pageok
pageok
pageok
D.C. lawsuit against gun manufacturers is dismissed:

A unanimous 3-judge decision of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals has dismissed a municipal lawsuit brought against firearms manufacturers, District of Columbia v. Beretta et al. The court ruled that the suit was barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005, and which by its terms applies to all pending and future cases.

In the first part of the decision, the court rules that the congressional act applies to lawsuits brought under D.C.'s Strict Liability Act, which imposes absolute liability on manufacturers for certain firearms injuries. The second part of the decision rejects various arguments that it is unconstitutional for a congressional statute to be applied to a lawsuit that has already been filed.

therut:
Yes. Wonderful and the right decision.
1.10.2008 7:28pm
Fredrik Nyman XXX (mail):
does the PLCAA as applied to the plaintiffs' pending claims [...] constitute a "taking" under the
Fifth Amendment for which "just compensation" must be paid.


Please tell me that this is a rather novel claim, especially when made by a government entity.
1.10.2008 11:35pm
Gary Imhoff (mail) (www):
How quickly things have changed. This strict liability law was passed just several years ago, when local legislators in DC and a few other cities were dreaming of imposing a complete ban on guns nationwide through bankrupting domestic gun manufacturers and importers of foreign-made guns. Now gun rights advocates are dreaming of soon having the Supreme Court issue a decision that will clearly reinforce the position that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right.
1.11.2008 12:14am
Dwin:
It's official: you can buy immunity in Congress. And its cheaper then paying for torts.

All we need, is Bloody Tony (Scalia) to rubber stamp it.
1.11.2008 7:05am
Edward Lunny (mail):
"All we need, is Bloody Tony (Scalia) to rubber stamp it."...One would hope that you also attribute the same level of responsibilty for violence to those incompetent adminstrations and law enforcement departments that have been ,at least, complicit in allowing illegal firearms sales to occur on their streets and refusing to investigate and/or punish those whom perpetrate these sales. As well, to those residents whom aid these purveyors of death, implicitly as well as explicitly, while allowing the denizens to usurp their neighborhoods. Can you offer any evidence that firearms manufacturers are in any way responsible for the crimes that you allude to ? Or, is yours another ban the guns screed ?
1.11.2008 8:30am
Dustin's Gun Blog (www):
Excellent news. Hopefully this will finally bring an end to this type of abuse of power &waste of public resources to attack gun rights by local governments.
1.11.2008 9:23am
Wayne Jarvis:
I think its will faaaantastic when the gun manufacturers are bankrupt and the police have to protect my family with pepper-spray and karate.

[Insert random inane attack on Justice Scalia.]
1.11.2008 9:25am
WHOI Jacket:
It made as much sense as suing GM for a hit and run incident. Glad common sense prevailed.
1.11.2008 9:51am
Houston Lawyer:
DC should be required to pay the legal fees and expenses of the companies the sued. This suit and those like it are a very good reason to go with a loser pays system.
1.11.2008 10:25am
therut:
Yea these types of lawsuits were a direct result of President Clinton. He thought them a good idea. I despise him for his callous attitude of trying to use the force of civil suits (of extremely dubious nature) to force his ideology and assault on the Constitution. SHAME. These lawsuits were dreamed up by the Executive of the USA and suppported by the Justice Dept. as a way to deprive citizens of a Constitutional Right.I say again SHAME on him and all those who supported this insanity.
1.11.2008 11:08am
David M (www):
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 01/11/2008 A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
1.11.2008 11:16am
Waldensian (mail):

It made as much sense as suing GM for a hit and run incident. Glad common sense prevailed.

Good point, and actually it made even less sense: guns, unlike cars, are actually DESIGNED to kill people.

Meanwhile, I would like to use a gun on that Thunder Run guy.
1.11.2008 11:35am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
It's official: you can buy immunity in Congress. And its cheaper then paying for torts.


Considering that the Plaintiffs were upfront that their goal was to drown the industry in litigation expenses in multiple jurisdictions, I won't shed any tears for them.
1.11.2008 12:07pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Now, I understand that a law has been passed that indemnifies the industry and makes this decision the right one, but wasn't the basis of the original lawsuits much the same as the criminal and civil charges brought against the makers of oxycontin--that the gun manufacturers, in both their reckless manufacturing and marketing were introducing products into commerce that they must have at least had constructive knowledge were going to be used for illegal purposes (e.g., selling many more handguns to shops just outside the city limits of Chicago than the local market could legally bear).
1.11.2008 12:39pm
Houston Lawyer:
JF

On that theory, we could sue car manufacturers and alcohol manufacturers. Both sell legal products that they know will be used (by some) for illegal purposes. Both result in far more deaths than from illegal guns. Shouldn't computer makers also be held responsible for the child porn that can be stored on the devices they make?
1.11.2008 12:52pm
WHOI Jacket:
Actually, Houston, a better analogy to this case would be to sue Texas Instruments if a TI-86 was utilized to calculate the logistics of a tax fraud scheme.
1.11.2008 1:00pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
On that theory, we could sue car manufacturers and alcohol manufacturers.

Well, here is the direct analogy. In the mid-eighties Georgia (as did a number of other states) banned cars with dark-tinted windows because they were being used in an inordinate amount of drive by shootings and were seen as a threat to law enforcement. Say that the demand for dark tinted windows suddenly tripled in dealerships along the border in Florida and furthermore that several of these vehicles were involved in drive-by shootings and even the shootings of police in Georgia. Yet when the CEO was asked about it, all he says is "we sell vehicles that are perfectly legal in Florida, and by the way, our windows have the darkest tint available on the market", followed by a big wink. Now, his actions and words may not be a crime, or even subject to a civil suit, but you've got to admit, he is one hell of a douchebag.
1.11.2008 1:59pm
Yankev (mail):

Considering that the Plaintiffs were upfront that their goal was to drown the industry in litigation expenses in multiple jurisdictions

The Code of Professional Responsibilty had a DR against that sort of thing. Don't the Model Rules have a similar prohibition?
1.11.2008 2:05pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
On that theory, we could sue car manufacturers and alcohol manufacturers. Both sell legal products that they know will be used (by some) for illegal purposes.

Actually, alcohol and have to be very careful that they don't appear to be advocating the use of their products for illegal purposes and spend millions of dollars trying to encourage people not to drink to excess or drive drunk, both of which presumably negatively affect their bottom line. Likewise, I have never seen a car ad that touts a vehicle as the perfect one to outrun the cops with or with plenty of hidden panels perfect for concealing contraband.
1.11.2008 2:06pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
On that theory, we could sue car manufacturers and alcohol manufacturers

And while I don't think manufacturers have been sued, certainly many providers of alcohol, from parents to bar and restaraunt owners, to corporations sponsoring company christmas parties, have been held liable when someone has gone out and caused an accident after getting drunk on alcohol supplied by another.
1.11.2008 2:11pm
Milhouse (www):
A gun shop outside Chicago shouldn't have to care what laws the Chicago city council makes. It's not even slightly douchebaggy to undermine the bad laws of another jurisdiction by assisting residents of that place to break them. If Chicago wants to (unconstitutionally) ban its residents from owning guns, then let it enforce that law, within its own borders. But it's not entitled to cooperation, even passive, from anyone even one foot outside those borders.

Or do you think there's something douchebaggy about abortion clinics catering to clients from a state with more restrictive laws?
1.11.2008 2:20pm
Milhouse (www):
The gun shops outside Chicago do not know, constructively or otherwise, that the guns they sell to Chicago residents will be used for actual crimes, i.e. things that are also illegal where the shops are, such as robbery or murder. The only illegal purpose they do know they will be used for is that of being possessed within the city. And since that purpose isn't illegal where they are, and shouldn't be illegal anywhere, they're perfectly within their rights.

Do you feel the same way about liquor stores bordering dry counties? Do you think they should not sell to people from across the street, because they're likely to take their purchases home, thus breaking the laws of Across-The-Street County?
1.11.2008 2:26pm
Frank Sarsfield (mail) (www):
Smuggling is the oldest American industry. The British and Spanish could not stop it. It took all of the Union Navy and the capture of all Southern ports by infantry to stop it in 1864-65. Prohibition could not stop it.

Even today, some folks who say that you cannot keep marijuana out of America and that you cannot "legislate morality" want to say that we can keep out guns. What if the legitimate gun manufacturers in the U.S., Italy, and Germany were run out of business by tort cases? You would see counterfeit guns coming in from countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They'd be untraceable.
1.11.2008 2:31pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
And since that purpose isn't illegal where they are, and shouldn't be illegal anywhere, they're perfectly within their rights.

Just because you think something shouldn't be illegal doesn't mean it is illegal. Actually the gun shops in question outside of Chicago did know (or at least thought) that the guns were being purchased for illegal purchases, as the undercover cops clearly told the sellers they were making straw purchases for felons (only fancy legal manuevering by lawyers got that evidence excluded).

Your argument about dry counties is not valid as dry counties prohibit the sale (not the possession) of alcohol. You are right though that some jurisdictions (Kansas and Utah come to mind) do have laws that purport to prohibit the importation of alcohol from out of state. I don't know if Kansas ever had stings at border liquor stores in Missouri but I do know that Sundays (when you couldn't buy liquour in Kansas) the border stores in Missouri did some of their best business when I lived in Kansas City.
1.11.2008 2:38pm
Houston Lawyer:
JF

If you've seen an ad where a gun manufacturer showcased its guns as being the favorites of gang bangers and pimps or otherwise glorifying their illegal use, I'd like to know.
1.11.2008 3:15pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
If you've seen an ad where a gun manufacturer showcased its guns as being the favorites of gang bangers and pimps or otherwise glorifying their illegal use, I'd like to know.

Obviously I was being hyperbolic, but the point was made (inaccurately) that alcohol manufacturers would not be held liable for making such ads. There is little doubt they would. And both cigarette and drug (e.g., the recent Oxycontin case) manufacturers have been held liable for the damage their legal products caused--even when used legally and as intended.

As a further point, if a gun manufacturer now decided to go after the gang-banger and pimp market and did market his guns as "best for drive-bys" or paid to have his gun prominently placed in the next 50 cent video, apparently this law would completely indemnify him from any kind of action.
1.11.2008 3:58pm
glangston (mail):

Oxycontin mis-represented their product. Gun manufacturers seen to participate in firearm safety education.
1.11.2008 5:35pm
Waldensian (mail):

Actually the gun shops in question outside of Chicago did know (or at least thought) that the guns were being purchased for illegal purchases, as the undercover cops clearly told the sellers they were making straw purchases for felons (only fancy legal manuevering by lawyers got that evidence excluded).

You have changed the argument. Straw sales are an entirely different issue. They are plainly illegal, and anyone making a straw sale should be prosecuted.

There is, however, no basis for prosecuting somebody who makes a legal sale, even if he or she does so 3 feet from the border of, for example, a non-gun jurisdiction like DC. That situation is no different from liquor stores or abortion clinics. Viva federalism.
1.11.2008 6:21pm
K Parker (mail):

glangston,
OxycontinPurdue Pharma mis-represented their product.
Really? I hadn't heard that; got a link for that? ["Oxycontin" is the name of the product, not the company.]
1.11.2008 6:42pm
Nomen Nescio (mail):
J.F. Thomas, speaking of his marketing-to-criminals analogy:

Obviously I was being hyperbolic,


i must be daft, because it was not obvious to me. which firearms advertisements or marketing gimmicks were you analogizing to, exactly, and why do you feel your analogy was valid?
1.11.2008 8:18pm
Dave D. (mail):
...J.F. Thomas rarely has a link to any of his assertions. He makes them up from thin air, and that requires no links. When called to account, he claims hyperbole or simile or metaphorical penumbra. Mr Thomas thinks, therefore he knows....all things.
1.11.2008 8:30pm
Steve2:

does the PLCAA as applied to the plaintiffs' pending claims [...] constitute a "taking" under the
Fifth Amendment for which "just compensation" must be paid.

Please tell me that this is a rather novel claim, especially when made by a government entity.


Frederick, I don't know about a 5th amendment taking, but I never have understood what equitable basis there is for allowing statutes to apply to pending lawsuits.
1.11.2008 8:50pm
glangston (mail):
1.11.2008 9:28pm
K Parker (mail):
glangston,

Thanks for the link.
1.11.2008 10:08pm
Vinnie (mail):
"J.F. Thomas rarely has a link to any of his assertions."
Well he is dead wrong about Utah's alcohol laws. Scotch is cheaper there than In Idaho. Less state tax. I used to live near the border.
1.11.2008 10:12pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
but wasn't the basis of the original lawsuits much the same as the criminal and civil charges brought against the makers of oxycontin--that the gun manufacturers
had deep pockets, relative to people who had actually done something wrong? Yes, that was the basis of both sets of lawsuits.
1.11.2008 11:19pm
Steve in CT (mail):

...that the gun manufacturers, in both their reckless manufacturing and marketing were introducing products into commerce that they must have at least had constructive knowledge were going to be used for illegal purposes (e.g., selling many more handguns to shops just outside the city limits of Chicago than the local market could legally bear).


How could anyone know what the market could legally bear?? Unless there are some laws restricting quantity of firearms in Illinois (wouldn't surprise me) there is no way to quantify the potential number of sales. The manufacturer of any product that could be used in the commission of a crime (auto, knife, gun, rope...) knows that at some point the product will be misused. How can that possibly be stopped by the manufacturer, especially if it happens years later? Those are completely specious arguments.
1.12.2008 4:33am
Bob in SeaTac (mail):
Waldensian: ...guns, unlike cars, are actually DESIGNED to kill people.

Guns are designed to fire a projectile. They are only a tool, and as Shane said (maybe slight misquote): A gun is only a tool, as good or as bad as the man that uses it.

It is about time VC posters understood the difference between a tool and its user.
1.12.2008 3:22pm
Waldensian (mail):

It is about time VC posters understood the difference between a tool and its user.

Oh please. Spare me the judgmental harumphing.

Nobody is more in favor of blaming criminals for criminal conduct than I am, and nobody is less in favor of demonizing firearms. I was simply pointing out that suing a gun manufacturer because a gun killed someone is even MORE bizarre than suing a car manufacturer for a hit-and-run.

Sort of like suing the manufacturer of rat poison because the stuff.... poisoned somebody.

In any event, you are quite wrong. The vast majority of guns are, in fact, designed to kill people, animals, whatever. Call it a tool and quote Shane all you want, but that's not contrary to my view. A firearm is, in most cases, a TOOL for firing a projectile into a living thing for the purpose of harming or killing that living thing.
1.13.2008 5:00pm