Louisiana Supreme Court Ruling On Gun Suits Hits The Mark

NCPA'S Burnett Applauds Court's Decision to Reject New Orleans' Suit Against Gun Industry

DALLAS (April 3, 2001) -- H. Sterling Burnett, senior policy analyst with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), applauded today's ruling of the Supreme Court of Louisiana to reject New Orleans' liability lawsuit against the nation's gun manufacturers, saying: "This is a significant beginning to the end of these undemocratic and potentially harmful suits."

The court found that New Orleans did tread on the state legislature's jurisdiction to regulate the gun industry. It also found that the state law banning such suits could be enforced retroactively - ruling that individuals could not be held responsible retroactively, but municipalities could.

"Both judicial precedent and more than 200 years of common law support the Court's contention that it is the sole legitimate province of the legislature, not the courts, to make laws concerning product safety and legitimate distribution channels, said Burnett. "Their ruling can now be used as a guidepost to fight ongoing lawsuits in other states."

WHO: H. Sterling Burnett, NCPA Senior Policy Analyst

WHAT: Analysis of The Louisiana Supreme Court's Ruling On Gun Suits And It's Implications For Other Similar Suits

WHEN: Available Immediately

Burnett, is the author of a study entitled "Suing Gun Manufacturers: Hazardous to Our Health," which echoes many of the same points made by the court in it's decision. The study also notes that citizens use guns in self-defense as many as 2.5 million times annually (in the vast majority of cases, merely showing the firearm prevents the crime). That far exceeds the number of crimes committed with firearms each year, providing cities like New Orleans with a net social benefit from gun use. Accordingly, Burnett calculates that guns save U.S. citizens between $1 billion and $38 billion annually.