Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Assault on Firearm Industry Fails: Federal Court Dismisses Ohio Lawsuit

Monday, October 21, 2019

Assault on Firearm Industry Fails: Federal Court Dismisses Ohio Lawsuit

On October 9, a federal court in Ohio considered and dismissed, with prejudice, a lawsuit against Smith & Wesson, Remington, Sig Sauer, and other gun manufacturers, arising from a class action brought by Primus Group LLC. Primus Group LLC v. Smith & Wesson Corp., et al, No. 2:19-cv-3450, 2019 WL 5067211 (S.D. Ohio, Oct. 9, 2019).

The failed lawsuit sought “drastic and immediate judicial action” against the firearm manufacturers to include: financial damages, a declaration that “assault weapon” sales were a “public nuisance” under Ohio law, and an order requiring the manufacturersto establish a nuisance abatement fund.” The anti-gun plaintiffs also sought an immediate, permanent injunction to prohibit further distribution and sales to “civilians,” alongside potential measures “to recall those assault weapons already in the hands of the public.” In other words, they wanted the court to order a panoply of gun control that would have included confiscation.

Apparently, the plaintiff behind this lawsuit—an Ohio company that operates restaurant and nightclub entertainment venues—felt that firearm manufacturers deserved to be sued because the design of their firearms were “negligently” enabling criminal acts of gun violence. To dramatize their theory, the plaintiffs also invoked an “Assault Weapon Fraud Enterprise” concept atop a violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act. Fortunately, the court wasn’t fooled by any of it.

As usual, the plaintiff’s complaint recited the usual twaddle from the gun-control playbook, indiscriminately conflating descriptors like “assault weapons,” “AR-15 type rifles,” “civilian semiautomatic rifles,” “assaultive capacity,” and “AR-15 style,” all of which were claimed to share “overwhelming firepower.” Predictably, the plaintiff’s litany of talking points included the inevitable fantastical flourish that the firearms had “military features that…enable shooters to spray large amounts of ammunition...”

According to these (former) plaintiffs, the firearm manufacturers needed to be sued because it was obvious that the risk of criminal use far outweighed the “negligible” utility of lawful uses like hunting, sporting or self-defense. The plaintiffs sought money from the firearm manufacturers because they felt that operators of entertainment venues (restaurants, bars, stadiums and shopping centers) were supposedly losing “market share due to public hysteria over the real threat of mass shootings” and incurred “increased costs due to the resulting increased security requirements.”

It didn’t work. The firearm manufacturersmoved to dismiss all claims, citing the obvious: the lack of standing to sue, the failure to state a claim, and the statutory immunity afforded under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) and Ohio law.

The case came before Judge Edmund Sargus, Jr. In a brief decision limited exclusively to the issue of standing, the judge granted the defendants’ motion and dismissed the case.

The plaintiff’s case was fundamentally misplaced. The perceived prospect of a possible threat—like a possible mass shooting at an entertainment venue—and lost “market share” due to increased security costs isn’t actionable. Such injuries do not rise above “a set of generalized grievances.” Like the supposed “benefits” of gun control, such “injuries” remain speculative and hypothetical. Perhaps this is why the judge remarked that courts should abstain from “engag[ing] in the judicial legislation of gun control measures” – bans of certain kinds of firearms – because courts, unlike legislatures, are not in a position to consider “all of the competing policy interests as well as the public will.”

Although the suit against the firearm manufacturers was properly dismissed with prejudice, the case offers an instructive glimpse into the mindset of the plaintiffs aiming for such litigation. Atop their hope of imposing exorbitant financial damages against manufacturers, the plaintiffs’ larger objective is to render the Second Amendment meaningless by shutting down all sales of guns to ordinary, law-abiding Americans.

The existing protections for firearm manufacturers are about to be tested in another case involving the scope of the PLCAA and manufacturer liability for designing, making, and distributing lawful firearms. Following a decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court earlier this year in Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms Int’l, LLC, the public is now awaiting a decision by the United States Supreme Court on whether the Court will grant review and agree to hear the appeal.

Because the issue is critical to our Second Amendment freedoms, the NRA has filed a brief in support of the petitioners, and your NRA-ILA will continue to keep you posted about this important litigation.

TRENDING NOW
Biden Reiterates Call to Ban 9mm Handguns

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Biden Reiterates Call to Ban 9mm Handguns

During a July 21 CNN “presidential town hall,” Joe Biden expressed his support for a ban on commonly-owned handguns. Responding to a question about the recent increase in violent crime, the career politician stated,

Great Expectations, Empty Promises: Gun Control in Washington State

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Great Expectations, Empty Promises: Gun Control in Washington State

For years, voters in the Evergreen State have been assured that if only they approve certain gun control ballot initiatives, they would “save lives” and reduce crime. The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), the organization pushing ...

How Anti-Gun Research Works

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

How Anti-Gun Research Works

The objective world mistrusts most gun policy research because it’s clear the objective is to produce an anti-gun outcome rather than honest analysis. Politicians and professional activists claim the mantle of evidence but will ignore ...

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.

St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner Ignores Violent Crime While Playing Politics with Gun Owners

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner Ignores Violent Crime While Playing Politics with Gun Owners

Similar to many other urban areas of the country, St. Louis saw a dramatic increase in homicide in 2020. The Gateway to the West’s homicide rate per 100 thousand residents exploded from 64.5 in 2019 to 87.2 in 2020. The homicide ...

Students “School” Antigun Education Officials on Civil Rights, Receive Large Settlements in Court Cases

News  

Monday, July 19, 2021

Students “School” Antigun Education Officials on Civil Rights, Receive Large Settlements in Court Cases

Last September we reported on the saga of Ka'Mauri Harrison, a Louisiana elementary school student who was suspended for having a BB gun that happened to come into view while the fourth grader was participating in online ...

Louisiana: Betrayal at the Capitol

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Louisiana: Betrayal at the Capitol

Yesterday, SB 118, Constitutional Carry, was defeated due to several Senators reversing their initial vote of support on the bill.  Two of the Senators who flip-flopped were Senators Patrick Connick (SD-8) and Louie Bernard (SD-31). 

NRA-ILA Applauds Rep. Claudia Tenney and U.S. House of Representatives’ Amicus Brief Supporting Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

NRA-ILA Applauds Rep. Claudia Tenney and U.S. House of Representatives’ Amicus Brief Supporting Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided to hear the NRA-ILA backed case challenging New York’s restrictive concealed-carry-licensing regime. NRA-ILA’s opening brief is located here.

Forty-Three Amicus Briefs Filed In Support OF NRA-ILA Backed Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Forty-Three Amicus Briefs Filed In Support OF NRA-ILA Backed Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided to hear the NRA-ILA backed case challenging New York’s restrictive concealed-carry-licensing regime. And just last week, NRA-ILA filed the opening brief in this crucial case, which is located here.

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.