Upholding an advisory jury’s verdict in favor of the firearms industry, federal judge Jack Weinstein has dismissed the NAACP’s public nuisance lawsuit against 68 gun manufacturers and distributors, discussed earlier in this space. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had asked the court to declare the manufacturers and distributors liable for creating a public nuisance under New York law. Rather than monetary damages, the NAACP sought “sweeping restrictions on buyers and sellers of handguns.” (Tom Hays, “Judge Dismisses NAACP Gun Lawsuit,” Assoc. Press, July 21, 2003). Judge Weinstein said that “while the NAACP’s evidence showed some gun retailers were careless in allowing a large number of handguns to enter the illegal market, the group did not prove its members suffered unique harm.” (“Court dismisses NAACP gun suit,” Reuters, July 21, 2003). His 175-page opinion is available here.
Judge Weinstein’s ruling follows by a month a Manhattan appellate court’s decision affirming the dismissal of state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s lawsuit against gun manufacturers, also brought on public nuisance grounds.