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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 5 1/31/2003



The gun-ban lobby’s reckless lawsuit agenda was dealt another devastating blow on Monday, January 27, when Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga threw out the November 2002 jury verdict in the case of Grunow v. Valor. The Palm Beach County jury originally ordered Valor Corporation, a firearm distributor, to pay $1.2 million dollars in a suit stemming from the murder of teacher Barry Grunow in 2000. But Judge Labarga overturned the award, citing the fact that the jury held the firearm used was not defective, so Valor could not be held responsible when it had legally sold a lawful, non-defective firearm.

The November verdict was one of the few positive moments for the gun-ban lobby’s agenda of promoting predatory lawsuits against the law-abiding firearms industry. When the ruling was originally announced, it was hailed by the Brady Center—formerly known as HCI—as a "landmark verdict," but an attorney working for the Brady Center responded to Labarga’s ruling by saying it would not set legal precedent, reports The Miami Herald.

Perhaps he’s right, as there is already plenty of legal precedent affirming that the firearms industry cannot be held responsible for the acts of criminals when they use a lawful, non-defective firearm to commit violent crimes. But despite the fact that anti-gun extremists continue to suffer crushing defeat after crushing defeat in their quest to place blame on gun makers for the acts of criminals, there is no doubt they will not abandon their frivolous litigation. Their ultimate goal, after all, is to drive gun makers into bankruptcy. And while the courts continually reject their suits, they can simply try to achieve their goal by saddling the industry with the crushing financial burden of defending itself against countless predatory lawsuits.

For this reason, one of NRA’s top priorities during this congressional session is the passage of federal legislation that will prohibit these junk lawsuits. We had tremendous success last year gaining support for bills in the House and the Senate, but time ran out before either could be given full consideration. The House bill (H.R. 2037) ended up with 231 cosponsors, more than a majority of congressmen, while the Senate’s version (S. 2268) ended up with 46 cosponsors, which is almost a majority. Although no legislation has been introduced to date, it is still early in the session, and NRA is working with our friends in Congress to ensure that bills are introduced in each chamber soon. Thirty states have enacted similar legislation.

Please contact your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators and urge them to support and cosponsor federal reckless lawsuit preemption legislation that will bring an end to this unwarranted harassment of law-abiding gun manufacturers. You can reach your U.S. Representative by calling (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121. For additional contact information, use our "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org.




California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) has finally acknowledged what NRA has been saying for some time—any ballistic "fingerprinting" scheme implemented today would be flawed and unworkable. In his report, released on Wednesday, January 29, Lockyer said, "[O]ur analysis concludes that today’s technology is not yet adequate to handle the volume associated with adding all new guns to the database and still provide useful information for investigators." And even though California’s anti-gun AG failed to mention that such a database would also infringe on the rights of millions of law-abiding Americans, his announcement should still help in efforts to derail the attempt by anti-gun extremists to waste millions of tax-payer dollars on what amounts to little more than a scheme to register guns and gun owners.

The Lockyer report comes after what seemed like several attempts to find a way to justify establishing a ballistic "fingerprinting" scheme. After a study conducted by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensic Services, exposed many of the flaws with such a database, Lockyer had the results buried, then shopped around for another study. Lockyer’s DOJ turned to Dr. Jan De Kinder of the National Institute for Forensic Science in Belgium, but he also concluded a ballistic "fingerprinting" scheme would be ineffective as a crime fighting tool. Faced with the overwhelming evidence, Lockyer conceded in this week’s report that a ballistic "fingerprinting" database is simply not feasible as a tool for law enforcement.

Unfortunately, we can anticipate that many anti-gun extremists will ignore the mountains of evidence that expose ballistic "fingerprinting" schemes as a waste of critical law enforcement funds that can be better spent on programs that actually help fight crime. In fact, anti-gun Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) has introduced S. 22, a bill that includes language calling for ballistic "fingerprinting." And in the House, anti-gun U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra (D-Cal.) has introduced H.R. 24, which would also establish such a system.

Please contact your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators and urge them to oppose these bills, as well as any attempt to mandate a ballistic "fingerprinting" scheme. You can reach your U.S. Representative by calling (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121. For additional contact information, use our "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org.




This week, Representative Jim Aslanides (R-94) introduced HB 12, along with 55 bipartisan co-sponsors, which would allow law-abiding citizens who meet certain requirements to carry concealed firearms. The House and Senate passed such bills last year, but the legislation died before the differences between the versions were ironed out. The House spent much of last session marking up the bill and held more than a dozen hearings on it. Aslanides’ bill would require sheriffs to issue permits to Ohioans who pass criminal background checks and successfully complete firearms training. For more information on HB 12, you can log onto the State’s website.



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.