NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More States Nix Suits Against Gun Makers

February 17, 2000

State legislatures throughout the U.S. are rapidly passing laws forbidding their cities from filing lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Gun rights advocates forecast that two-thirds of the states will have passed such bans by the end of this year.

  • Fifteen states enacted gun-lawsuit bans last year and another 15 to 20 more may hop on the bandwagon this year.
  • Political observers note that state legislatures tend to be more conservative than Washington lawmakers.
  • Supplying the momentum behind the movement is the National Rifle Association -- whose efforts in state houses have gone largely unnoticed.
  • Officials in cities which had been considering filing suits against gun makers object to the ban as an unfair preemption of local authority.

But their opponents argue that criminal use of guns is a product abuse -- not the manufacturer's fault.

In a number of legislatures the issue is played out not so much on party lines, as it is on the clashing interests of rural and urban-suburban lawmakers, observers report.

Source: Francis X. Clines, "Ban on Suing Gun Makers Is Gaining Steam," New York Times, February 17, 2000.


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