Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Judge Slams Brady Campaign for Frivolous Lawsuit that Costs Plaintiffs Over $200K

Friday, June 26, 2015

Judge Slams Brady Campaign for Frivolous Lawsuit that Costs Plaintiffs Over $200K

NRA priority legislation provides the foundation for Lucky Gunner Win

Sometimes victory is years in the making.  A recent court victory, however, reminds all of us how important the NRA-ILA's legislative victories can be, even many years or decades down the road.  Our hat is off to all the NRA members who answered the call to action while we waged a seven year pitched battle to protect firearm manufacturers and dealers against frivolous lawsuits for the criminal misuse of firearms and ammunition.  Your calls, emails, and letters from so many years ago were answered in the affirmative earlier this week.  

NRA supporters will remember that on October 26, 2005, President George W. Bush signed into law S. 397, NRA-ILA's priority legislation known as the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (PLCAA). This legislation was meant to protect the firearm industry from a coordinated campaign of antigun lawsuits claiming gun manufacturers and dealers were responsible for the criminal acts of third parties who were unknown to them and totally beyond their control.   

As legal theories go, these lawsuits were as ridiculous and unavailing as they come, but that wasn’t the point. Rather, the object was to force industry members either to go broke fighting similar suits all over the country or to coerce them into settlements by which they would "voluntarily" adopt policies the gun prohibition lobby had been unsuccessfully pushing in legislatures. To halt this abuse of the legal system, Congress enacted the PLCAA.  This law states that lawsuits may not be brought against lawful manufacturers and sellers of firearms or ammunition if the suits are based on the unlawful use of the product by a third party.  NRA considered this issue such a priority that we also pushed through similar protections in a majority of the states.   

For the most part, these laws have worked as intended. Yet the Brady Campaign, enjoying the recent influx of cash into antigun causes by megabucks donors, has in the last few years resurrected the strike suit tactics, apparently hoping the passage of time and outrage over the acts of a handful of high profile criminals will change their luck. Among their latest targets are businesses who advertise or sell products online, not coincidentally the same type of businesses in the crosshairs of Barack Obama's failed gun control push of 2013. While Brady’s efforts have resulted in repeated failure from a legal standpoint (see here, here, and here, for example), they seem content to use these tactics as a vehicle to spread their propaganda, attempt to smear members of industry, and maybe hit pay dirt with an activist like-minded judge.

Lucky Gunner to Donate to Second Amendment group with the most votes.

Lucky Gunner, one of the main plaintiffs in the suit, has announced that it will be donating 100% of what is recovered to groups that support and defend the 2nd Amendment by allowing website visitors to vote on which groups get the proceeds from their recovery.

Click Here and Vote for "National Rifle Association - ILA (Lobbying Arm)"

Yet the efforts are not without cost, and not just to the innocent business persons dragged into court. Besides trifling with the legal system, they exploit people whose lives have been touched by crime and who may or may not understand Brady's larger agenda or the limitations of its legal theories. Now, a Brady-backed suit has resulted in a judgment of over $200,000 against the parents of a victim who was killed in the movie theatre attack in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012.  

The suit was brought against online merchants who sold the perpetrator various items he used in his crime. To get around the PLCAA, the plaintiffs claimed that law was unconstitutional or that its various exceptions applied to their case. 

In a concise 19-page opinion dismissing the lawsuit, the court repeatedly cited precedent that directly contradicted the suit's claims. Ultimately, the court simply refused the plaintiffs' request to rewrite settled law to their liking. "To grant such relief this court must conduct hearings and make policy decisions that are within the authority of the political branches of government responsive to the people under our constitutional structure of representative government," Judge Richard P. Matsch wrote. "The defendants' motions to dismiss must be granted because this court does not have the authority to grant the relief requested."

The court was even more direct in an opinion released last week awarding the defendants defense costs and attorneys' fees. "It is apparent that this case was filed to pursue the political purposes of the Brady Center," Judge Matsch stated, "and, given the failure to present any cognizable legal claim, bringing these defendants into the Colorado court where the prosecution of James Holmes was proceeding appears to be more of an opportunity to propagandize the public and stigmatize the defendants than to obtain a court order which counsel should have known would be outside the authority of this court."

When all was said and done, the plaintiffs were ordered to pay the various defendants a total of $203,001.86. Just who will ultimately foot the bill is unknown, but Judge Matsch also noted the close relationship of the named plaintiffs to the Brady Campaign itself. Brady, having exploited the plaintiffs’ tragic circumstances for the group’s own political agenda, hopefully won’t leave the plaintiffs on the financial hook as well. Predictably, the fee award is being appealed.

In the meantime, Lucky Gunner, one of the main defendants in the suit, has announced that it will be donating "100% of what is recovered to groups that support and defend the 2nd Amendment" by allowing website visitors to vote on which groups get the proceeds from their recovery.  We can hope that these funds, when awarded by Lucky Gunner, go to the groups (and their members) who made a difference in getting the protections against such frivolous suits in place.   If you would like to vote for NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, you may do so here.

We'll give Lucky gunner the last word, as their statement announcing the decision says all that needs to be said about Brady’s ongoing campaign of abusive lawsuits.   

"Thank you for your continued support and interest in protecting 2nd Amendment rights. As we were very recently reminded, these rights are under constant assault and the stakes are high."

 

TRENDING NOW
DHS “Misinformation Governance Board” Could Seek to Sway Gun Debate

News  

Monday, May 16, 2022

DHS “Misinformation Governance Board” Could Seek to Sway Gun Debate

In late April, Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), made a bizarre announcement during a congressional hearing that DHS was forming what it called a “Mis- and Disinformation Governance Board.” The statement came ...

Follow the Science, Unless it Leads Where You Don’t Want to Go

News  

Monday, May 16, 2022

Follow the Science, Unless it Leads Where You Don’t Want to Go

Researchers in California have published the results of a study evaluating the effectiveness of so-called “gun violence restraining orders” (a.k.a. “extreme risk protection orders” or “red flag” orders). Assembly Bill 1014, was enacted in California in ...

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

News  

Friday, April 1, 2022

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

Half the country will now enjoy the freedom to carry a handgun for self-defense without a permit from the state thanks to the tireless efforts of men and women of the National Rifle Association. 

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.

NRA-ILA Spring 2022 Litigation Newsletter

News  

Friday, May 13, 2022

NRA-ILA Spring 2022 Litigation Newsletter

NRA-ILA’s Office of Litigation Counsel has been busy fighting for our members’ rights in courtrooms across the country. ILA has filed new cases, continued the fight in many existing cases, and scored some good wins. ...

Illinois: General Assembly Passes “Ghost Gun” Ban

Monday, April 11, 2022

Illinois: General Assembly Passes “Ghost Gun” Ban

On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee held a subject matter hearing on House Bill 4383 Senate Floor Amendment 2, to ban individuals from making their own firearms for personal use, and voted to advance the measure. ...

Grassroots Spotlight: Remembering Michael Omatsu

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Grassroots Spotlight: Remembering Michael Omatsu

The term "I am the NRA" speaks truth and strength to those special NRA members that choose to be strong advocates in their communities. Michael Omatsu was a passionate NRA-ILA FrontLines Activist Leader (FAL) who went ...

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Signs Constitutional Carry

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Signs Constitutional Carry

Today, Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 319, constitutional carry, into law. Georgia is now the 25th constitutional carry state, and the fourth to join that group in 2022. Half of the country now recognizes the right ...

New Jersey: “Mandatory Jail” Bill Scheduled for Senate Hearing Thursday

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

New Jersey: “Mandatory Jail” Bill Scheduled for Senate Hearing Thursday

Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee is scheduled to consider S.513, legislation which would create a rebuttable presumption of no bail for gun offenses.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

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.