Appellate court rules Chicago can file suit against gunmakers

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

CHICAGO -- The city of Chicago has won a major appellate court victory that allows it to move forward with its landmark $433 million lawsuit against the gun industry.

Mayor Richard M. Daley filed the lawsuit in 1998, accusing gunmakers and dealers of creating a public nuisance with their products. The Illinois appellate ruling on Monday comes more than two years after a lower court dismissed the lawsuit.

"In our view," the appellate court wrote, "plaintiff's complaint sufficiently pleads facts that, notwithstanding actual knowledge that the guns would be brought into Chicago and used in crimes, the manufacturers, distributors and dealers failed to alter their actions, thereby creating a public nuisance."

The decision could help "revolutionize the way firearms are sold," said city attorney Mara Georges. "This will require dealers that sell firearms to enact strict controls to ensure that people who buy them are purchasing them legally and are going to use them in a reasonable and safe manner ... and that manufacturers of guns cannot oversaturate a market."

The appeals court last year upheld a similar lawsuit that was filed in 1998 by the families of several victims of gun violence, including slain police officer Michael Ceriale and Andrew Young, who was fatally shot in his car at a stop light.

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