Gun rights protected by one court ruling; attacked by another
Two recent court rulings have had opposite effects on the Second Amendment.
On Thursday, May 19, the Illinois Supreme Court dismissed yet another reckless lawsuit aimed at putting firearms manufacturers out of business.
That same day, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Clinton appointee, issued a preliminary injunction that blocked a rule enacted by President George W. Bush allowing visitors to national parks to carry concealed weapons.
The Illinois case, Adames v. Beretta, was dismissed under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCAA). The court's order affirmed the original trial court judgment in the case. The Court also agreed with the appellate court in finding the PLCAA was constitutional.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) notes the Illinois ruling is the most recent in a series of major setbacks for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which represented the Adames family in the case. Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of New York City and the District of Columbia appellate court decisions that dismissed lawsuits against firearms manufacturers for community-related "gun violence." Those cities were also represented by the Brady Center and the cases similarly dismissed under the same federal law.
"The Illinois Supreme Court's decision recognized that federal law preempts misguided lawsuits that seek to blame manufacturers for the criminal acts of others," said Jeffrey K. Reh, Beretta USA Corp.'s general counsel and vice general manager.
NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox said, "We are pleased that the Court recognized that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is the law of the land. America's law-abiding firearms manufacturers must be protected from reckless suits, such as this one, that have no legal merit. Blaming gun manufacturers for the acts of criminals is not the way we do things in America, and today the Illinois Supreme Court confirmed this view."
Several cities and individual plaintiffs began suing firearm manufacturers in the late 1990s, based on the expectation that although the industry manufactured a legal product, forcing anufacturers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees just to prove their innocence in court would drive them into bankruptcy.
Gun rights suffered a set-back in a federal court, however, when a Clinton appointee agreed with gun-control advocates and environmental groups who sued to challenge the rule.
According to the Washington Post, Judge Kollar-Kotelly wrote that officials "abdicated their Congressionally-mandated obligation" to evaluate environmental impacts and "ignored (without sufficient explanation) substantial information in the administrative record concerning environmental impacts" of the rule.
Measuring the "environmental impact" of allowing citizens to bear arms for self-defense? Oh my.
Less that 24 hours after the ruling, the National Rifle Association filed a notice of appeal in Federal District Court to oppose a preliminary injunction preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves in national parks and wildlife refuges.
Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist, said, "NRA is moving aggressively to protect this common sense rule and that's why we filed this notice of appeal today. Just as we did not give up the fight to change the old, outdated rule, we will not give up our fight in the courts to defend the rule change. We will pursue every legal avenue to defend the American people's right of self-defense."