Jury Decision in New York Citizens Case Bodes Well for City Gun Lawsuits
By Ed Somers
On February 11, a jury in Brooklyn, NY deliberating the case of Hamilton v. Accu-Tek, brought by a number of families against gun manufacturers and distributors, found 15 of the 25 gun manufacturers sued -- including Beretta USA, Colt's Manufacturing Co. and Jennings Firearms, Inc -- guilty of distributing their products negligently.
This is the first time that gun manufacturers have been held legally at fault for not taking reasonable steps to prevent criminals from obtaining their products. In a landmark ruling on gun cases, the judge allowed the plaintiffs to proceed with the argument that the industry was guilty of "collective liability" for deliberately oversupplying the legal market for guns knowing that they would in fact be moved through a secondary market to illegal purchasers and criminals.
In commenting on the jury's decision, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who has brought suit on behalf of his city against the gun industry, said, "In our case, as in the Booklyn case, we will prove that the industry is intentionally serving a market of criminals who intend to use weapons for street violence." Mayor Daley added, "The tide has turned in this country. People are demanding that the gun industry be held accountable."
Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim said, "As plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the manufacturers of handguns, we watched and monitored the New York case very carefully. There are many similarities between the two lawsuits, so I feel as though this historic decision clearly establishes a high level of corporate responsibility on the handgun industry."