• prevent federal, state, and local governments from pursuing lawsuits that abrogate Second Amendment rights, • repeal the Gun Control Act of 1968, • stop the illegal compilation of gun-owner registration lists from the National Instant Check System.
The legal arm of the anti-gun lobby, Handgun Control, Inc., has organized a national network of mayors, now joined by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer, to bring meritless lawsuits against firearms manufacturers. At the behest of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as many as 3,200 local housing authorities may file similar suits.
That abusive litigation is an assault on the principle of separation of powers—a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution and a foundation of our republican form of government. Firearms laws should be enacted not by the courts but by lawmaking bodies: state legislatures and Congress. Even former secretary of labor Robert Reich, a strong advocate of gun control, has observed that government lawsuits against firearms manufacturers are a thinly disguised effort to end-run legislative decisions about gun laws.
Because the lawsuits are legally frivolous, it is unlikely that any plaintiff will be awarded a single dollar in a courtroom that honors the rule of law. Yet the cost of defending suits in multiple jurisdictions is prohibitive. Already, several gun dealers and manufacturers have been forced into bankruptcy by litigation costs. The effect is to ratchet up the pressure for an out-of-court settlement, thus using the judiciary to circumvent legisla-