Why suits against gun companies should be reined in

Why should this suit have even been brought or allowed in the first place? Just to get rid of a particular type of gun? No notion on the part of plaintiffs that inexpensive guns allow poor people who are potential victims of crime to protect themselves.

An appeals court Wednesday dashed a widow's hope of punishing the gun industry for a so-called Saturday night special handgun used to kill a popular Lake Worth Middle School teacher.

Florida's civil negligence laws do not support a 2003 jury verdict that found the distributor of the cheap.25-caliber gun partially liable for the death of teacher Barry Grunow, the 4th District Court of Appeal said Wednesday. . . .

"It's just a damn shame," said Grunow's attorney, Bob Montgomery. "We went into this with the idea of taking on the Saturday night specials. We were trying to right wrongs."

Montgomery said he won't ask the appeals court for a rehearing but that he may appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the gun distributor, the Valor Corp. of Sunrise, said Wednesday's ruling makes it clear that manufacturers or distributors of non-defective products cannot be held liable for their misuse.

"We still feel very badly for Mrs. Grunow," said West Palm Beach attorney Tom Warner, who argued the appeal for Valor, "but the point is that if the product is not defective or unreasonably dangerous, then manufacturers and distributors should not be liable for someone criminally misusing a product some 12 years after it was sold, as it was in this case."