NRA, Gun Makers Seek Legislation to Ban Suits
The National Rifle Assn., mounting a counterattack against U.S. cities seeking to recover millions of dollars in damages from gun violence, has helped draft legislation in 14 states and Congress to bar cities and states from suing firearm manufacturers.
NRA supporters in three more states plan to introduce similar bills when their legislatures convene. The politically powerful gun lobby is taking aim at almost a score of cities that, emboldened by the attack on cigarette manufacturers, are lining up to battle gun makers in court.
“This is a political battle, and the state legislation is an effective and potent counterattack,” said Lester Brickman, a professor at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York.
The suits against the gun makers could mean ruinous financial judgments to some companies. The largest targets include Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Tomkins Corp.'s Smith & Wesson unit.
“A couple of successful suits would do that, and so would 30, 40 unsuccessful suits,” said Robert Delfay, president of the Hunting & Shooting Sports Heritage Foundation, an industry group created to fight the lawsuits.