Judge Throws Out Challenge to Washington State Law That Could Hold Firearms Manufacturers Liable for Shootings

On March 8, 2024, a federal judge threw out a challenge to a Washington state law that paved the way for lawsuits against the firearms industry in certain cases.

The bill mandates the firearms industry to use reasonable controls in manufacturing, selling and marketing weapons, which includes steps to prevent firearms from being sold to individuals known to be dangerous or to straw purchasers. This bill grants the attorney general or private parties — for example,  family members of shooting victims — the power to file lawsuits for violations or damages under the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a pro-gun trade association, filed a lawsuit against the law in the United States District Court in Spokane, declaring that the measure infringes on the Second Amendment in addition to the free speech rights of its members.

US District Judge Mary K. Dimke dismissed the lawsuit in a decision on March 8, declaring the organization had not established legal standing to oppose the measure. She highlighted that its members were neither being sued under the law nor had manifested an intent to violate its terms.

“This law protects Washingtonians from gun violence by ensuring that gun industry members face real accountability when their irresponsible conduct harms our communities,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson declared in a press release.

.In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), protecting the firearms industry from liability in certain circumstances. Nevertheless, Ferguson argued that states are allowed to craft exemptions from that federal law. Washington and four other states such as California, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York have already done so.

Washington is one of the most anti-gun states in the nation, as evidenced by its 40th place ranking according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings. Passing such a measure is very much in line with its ethos.  

Gun owners will need to be on guard as it represents another front the anti-gun Left will exploit in order to destroy the Second Amendment. These nefarious forces are relentless and they will not stop until they destroy gun rights.

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