued a statement agreeing with the NRA that bankrupting U.S. gun makers and making us dependent on foreign countries like France, Russia or China for small arms would be a threat to America’s domestic and international security.


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

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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.