BELLEVUE, WA – Monday’s ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that dismisses a lawsuit against Glock by the victims of a deranged gunman in Grenada Hills, CA was a proper decision under existing statute, the Second Amendment Foundation said today.
In a 2-1 decision, a three- judge panel upheld a lower court’s ruling that the case, Ileto v. Glock, was nullified under the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). That federal statute was passed to prevent junk lawsuits against gun makers, and this specific case was cited during Congressional debate as precisely the kind of lawsuit the law would prohibit.
“We are delighted that the Ninth Circuit panel not only affirmed the lower court ruling,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb, “but also that the court upheld the constitutionality of the federal law prohibiting this kind of lawsuit. While we sympathize with the victims, it would be an egregious miscarriage of justice to hold gun manufacturers responsible for the acts of criminals over whom they have no control.”
In August 1999, a deranged man named Buford Furrow opened fire at a Jewish Community Center summer camp in Granada Hills. The Glock pistol he used had once been owned by a police department in Washington State, but had been sold as surplus and passed through several hands before Furrow got it. Furrow wounded three children, a teenager and adult at the Jewish Center and later murdered a postal carrier, Joseph Ileto. Families of the victims, and Ileto’s widow, sued Glock and others in 2001, claiming that gun companies “intentionally produce, market, distribute, and sell more firearms than the legitimate market demands.”
Judge Susan Graber wrote the majority opinion, stating that “The PLCAA affects future and pending lawsuits, and courts are required to ‘immediately dismiss’ any pending lawsuits preempted by the PLCAA.”
“Holding gunmakers responsible for crime is a false panacea,” Gottlieb said. “Congress saw this when it passed the PLCAA, and now the court has affirmed that logic.”