BELLEVUE, Wash. – An Ohio Appeals Court’s unanimous rejection of Cincinnati’s lawsuit against the firearms industry was lauded Monday by the head of a gun rights organization that is currently suing the U.S. Conference of Mayors over this and similar municipal actions against gun makers.
Alan Gottlieb, Founder of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, called the Ohio court ruling “yet another signal that we’re right, and the anti-gun mayors are wrong.”
The Foundation filed its lawsuit on behalf of gun owners, not the industry, arguing that their civil rights to obtain and own firearms are being infringed by legal actions that are designed to drive the gun industry out of business.
Ohio’s First District Court of Appeals last Friday unanimously upheld a judge’s earlier decision to throw out the Cincinnati lawsuit. In its decision, the Appeals court stated that it did not want to open a “Pandora’s box” for such lawsuits against other industries. The court likened Cincinnati’s gun lawsuit to suing match manufacturers for losses from arson, calling such legal actions an “absurdity.”
Gottlieb, who filed his lawsuit against the U.S. Conference of Mayors last year, hailed this latest court ruling.
“While this decision does not settle every municipal lawsuit against the firearms industry, it certainly underscores what we’ve been saying all along. These lawsuits are frivolous and without merit,” Gottlieb stated. “We think, ultimately, every one of these lawsuits will be decided in favor of gun makers. The Ohio decision is yet another signal that we’re right, and the anti-gun mayors are wrong.”
Cincinnati was one of more than 30 other cities around the country that have filed lawsuits in an attempt to recover money from gunmakers for the cost of fighting crime and treating injuries suffered by gunshot victims. In its opinion, the appellate court said the city suit was fatally flawed because it could not directly link damages from gun violence to specific defendants named in the case.
“Manufacturers have no duty to give warnings about the obvious dangers of handguns,” the court said.
“Were we to decide otherwise,” the court added, “we would open a Pandora’s box. The city could sue the manufacturers of matches for arson, or automobile manufacturers for traffic accidents, or breweries for drunken driving.”
This statement is significant, Gottlieb observed, because the court exercised “common sense” rather than political correctness. He reiterated what he said in a January interview with one magazine about his foundation’s chances of winning in court against the Conference of Mayors: “What are the chances of us winning? I don’t know, but in the wake of the Ohio ruling, they’re still a hell of a lot better than (cities) winning their suits against the industry.”
Noting that attorney Stanley Chesley, representing the city of Cincinnati, has already vowed to pursue this case to the Ohio Supreme Court, Gottlieb commented: “I think it is important for Cincinnati residents to keep this in mind at the next election. The city council has already wasted tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of what amounts to a bogus lawsuit against a perfectly legal, and highly-regulated industry.
“Our lawsuit against the mayors seeks to underscore this waste,” he said. “I think voters in Cincinnati have a right to expect more responsible use of their tax money, and should demand that not one more penny be spent on such courthouse grandstanding.”