Washington, D.C. Municipal Lawsuit Dismissed
May 23, 2006
Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE:RGR) is pleased to announce that on May 22, 2006, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia granted the
defendants' motion to dismiss the city's case against various manufacturers, importers, and distributors of firearms, including Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
The case was brought under the Washington, D.C. "Strict Liability Act," alleging liability against the defendants based upon intentional criminal shootings within the District. However, in October of 2005, the U.S. Congress passed and the President signed "The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" ("PLCAA"). It expressly prohibited liability of firearms manufacturers for such subsequent criminal misuses of their products. By its terms, this law requires dismissal of all such pending claims. The trial court found "that plaintiffs causes of action under the Strict Liability Act fall squarely within the PLCAA's definition," and ordered that defendants' motion on the pleadings to dismiss the case be granted. It also held the PLCAA to be constitutional in all respects. It is unknown at this time if the District will attempt an appeal.
"This is the latest in a long series of victories for the rule of law, fundamental fairness, and individual responsibility," said Sturm, Ruger President Stephen L. Sanetti. "Our Company sells its legal products solely to independent federally-licensed wholesale distributors in complete accord with the many regulations imposed by law, and sells none of its products within the District of Columbia. Furthermore, we believe that none of our products were involved in any of the criminal shootings upon which this case was based. The trial court's excellently reasoned opinion buttresses what has become sound, uniform case law. 'Regulation by litigation' of legitimate manufacturers, whether attempted by advocacy groups who don't approve of certain lawful products or by individual plaintiffs who have been egregiously harmed by violent criminals over which we have no control, has no place in our judicial system," he concluded.
"Congress has made clear that manufacturers or sellers of firearms and ammunition products that have been shipped or transported in interstate commerce are not, and should not, be liable for harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse firearms products or ammunition products that design and function as intended... The imposition of such liability, according to Congress "is an abuse of the legal system, erodes public confidence in our nation's laws... invites the disassembly and destabilization of other industries and economic sectors lawfully competing in the free enterprise system... and constitutes an unreasonable burden on interstate and foreign commerce of the United States." (opinion at p.13, citing 15 U.S.C. § 7901 (A) and (B))
"The Court agrees," the opinion continued, that "the clear purpose of the PLCAA was to shield firearms manufacturers and dealers from liability for injuries caused by third parties using non- defective... firearms." The court also went on to find the PLCAA to be constitutional, agreeing with all courts which have considered the question to date.
About Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. is one of the nation's leading manufacturers of rugged, reliable firearms for the commercial sporting market. The only full-line manufacturer of American-made firearms, Ruger offers consumers over 400 variations of more than 30 product lines. For more than 60 years, Ruger has been a model of corporate and community responsibility. Our motto, "Arms Makers for Responsible Citizens®," echoes the importance of these principles as we work hard to deliver quality and innovative firearms.
The Company may, from time to time, make forward-looking statements and projections concerning future expectations. Such statements are based on current expectations and are subject to certain qualifying risks and uncertainties, such as market demand, sales levels of firearms, anticipated castings sales and earnings, the need for external financing for operations or capital expenditures, the results of pending litigation against the Company, the impact of future firearms control and environmental legislation, and accounting estimates, any one or more of which could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. The Company undertakes no obligation to publish revised forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date such forward-looking statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of subsequent unanticipated events.
Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. “Arms Makers for Responsible Citizens®”