Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Gun Manufacturers

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - An Ohio judge in Cincinnati Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the city of Cincinnati against gun manufacturers, saying it was vague and unsupported by legal precedent.

Hamilton County, Ohio judge Robert Ruehlman ruled that only the legislature and not the courts have the authority to impose that type of regulation. The judge also rejected other claims by Cincinnati as vague or not supported by laws or precedent in court cases.

The City of Cincinnati had sued the manufacturers, a distributor and three trade associations. The suit demanded reimbursement for the costs of providing police, emergency, court and prison sentences in connection with shootings within Cincinnati, including suicides and accidental shootings as well as homicides. City officials also sought damages for alleged reduction of property values and loss of tax revenues, plus court orders that would force the defendants to change the way they design, distribute and advertise their products nationally.

James Baker, of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Institute for Legislative Action reacted by saying, "This is a major victory for those who believe, as NRA members believe, that we must hold criminals accountable for their crimes. And this dismissal is a major blow for greedy attorneys seeking enormous contingency fees and for the mayors seeking scapegoats to blame for their own failure to enforce current laws and prosecute violent criminals."

Baker went on to say, "Let this decision serve as notice to other mayors and lawyers that there is a real prices to pay for jumping on this media driven bandwagon, a price that will be paid in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion."

Jim Dorr of Chicago, the attorney representing Sturm, Ruger and Company and the Smith and Wesson gun company, said he hopes to use Ruehlman's ruling to seek the dismissal of 17 similar lawsuits filed by city or county governments. "These lawsuits filed by the cities have been, in our opinion, nothing but smoke and mirrors with no legal foundation to them," Dorr said.

Stanley Chesley, The City of Cincinnati's lawyer is expected to appeal the decision. Chesley called Ruehlman's ruling premature because the city had not been allow to review documents from the defendants.