Calif. Judge Dismisses Suit against Gun Industry
By Robert B. Bluey Staff Writer
March 07, 2003


( - A California Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday against gun manufacturers, trade associations and most gun distributors, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Twelve California cities and counties sued the firearms industry in 1999 for marketing guns that could be bought by criminals and youngsters.

Superior Court Judge Vincent P. DiFiglia of San Diego County made the ruling Friday, said Gary Mehalik, spokesman for the gun-rights organization. DiFiglia's decision came during oral arguments at a hearing to determine if the case could go forward.

The case drew parallels to lawsuits filed against the tobacco industry in the 1990s. It even had a so-called whistle-blower in Robert A. Ricker, a former executive director at the American Shootings Sports Council and National Rifle Association lawyer.

Gun-rights groups called the lawsuit foolish.

"You can't blame honest people for the things criminals do," Mehalik said. "We distribute a legally manufactured product through a chain that is licensed by the federal government. Because somebody misuses something that a manufacturer builds doesn't mean that the manufacturer has done anything wrong."

"It's the equivalent of saying that if somebody goes out and drinks and gets in a car and runs over someone, the victim's family gets to sue the person who brewed the beer and made the car," he added. "It's crazy."

Los Angeles and San Francisco were two of the cities involved in the lawsuit. Gun-control groups had no immediate reaction to the decision.

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