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Posted: 5/14/2003 2:10:23 PM EDT
Jury: Gun Industry Not Cause of Violence By TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writer NEW YORK - Rejecting a lawsuit brought by the NAACP, a federal jury Wednesday cleared 45 gun manufacturers and distributors of allegations their marketing practices have stoked violence in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. The jury deliberated for five days before reaching its verdict in the closely watched case that now goes to the judge for a final decision. The panel was unable to reach a verdict regarding 23 other defendants. Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, called the ruling "common sense" and said the lawsuit was "aimed at bankrupting a law-abiding American industry by holding them liable for the actions of criminals." Kweisi Mfume, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (news - web sites), said he was disappointed by the jury's findings. In an unusual ruling, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein decided ahead of time the jury would play only an advisory role and that he will make the final decision in the case. Both sides will submit written arguments interpreting the jury's verdict within 30 days. The lawsuit claimed the firearms industry knew corrupt dealers were supplying products to criminals in minority communities and did nothing to stop it. Rather than monetary damages, the NAACP sought to force distributors to restrict sales to dealers with storefront outlets, prohibit sales to gun show dealers and limit individual purchasers to one handgun a month. The defendants and the gun industry argued it was unfair and illegal to hold manufacturers liable for the criminal use of a legal product. They also said that legislatures — not courts — should set standards (news - web sites) for sales. "Nobody wants to have someone selling to criminals," James Dorr, attorney for Sturm, Ruger & Co., said during closing arguments. "This industry certainly doesn't." The verdict followed more than five weeks of testimony in the suit against 68 defendants, including Smith & Wesson Corp., Glock Inc., Colt Manufacturing and other major gun makers and distributors. The plaintiffs built much of their case on previously sealed data — provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms under court order — detailing sales histories of weapons recovered at crime scenes in New York state from 1996 to 2000. An expert witness testified that an analysis found 11 percent of handguns sold in 1996 were used in rapes, robberies, assaults and murders by 2000. The defendants knew they were feeding a pool of illegal handguns and "purposely turned their head away from the problem," NAACP attorney Elisa Barnes told the jury. "They said, `It's not our worry.'" Defense experts claimed the analysis was flawed. They said their own studies found that most guns used by criminals come from a secondary market of used or stolen guns. Since 1998, more than two dozen cities, counties and states have sued gun makers, many claiming the manufacturers allowed weapons to reach criminals because of irresponsible marketing. Many suits have been dismissed or dropped, but Congress is considering legislation backed by the White House and the NRA to protect gun makers and sellers from lawsuits arising from the criminal or unlawful use of their products.
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[url=http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&ncid=514&e=5&u=/ap/20030514/ap_on_re_us/naacp_gun_lawsuit]Link to Story[/url]
Link Posted: 5/14/2003 2:21:26 PM EDT
I don't think it's over yet. "The jury deliberated for five days before reaching its verdict in a closely watched case that now goes to the judge for a final decision. The panel was unable to reach a verdict regarding 23 other defendants in the case. Because U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein decided the jury would play only an advisory role, both sides in the case will submit written arguments interpreting the verdict within 30 days. The judge will then make the final determination on liability and remedy." Is the judge gun friendly?
Link Posted: 5/14/2003 2:51:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/14/2003 2:52:31 PM EDT by Nimrod1193]
Originally Posted By DefMan: I don't think it's over yet. "The jury deliberated for five days before reaching its verdict in a closely watched case that now goes to the judge for a final decision. The panel was unable to reach a verdict regarding 23 other defendants in the case. Because U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein decided the jury would play only an advisory role, both sides in the case will submit written arguments interpreting the verdict within 30 days. The judge will then make the final determination on liability and remedy." Is the judge gun friendly?
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He is probably the most gun un-friendly judge possible. This was why the NAALCP dropped Beretta USA from the lawsuit. Since both they and the NAALCP are based in Maryland, the lawsuit would have had to be presented in Maryland State Court. The NAALCP then pulled a bunch of legal shenanigans specifically to get Weinstein assigned to the case.
Link Posted: 5/14/2003 2:53:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/14/2003 2:54:58 PM EDT by LoginName]
Originally Posted By DefMan: Is the judge gun friendly?
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Uh-Oh... [url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-03-20-naacp-gun-suit_x.htm] doesn't look like he is[/url]. "Barnes used jurisdictional rules to steer the case to U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein,[red]who is considered sympathetic to gun control[/red]. The judge has decided the jury will play only an "advisory role," leaving himself to make the final determination on liability and remedy." (From a quick Google search, it looks like he had a big role in one of the tobacco lawsuits). So, can anyone tell me what the point of having a jury in an "advisory role" is?
Link Posted: 5/14/2003 2:54:31 PM EDT
Regardless, I STILL feel like breakdancing!!!! This calls for a few,... [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana] [banana]
Link Posted: 5/14/2003 3:07:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/14/2003 3:07:47 PM EDT by warlord]
The NAACP is going to have to pay the court costs, if the gun industry wins the case. The NAACP folks were on the verge of bankruptcy a few years ago, wonder where they get all this money to bring frivilous lawsuits against the gun industry?
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