Statement of Dennis Henigan, Brady Center on Judge's Ruling in Gun
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
1225 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Washington, DC - The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence released the
following statement by Dennis Henigan, Director of its Legal Action
Project, in response to the ruling today by Judge Jack Weinstein in the
case brought by the NAACP against the gun industry:
"Today's decision offers a clear and compelling indictment of the gun
industry. There can no longer be any doubt that the gun industry ensures
the continued supply of a robust underground gun market. Just as polluters
create a public nuisance by dumping hazardous wastes into our waterways,
the gun industry pollutes our cities with illegal guns. Gun makers know
their dealers fuel the illegal market and have made a deliberate decision
to supply corrupt dealers to profit from guns headed to the streets.
"This decision was based, in large part, on the first courtroom testimony
given by industry whistleblower Robert Ricker, a former gun industry trade
association leader. Mr. Ricker first approached the Brady Center two years
ago, offering to share his inside knowledge of the gun industry's
deliberate strategy to do nothing to curb the conduct of rogue gun
dealers. This ruling is a tribute to Bob Ricker's courage and
determination to have the truth be told.
"Although we regret that Judge Weinstein did not grant the NAACP the
relief it sought, the gun industry can take no consolation in this result.
Ironically, the relief was denied because the Court found that all
Americans share the same kind of grievous injuries from gun industry
misconduct suffered by the NAACP and its members. The gun industry should
not be proud that it was able to escape judgment in this case because its
victims include us all.
"Judge Weinstein's ruling will bolster other lawsuits against the gun
industry by gun violence victims and urban municipalities. It will,
however, also intensify the gun industry's effort to pressure the U.S.
Senate into passing S.659, granting the industry unprecedented special
protection from lawsuits. The gun industry knows it cannot tolerate the
evidence of its complicity in the illegal gun market to be presented to
courts. The American people, however, must not permit Congress to give
this industry protection from legal accountability that the courts are
unwilling to provide."
Much of the evidence of the gun industry's misconduct is presented in a
report issued by the Brady Center entitled "Smoking Guns: Exposing the Gun
Industry's Complicity in the Illegal Gun Market."
Date of Release: July 21, 2003