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Posted: 8/6/2001 10:56:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/6/2001 11:04:25 AM EDT by M4]
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Victims cannot sue gunmakers when criminals use their products illegally, California's top court ruled Monday, rejecting a suit stemming from the 1993 massacre of eight people in a skyscraper. The 5-1 decision by the California Supreme Court kept in step with other courts in insulating weapons manufacturers from liability. Every state high court and federal appellate court in the nation to consider such lawsuits has ruled that makers of legal, non-defective guns cannot be sued for their criminal misuse. Monday's decision said the Legislature's rules regarding product liability do not allow for such suits against gun manufacturers. "In reaching this conclusion, we are not insensitive to the terrible tragedy that occurred on July 1, 1993," Justice Ming W. Chin wrote. "The Legislature has set California's public policy regarding gun manufacturers liability under these circumstances. Given that public policy, plaintiffs may not proceed with their negligence claim." The decision was an important victory for weapons manufacturers and Navegar Inc., the maker of the weapon used in the San Francisco skyscraper massacre. The justices overturned a lower court decision that was the nation's only state appellate ruling allowing victims to sue a gun manufacturer for someone's criminal acts. Surviving victims of the rampage claimed that Navegar was liable for damages because it marketed the TEC-DC9 to appeal to criminals, and that Navegar should have foreseen it would be used in a massacre. Their case, originally thrown out by a judge, was resurrected two years ago when California's 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that the survivors were entitled to a trial on their claims that the Miami-based gunmaker marketed the TEC-DC9 to appeal to criminals who might use the weapon illegally. (cont.)
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 10:56:43 AM EDT
The appellate court said Navegar "had substantial reason to foresee that many of those to whom it made the TEC-DC9 available would criminally misuse it to kill and injure others." Monday's decision could insulate gunmakers in a suit by Los Angeles, San Francisco and 10 other California cities and counties, claiming faulty design, manufacture and distribution of firearms. At least 16 similar suits have been filed by local governments elsewhere. The Navegar case dates to July 1993, when Gian Luigi Ferri, a mentally disturbed man with a grudge against lawyers, entered the skyscraper and opened fire in a law office with two TEC-DC9s and a revolver. He killed eight people and wounded six before killing himself. "My son wouldn't be growing up without a father if it weren't for that," said Carol Kingsley, whose husband, attorney Jack Berman, was killed when a hail of bullets punctured Berman's closed office door. "These guns were designed for mass killing and they were marketing, targeting these types of folks like Ferri." Ernest Getto, a lawyer for Navegar, said there was no evidence of any connection between the manufacturer's legal activities and Ferri's criminal conduct. He urged the court to prevent "the imposition of potentially boundless liability on those engaged in legal manufacturing, marketing and distribution activities when their products are criminally misused." Dennis Henigan, who argued the case on behalf of Ferri's victims, said Navegar should be sued. "It was their decision to sell a combat weapon to the public and promote it to the high-risk users who intend to kill," Henigan said. "We would have no qualms against them if they just marketed it as a high-quality weapon." Found in Ferri's suburban Los Angeles apartment were copies of Soldier of Fortune and similar magazines, in which Navegar commonly advertised the TEC-DC9. The TEC-DC9, a high-capacity pistol easily converted to fully automatic fire, was one of the guns used by two students to kill 12 fellow students and a teacher in Littleton, Colo.
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 11:09:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/6/2001 11:07:02 AM EDT by thebeekeeper1]
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 11:20:04 AM EDT
Yep...The Fascists Throw in a little Scare Tactics and Anti-Firearms Propaganda whenever they get the opportunity... "...easily converted to fully automatic fire..." Ooohhhh! Warning to all Soccer Moms and Kali Yuppies: Those Big Bad Guns are Gonna Get You if you don't let us deprive you of your Precious Constitutional Rights....It's For The Children.....Oooohhh....
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 11:24:23 AM EDT
Well if this "military assault pistol" is so easy to convert, why didn't Klebold and Harris see the need to do so?
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 11:28:13 AM EDT
Aren't they supposed to ban propane tanks? Too easy to convert to fully automated bombing units.
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 11:46:58 AM EDT
Well, after a pause the pro-freedom cause continues to roll foreward undaunted. And this in the pro-tyrrany heartland! And now if they would just stop torturing us and give us a decision on [i]Emerson[/i]...
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 11:47:17 AM EDT
How about banning idiots?
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 12:36:43 PM EDT
I was in the service 20 years, I don't recall ever seeing a TEC-DC9 issued as a "combat weapon".
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 12:47:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bat21: I was in the service 20 years, I don't recall ever seeing a TEC-DC9 issued as a "combat weapon".
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If you had ever had the misfortune to own one, you would know why[:P] Takes a brave man indeed to use something this bad to commit a crime![;D]
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 12:55:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 1:01:29 PM EDT
How is it that Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, who was appointed by Pete Wilson, a Republican, was the only justice who dissented? She even called it a "semiautomatic assault weapon" She writes: "Plaintiffs’ claim of negligence is, at bottom, that defendant Navegar, Inc. (Navegar) acted without due care in distributing the TEC-9/DC9 -- a semiautomatic handgun combining portability and ease of use with an extraordinary rapidity and capacity for lethal firepower -- to the general civilian public rather than restricting its sales to police and military units that might have a legitimate call for such a military-style assault pistol. Plaintiffs do not claim that the TEC-9/DC9 is defective; nor do they even claim that defendant acted negligently simply by making the TEC-9/DC9. Plaintiffs allege negligence, rather, in Navegar’s selling that firearm on the general civilian market knowing it would attract purchasers likely to misuse it, rather than restricting sales to buyers with a lawful use for the tools of assaultive violence, such as police and military units." "Indeed, the evidence presented on summary judgment in this case demonstrated that Navegar’s management not only should have known, but actually did know, that the technical and aesthetic characteristics of the TEC-9/DC9, together with its price, the manner of its promotion, and Navegar’s instructions for its use, attracted criminal and mentally ill segments of the civilian gun market, foreseeably leading to the kind of mayhem that has produced this lawsuit.” “Other than duty, the only element of the negligence cause of action on which defendant claims entitlement to summary judgment is cause in fact. I would hold that plaintiffs have presented substantial evidence, creating a triable issue of fact, that Navegar’s distribution of the TEC-9/DC9 on the general civilian market increased the risk and degree of harm to plaintiffs." "The gun’s paramilitary look, in which the barrel shroud is a prominent feature, makes it and similar guns especially intimidating, an aesthetic feature Supenski notes is “not lost on certain criminals, gang members, drug dealers, and some with psychological problems.” “...the evidence presented on summary judgment in this case tended to show that the TEC-9/DC9 is designed to engage multiple targets at close range during rapid, sustained fire, making it, to quote Chief Supenski, well suited to combat with “multiple adversaries in close quarters.” Military and some police users (e.g., SWAT units) have a legitimate need for weapons with this capacity for assaultive violence. The civilian public does not. The evidence also tends to show that a significant segment of the gun-buying public purchased TEC-9/DC9’s for violent misuse and that Navegar executives knew or should have known that sales to the general public created a significant risk of violent misuse.” Her agenda is very clear.
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 1:04:08 PM EDT
And this happened in Kalifornia of all places.
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 1:04:35 PM EDT
Wow! Good firearms news coming out of the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia is hard to come by these days. Even the most liberal courts have to rule this way. Hope the Florida Supreme (aka Kangaroo) court never has to rule on something like this. Now if those Kali judges would just overturn SB23 things would be great. Not holding my breath.
Link Posted: 8/6/2001 1:27:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By M4: .... Justice Ming W. Chin wrote. "The Legislature has set California's public policy regarding gun manufacturers liability under these circumstances. Given that public policy, plaintiffs may not proceed with their negligence claim."
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I know it's good news, but HOW they came to this conclusion is what I find distasteful. If it hadn't been for that stupid, ideally unneccesary law, they would have decided incorrectly.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 9:41:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/7/2001 9:41:47 AM EDT by ckapsl]
Originally Posted By Garmentless:
Originally Posted By M4: .... Justice Ming W. Chin wrote. "The Legislature has set California's public policy regarding gun manufacturers liability under these circumstances. Given that public policy, plaintiffs may not proceed with their negligence claim."
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I know it's good news, but HOW they came to this conclusion is what I find distasteful. If it hadn't been for that stupid, ideally unneccesary law, they would have decided incorrectly.
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I agree with Garmentless; if you actually read the whole opinion, it is not very friendly to guns and gun owners. This whole TEC-9 business is an object lesson in how to make and market a firearm in such a way that the anti's will be able to exploit it to the fullest: 1) Intratec made a crap gun that is unreliable and cannot hit anything. 2) They used vaguely worded advertising about the Tec-Kote finish that was easily twisted into "fingerprint resistant and criminal friendly". They neglected to hammer home the point that the Tec-9 can be fingerprint tested with no more difficulty than any other firearm. 3) They advertised a threaded barrel "to easily attach a silencer", and then turned around and claimed in court that there is no legitimate civilian use for silencers, forgetting about hearing protection, reduction of nuisance noise, and consideration for neighbors. (You can read about this in the opinion) 4) They failed to go out and find people who had used the Tec-9 for lawful self defense (of course, with such an unreliable firearm, there may not have been anyone alive to find). With friends like these, we don't need any enemies. I am happy that the lawsuit was struck down, but it was struck down for the wrong reasons. If it had not been struck down, it would have set a horrible precedent for every other gun maker.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 10:04:24 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 10:14:55 AM EDT
I am listening to Rush talking about the article right now.
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