The US gun makers, such as Beretta U.S.A., Browning Arms, Colt Manufacturing, Glock and Smith & Wesson, got a big relief when a federal appeals court dismissed New York City’s longstanding lawsuit against some 37 gun manufacturers of the gun industry on Wednesday. The court ruled that a relatively new federal law protects the gun makers against such suits.
New York, Atlanta and more than 30 other cities tried to sue gun manufacturers in an effort to curb violence committed with guns that were sold and bought illegally. The NY city’s suit, filed in 2000, was upheld in December 2005 by Judge Jack B. Weinstein of Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Judge Weinstein allowed it to move forward, despite protests by gun makers.
The gun makers cited a federal law that had been passed two months earlier. The law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, banned all suits against the gun industry except those in which a plaintiff could prove that gun makers had violated state or federal statutes in their sales and marketing practices.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the NY Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg expressed disappointment in the decision but said it would have no effect on the suits still pending against the dealers, which claimed a clear violation of gun-sale laws. He said, “Regardless of this ruling, we will continue our fight against illegal guns full-bore — in the courtrooms, on the streets, and in Congress.”