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Friend of MCMXI
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This is getting to be a little bit ridiculous. Pretty soon we'll be able to sue Charmin because you don't like the way your poop smells.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-pgrunow05dec05,0,195822.story?coll=sfla-news-palm
Appeals panel to hear gun suit

By Peter Franceschina
Staff Writer

December 5, 2004

The murder of Lake Worth Middle School teacher Barry Grunow goes back into court Tuesday, as his widow continues her efforts to hold a gun distributor accountable for selling the gun that killed her husband.

In a trial closely watched by the firearms industry, a Palm Beach County jury awarded Pam Grunow and her two children $1.2 million in damages in November 2002. The jury found that Sunrise-based gun distributor Valor Corp. was negligent for selling the Raven Arms .25-caliber handgun without additional safety features, such as a trigger lock.

But jurors rejected the main thrust of the case -- the contention that the Raven Arms was a "junk" gun and a defective product because it served no legitimate purpose other than for use in crime.

Grunow's victory was short-lived. Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga threw out the verdict two months later. He agreed with Valor's attorneys that the verdict was legally flawed because jurors decided the gun was not defective.

On Tuesday, Grunow's attorneys will ask a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach to reinstate the jury's verdict.

It likely will be at least several months before the appeals-court panel issues its ruling. Besides being closely watched, the case was fiercely litigated by teams of lawyers on both sides.

West Palm Beach attorney Rebecca Larson, one of Grunow's lawyers, said the case is significant because of the jury's finding of liability.

"This is one of the few cases where a distributor has been found responsible by a jury, and we hope that has changed the firearms industry in the manufacture of these `junk' guns," she said. "We feel strongly that jury here found liability, and that the jury would have found liability no matter how the question was posed to them."

Attorneys for Valor argue that the company engaged in legal gun sales and that the responsibility for Barry Grunow's murder falls to the student who shot him, Nathaniel Brazill, who was 13 at the time.

Valor sold the gun in 1989 to a pawnshop, and the person who bought it from the pawnshop later died, and his widow gave the gun to a man Brazill considered a grandfather figure. Brazill stole the gun and ammunition from the man's home five days before the shooting. Brazill, now 18, is serving a 28-year sentence for second-degree murder.

"Having sold a product that was not defective or unreasonably dangerous, Valor has no duty to protect against the criminal misconduct of Nathaniel Brazill," Valor's attorneys wrote in court filings.

Valor also contends the Raven handgun is used for self-defense and as a personal gun by law-enforcement officers.

Valor's attorneys began questioning the verdict as soon as it was returned. The jury rejected three negligence claims based on an alleged defect in the gun. The jury found merit only in a single claim alleging Valor was negligent for not supplying additional safety features.

Several jurors later said it was a compromise verdict. They awarded $24 million in damages but placed 95 percent of the blame for the shooting on the gun owner for not locking it up and on the Palm Beach County School Board for not having better security. Since the gun owner and School Board were not defendants, Valor was only held responsible for $1.2 million in damages to Pam Grunow and her children.

The legal arguments in the case have some similarities to those made in other lawsuits against firearms manufacturers and distributors around the country. The firearms industry largely has been successful in getting the lawsuits dismissed, either by trial judges or appeals courts. Several cases are pending before appeals courts.

"We predicted several years ago it would all go away. They would die a natural death," said New York attorney John Renzulli, who represents Valor and several other gun manufacturers and distributors.

Renzulli said he thought the appeals court would uphold Labarga's dismissal of the case.

"I think the record is pretty solid at this point there is no defect in the gun. No defect in the gun, no liability," he said.

Several weeks ago, the Illinois Supreme Court dismissed two lawsuits against the firearms industry, ending a six-year legal battle started by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. The lawsuits contended that manufacturers and distributors create a "public nuisance" by saturating the market with cheap guns that easily find their way into the hands of violent gang members.

"The industry was pleased with that case and the judges' determination that the industry could not be held negligent for delivering a legal product," said Gary Mehalik, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
 

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anyone seen my coffee cup
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481 Posts
hmmmmmmmm my poop smells just fine, as a matter of fact, I don't think it stinks at all!
 

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Premium Member
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6,900 Posts
Here in MA it is mandatory that a lock be purchased anytime a firearm is sold.

I spent a lot of money for my safe to insure that my firearms are secure, but the dealer has no way to verify that, so I have to end up shelling out another $6 to $10 for a lock I'll never use, every time I make a purchase.

I really don't mind that much, since I know that locks are a good safety item and most folks who only own one or two firearms are not going to invest in a gun safe.

Now if I could just figure out someway to unload all the locks I've accumulated, I'd be a happy guy.
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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13,384 Posts
7.62x39,

Can you take your own lock with you and put it on your new firearm when you buy it? Or does the law require the dealer to make you buy a new one with the gun each and every time? If it is the latter, that really sucks.
 

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Class 07 FFL/SOT
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6,297 Posts
Gun locks.....

Lets sue firearms manufacturers because criminals use guns to commit crimes.
 

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Premium Member
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6,900 Posts
Pogo said:
7.62x39,

Can you take your own lock with you and put it on your new firearm when you buy it? Or does the law require the dealer to make you buy a new one with the gun each and every time? If it is the latter, that really sucks.
It's the latter

They are required to sell a lock with every firearm that does not come with one, or does not have a integral one.

Some of the manufacturers are now including cable locks with them.
The last Ruger 10/22 I bought came with one, as did my Mossberg persuader.
 
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