Trial Against Firearms Industry Starts In Brooklyn, NY
Marketing Is Not To Blame For Murder
NEWTOWN, CT - The NAACP's baseless lawsuit against the firearms industry seeking to blame manufacturers for the acts of criminals who illegally use firearms began today. The case is being heard in the Brooklyn federal courtroom of Judge Jack B. Weinstein, a well- known liberal, activist judge.
The claims made by the NAACP and their liberal, anti-gun lawyer Elisa Barnes are identical to several other lawsuits that have been thrown out of court or overturned on appeal across the nation. Most recently, an identical lawsuit, brought by several California cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Berkley and Oakland, was thrown out of court on March 7, 2003.
"This is the same baseless and defamatory claim that has been thrown out of court and utterly rejected across the county," said Lawrence G. Keane, vice president & general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearm industry's trade association. "Marketing is not to blame for murder," Keane added.
Ironically, the case starts just days after the joint NSSF and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) straw purchase detection and prevention program "Don't Lie for the Other Guy" won a major national award. The award, from the American Society of Association Executives, recognizes programs that "propel America forward with innovative projects in education, skills training, standards-setting, business and social innovation, knowledge, creation, citizenship and community service."
The "Don't Lie" program was created to help ATF help retailers identify and deter the illegal "straw purchase" of firearms.
"This award demonstrates the industry's genuine and longstanding commitment to work with law enforcement to combat the criminal misuse of firearms and further affirms what the City of Boston said when it voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit against the industry," Keane said.
In the paperwork requesting dismissal of its case against the firearms industry, the City of Boston acknowledged that the firearms industry as a whole is concerned with and committed to the legal, safe and responsible sale and use of their products. The city also acknowledged that the common goals it shares with the firearms industry could best be reached through cooperation and communication rather than expensive and time-consuming litigation.
"It's hard to understand how this case can continue when it's based on the same allegations a California judge dismissed as unproven after three years of exhaustive, comprehensive discovery," Keane said. "The NAACP's claims are without basis in fact.
"It's unfortunate that organizations and municipalities have chosen to sue the industry rather than work with it, as the City of Boston did, to prevent crime, prevent accidents and save lives. Enforcing existing laws is really a better use of taxpayer money than filing expensive, baseless lawsuits that will not prevent a single crime or save a single life," Keane added.
"This trial demonstrates the urgent need for Congress to enact common sense legal reform that will restore integrity and fairness to our nation's judicial system. The NSSF calls upon Congress to pass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act," Keane said.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (S. 659/H.R. 1036) is sponsored by a majority of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Act enjoys strong bipartisan support.
© 2003 National Shooting Sports Foundation
Permission is granted for broadcast, publication, retransmission to e-mail lists, WWW or any other copying or storage, in any medium, online or not, if 1) the text is forwarded in its entirety, including this paragraph, and 2) no fee is charged.