Sunday, December 04, 2005

Why Do We Even Try?

I was away on a business trip for a couple of days and really didn't keep up with gun news. When I got back I read some very discouraging news. Alphecca links a New York Times story telling how an anti-gun judge has ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against gun companies despite the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act.

You might remember the act, it says that courts will no longer hear frivolous lawsuits against the gun industry. Many gunnies could see how anti-gunnies would use lawsuits filed in anti-gun jurisdictions, heard by anti-gun judges, to cripple the firearms industry. Even Congress could see where such suits were headed and took action. But when you have anti-gun judges in sympathetic jurisdictions why let law stand in your way?

This particular case is being heard by Judge Jack Weinstein who is biased against guns. He presided in a 1999 trial that awarded damages to a plaintiff for negligent marketing--the only successful one of its kind. He must have cried himself to sleep when Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act.

Judge Weinstein agreed with plaintiff lawyers that their suit fit one of the Act's exception (maybe we should even use a Brady Campaign word--loophole). The exception said that a person could sue gun companies if their marketing violated state or Federal laws.

The plaintiffs argued that gun company marketing in other states allowed a surplus of guns to be available for illegal shipment to New York City thus violating a nuisance statute. Because an anti-gun judge agreed with them, this suit will continue unless the decision is reversed on appeal.

Once again several gun companies including such famous names as Beretta, Browning, Colt, Glock, and Smith & Wesson are paying lawyers to defend themselves in court for selling a legal product legally. No wonder guns are so expensive. And no wonder I'm feeling discouraged; why even pass laws if activist judges will find torturous paths around them?

If you think you don't have a horse in this race here's a quote from the City's attorney:
"Probably the most sweeping lawsuit against the gun industry is now poised to go to trial," Mr. Elkin said, "and if we're successful it will have wide-reaching effects on how guns are marketed and sold."
Weinstein's decision cannot stand.

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