Arkansas law reserves the authority to bring a lawsuit and the right to recover against a firearm or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or dealer exclusively to the state. A city, town or county may not seek relief for loss resulting from the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.1

A similar statute prohibits a person or entity from bring an action other than produce liability action against a firearms, nonpowder gun or ammunition manufacturer, importer, or dealer for loss arising from injury, damage, or death caused by a firearm, nonpowder gun, or ammunition. A court must dismiss any action prohibited by this statute and award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the defendants.2

There are exceptions for actions claiming:

  • Intentional or negligent discharge of a firearm, a nonpowder gun, or ammunition by the manufacturer, importer, or dealer; or
  • An act of the manufacturer, importer, or dealer in violation of a state or federal law or regulation. The plaintiff has the burden to prove, in such a case, that the defendant violated the state or federal law or regulation.3

Arkansas law provides that the proximate cause of injury in a product liability action involving firearms, nonpowder guns or ammunition, may not be the inherent capability of these devices to cause injury, damage, or death.4 In addition, the manufacturer’s, importer’s, or distributor’s placement of a firearm, a nonpowder gun, or ammunition into the stream of commerce may not be deemed to constitute the proximate cause of injury, damage, or death, even if the device discharges unintentionally and the discharge was foreseeable.5

A plaintiff may recover in an action in which he or she proves that the proximate cause of the injury, damage, or death was:

  • A defective firearm, nonpowder gun, or ammunition; or
  • A defectively designed firearm, nonpowder gun, or ammunition that did not function as reasonably expected by the ordinary consumer.6

There are no cases interpreting these laws.

For detailed information about government and private party lawsuits against the gun industry, the status of litigation involving gun industry immunity statutes in various states, or pending gun industry immunity legislation, visit the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Gun Industry Immunity page.

See our Immunity Statutes / Manufacturer Litigation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 14-16-504(b)(2), 14-54-1411(b)(2). There is an exception for breach of contract or warranty lawsuits for firearms or ammunition purchased by the local unit of government. ⤴︎
  2. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-116-202. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-116-201. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-116-203. ⤴︎