The ABA should support the historic, traditional role of the courts in making case-by-case determinations of whether civil tort claims are well brought. This role of the courts is at the heart of our civil justice system. There should be uniform agreement that it is up to the courts to determine whether the gun industry or any other industry is liable under applicable state common law within the context of a given set of facts. There is no legitimate reason why this industry should be exempt from the same common law principles that govern all other industries and their practices, through negligence, nuisance, and product liability law. Nor is there a legitimate reason why in nocent persons injured as a result of tortious conduct by gun manufacturers and sellers should be denied their opportunity to seek redress in the courts, simply because they were injured by a negligently-designed or negligently-sold gun, rather than, say, a negligently-designed toaster oven, lawnmower, or automobile. Raw political power exercised to create special laws for a particular industry makes for unsound public policy and bad precedent for the future. The ABA should voice its strong support for the protection of the civil rights of injured citizens and for the authority and competence of the judiciary to resolve civil cases, and against these special interest immunity bills.
ROLAND L. COLEMAN, JR.
Los Angeles County Bar Association