Industry prevails! Courts continue to toss junk lawsuits.

Author:Thurman, Russ
Position:Industry news

The shooting sports industry continues to prevail in the nation's courts as judges dismiss what have become known as "junk lawsuits."

In late June, a New York appellate court upheld a trial court's dismissal of a lawsuit against the industry that had been filled by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The appellate court ruled that manufacturers of lawful and non-defective products cannot be sued for allegedly creating a "public nuisance" when criminals misuse firearms.

Just as important, the appellate court wrote, "that courts are the least suited, least equipped, and thus the least appropriate branch of government to regulate and micro-manage the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of handguns."

"We are extremely pleased and gratified that the appeals court has found that Attorney General Spitzer's politically motivated lawsuit lacks any legal merit, precisely what other courts around the county have concluded in dismissing similar 'junk' lawsuits filed against our industry," said Lawrence G. Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation's vice president and general counsel.

In late July, the industry won another significant victory when New York Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein dismissed the NAACP lawsuit. The suit alleged that firearm manufacturers and distributors had created a public nuisance in New York and specifically harmed NAACP and its members.

While industry leaders were pleased with the decision, they were critical of Judge Weinsten's overall handling of the case and comments he made in his final ruling.

"This latest action by Judge Weinstein shows he should have granted defendant's motion to dismiss the case well prior to trial based upon the NAACP's lack of standing to bring this lawsuit," said Stephen L. Sanetti, president of Sturm, Ruger. "Instead, he forced all parties to go through a lengthy and expensive trial in which the...

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