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11/18/2004

"Supreme Court in Illinois frees gun makers of liability"

In a unanimous decision the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the Chicago lawsuit against gun makers. While the decision was not surprising, the unanimity as well as the stinging rebuke offered by the court were:

"Writing for the court, Justice Rita Garman said the city's claims are "the result of numerous unforeseeable intervening criminal acts by third parties not under defendant's control."
"The mere fact that defendants' conduct in their plants, offices, and stores puts guns into the stream of commerce does not state a claim for public nuisance," Justice Garman said. "It is the presence and use of the guns within the City of Chicago that constitutes the alleged nuisance, not the activities at the defendants' various places of business."
In refusing to define public nuisance as it relates to weapons, the court expressed a philosophy of judicial restraint. "Any change of this magnitude in the law affecting a highly regulated industry must be the work of the legislature, brought about by the political process, not the work of the courts," the decision said.
Gun rights advocates hailed the decision as the final defeat of "abusive lawsuits" they say are intended to drive U.S. firearms manufacturers out of business."

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