Immunity Statutes in Idaho

See our policy page on Gun Industry Immunity for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Firearms Industry

A governmental unit (defined by state law as a political subdivision of the state, including a municipality or county, or any other governmental agency whose authority is derived from the laws or constitution of Idaho) may not bring suit against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or seller for recovery of damages resulting from, or injunctive relief or abatement of a nuisance relating to, the lawful design, manufacture, marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.1

However, a governmental unit on behalf of the state or any other governmental unit may bring a suit against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or seller if the suit is approved in advance by the legislature by adoption of a concurrent resolution or by enactment of a statute.2 In addition, the state attorney general may bring a suit against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or seller on behalf of the state or any other governmental unit.3

A governmental unit may bring an action against a firearms manufacturer, trade association or seller for recovery of damages for:

  • Breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by a governmental unit;
  • Damage or harm to property owned or leased by the governmental unit caused by a defective firearm or ammunition; or
  • Injunctive relief to enforce a valid ordinance, statute or rule.4

State law provides that in a products liability action, no firearm or ammunition shall be deemed defective in design on the basis that the benefits of the product do not outweigh the risk of injury posed by its potential to cause serious injury, damage, or death when discharged.5

The Idaho Legislature has also declared that, in product liability actions, the potential of a firearm or ammunition to cause serious injury, damage, or death when discharged does not make the product defective in design.6 Furthermore, the legislature deems that injuries or damages resulting from the discharge of a firearm or ammunition are not proximately caused by the potential of a firearm or ammunition to cause serious injury, damage, or death, but are proximately caused by the actual discharge of the product.7

Nevertheless, Idaho law does not foreclose a products liability cause of action based upon the improper selection of design alternatives.8

Shooting Ranges

A person who operates or uses a sport shooting range

“shall not be subject to civil liability or criminal prosecution in any matter relating to noise or noise pollution resulting from the operation or use of the range if the range was established, constructed or operated prior to the implementation of any noise control laws, ordinances, rules or regulations, or if the range is in compliance with any noise control laws, ordinances, rules or regulations that applied to the range and its operation at the time of establishment, construction or initial operation of the range.”9

Furthermore, “[r]ules or regulations adopted by a state or local department or agency for limiting levels of noise in terms of decibel level which may occur in the outdoor atmosphere shall not apply to a sport shooting range.10 Such a municipal noise control ordinance “may not require or be applied so as to require a sport shooting range to limit or eliminate shooting activities that have occurred on a regular basis at the range prior to the enactment of the ordinance.”11 Except in specified circumstances, “a person may not maintain a nuisance action for noise against a shooting range located in the vicinity of that person’s property” if the shooting range was established at the point when the property was acquired.12

A person may not maintain a nuisance action for noise against one of these ranges if the range is in compliance with sections 67-9101 through 67-9105.13 A new use—including a new residential use—of property in the vicinity of one of these ranges does not give rise to a right to maintain a nuisance action for noise against the range.14

Notes
  1. Idaho Code Ann. §§ 5-247(2), 5-247(1). ⤴︎
  2. Idaho Code Ann. § 5-247(3). ⤴︎
  3. Idaho Code Ann. § 5-247(5). ⤴︎
  4. Idaho Code Ann. § 5-247(4). ⤴︎
  5. Idaho Code Ann. § 6-1410(1). ⤴︎
  6. Idaho Code Ann. § 6-1410(2)(a). ⤴︎
  7. Idaho Code Ann. § 6-1410(2)(b). ⤴︎
  8. Idaho Code Ann. § 6-1410(3). ⤴︎
  9. Idaho Code Ann. § 55-2601(1). ⤴︎
  10. Idaho Code Ann. § 55-2601(3). ⤴︎
  11. Idaho Code Ann. § 55-2601(3). ⤴︎
  12. Idaho Code Ann. § 55-2602. ⤴︎
  13. Idaho Code Ann. § 67-9103. ⤴︎
  14. Idaho Code Ann. § 67-9104. ⤴︎

Immunity Statutes in Illinois

In Illinois, owners or operators of firearm ranges in existence on January 1, 1994 are not subject to any action for public or private nuisance or trespass, and no court shall enjoin the use or operation of a firearm range on the basis of noise or sound emissions resulting from the normal use of the firearm range.1 Owners or operators of firearm ranges placed in operation after January 1, 1994 are not subject to any action for public or private nuisance or trespass arising out of or as a consequence of noise or sound emissions resulting from the normal use of the firearm range, if the firearm range conforms to any one of the following requirements:

  • All areas from which a firearm may be properly discharged are at least 1,000 yards from any occupied permanent dwelling on adjacent property;
  • All areas from which a firearm may be properly discharged are enclosed by a permanent building or structure that absorbs or contains sound energy escaping from the muzzle of firearms in use;
  • If the firearm range is situated on land otherwise subject to land use zoning, the firearm range is in compliance with the requirements of the zoning authority;
  • The firearm range is operated by a governmental entity or is licensed by the Department of Natural Resources; or
  • The firearm range met the 1,000-yard restriction described in the first bullet point, above, at the time the range began its operation and subsequently an occupied permanent dwelling on adjacent property was built within 1,000 yards from an area of the range from which a firearm may be properly discharged.2

In 2004, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled against the plaintiffs in two cases against the firearms industry, City of Chicago v. Beretta Corp., 821 N.E.2d 1099 (Ill. 2004), brought by the City of Chicago and Cook County, and Young v. Bryco Arms, 821 N.E.2d 1078 (Ill. 2004), brought by private plaintiffs. In both cases the Illinois Supreme Court reversed lower court decisions and held that the plaintiffs could not pursue public nuisance claims under state law.

Plaintiffs made similar allegations in both cases: plaintiffs asserted public nuisance claims against various gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers, claiming that their marketing and distribution practices intentionally and unreasonably interfered with the public’s right to use Chicago’s streets and other public areas without fear for their lives or the risk of injury. Plaintiffs claimed that the defendants were responsible for intentionally creating and maintaining a public nuisance – an underground market of firearms – in which defendants marketed and sold handguns made to appeal to juveniles and criminals. Further, plaintiffs claimed these manufacturers and distributors intentionally created and fostered an environment that encouraged purchasers to illegally transport handguns into Chicago and flood that market with such weapons. At the time of the lawsuits, Chicago banned the possession of handguns. Chicago bans the sale of handguns.

The Illinois Supreme Court rejected plaintiffs’ claims in their entirety, holding that plaintiffs failed to state a claim for public nuisance against the defendants. The court concluded that the manufacturer and distributor defendants owed no duty to the City of Chicago or its residents to prevent the defendants’ firearms from ending up in the hands of criminals. With respect to the dealer defendants, the court found that these defendants could not be legally responsible for the alleged nuisance which resulted from the intervening criminal acts of third parties (i.e., the shooters) over whom the defendants had no control. The court also cited “strong public policy reasons” in favor of deferring the matter of regulating the manufacture, distribution and sale of firearms to the legislature. In a strongly-worded concurrence in the Young case, five of seven justices described the plaintiffs’ factual allegations as “disturbing,” and urged the Illinois legislature to address the issue. The plaintiffs’ petition for rehearing in City of Chicago v. Beretta Corp. was denied. City of Chicago v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp., 2005 Ill. LEXIS 12 (Ill. Jan. 24, 2005).

To read the Illinois Supreme Court’s opinion in Young v. Bryco Arms, click here; for the court’s opinion in City of Chicago v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp., click here.

See our policy page on Gun Industry Immunity for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 130/5(b). ⤴︎
  2. 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 130/5(c). ⤴︎

Immunity Statutes in Indiana

Indiana law prohibits any person from bringing or maintaining an action against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or seller for:

  • Recovery of damages resulting from, or injunctive relief or abatement of a nuisance relating to, the lawful design, manufacture, marketing or sale of a firearm or ammunition; or
  • Recovery of damages resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a firearm or ammunition by a third party.1

Furthermore, if a court finds that a party has brought an action under a theory of recovery described above, the finding constitutes conclusive evidence that the action is groundless.2 Upon this finding, a court shall dismiss the claims or action and award to the defendant any reasonable attorney’s fee and costs incurred in defending the claims or action.3

However, an action may be brought or maintained against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or seller for recovery of damages for:

  • Breach of contract or warranty concerning firearms or ammunition purchased by a person;
  • Damage or harm to a person or to property owned or leased by a person caused by a defective firearm or ammunition; or
  • Injunctive relief to enforce a valid statute, rule, or ordinance. However, a person may not bring an action seeking injunctive relief if that action is barred under Indiana Code Ann. § 34-12-3-3.4

In addition, a person is immune from civil liability based on an act or omission related to the use of a firearm or ammunition by another person if the other person directly or indirectly obtained the firearm or ammunition through the commission of a burglary, robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, or criminal conversion.5

See our policy page on Gun Industry Immunity for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Ind. Code Ann. § 34-12-3-3. ⤴︎
  2. Ind. Code Ann. § 34-12-3-4(a). ⤴︎
  3. However, if (1) a party has brought an action under a theory of recovery described above; (2) the action commenced on or before August 27, 1999; and (3) the action is dismissed, no award for attorney’s fees or costs incurred shall issue to the plaintiff or the defendant. Ind. Code Ann. § 34-12-3-4(b). ⤴︎
  4. Ind. Code Ann. § 34-12-3-5. ⤴︎
  5. Ind. Code Ann. § 34-30-20-1. ⤴︎

Immunity Statutes in Kansas

Kansas has preempted local governments from suing firearm manufacturers and dealers for causes of action relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public. Local governments are authorized, however, to sue for breach of contract or warranty, or for damages caused to employees of political subdivisions by defects in firearms or ammunition purchased or used by the political subdivision.1

Kansas law also immunizes owners and users of a sport shooting range from civil liability and criminal prosecution, so long as it conforms to generally accepted operation practices, in any matter relating to noise or noise pollution, if the range is in compliance with noise control laws or ordinances or resolutions that applied to the range at the time of construction. If the range is in compliance with such laws, the shooting range owner or user is also not subject to an action for nuisance, and cannot be enjoined from the use or operation of a range on the basis of noise or noise pollution.2

See our policy page on Gun Industry Immunity for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-4501. ⤴︎
  2. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 58-3222. ⤴︎

Immunity Statutes in Kentucky

Kentucky law prevents any person or entity from being held liable for damages resulting from the criminal use of a firearm by a third person, unless the person or entity conspired with the third person to commit, or willfully aided, abetted, or caused the commission of, the criminal act in which the firearm was used.1 This immunity law is similar to the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”), which became law on October 26, 2005.2 The Kentucky law differs from the PLCAA, however, as it does not alter the doctrine of negligence or strict liability relating to abnormally dangerous products or activities and defective products.3

Kentucky law also prevents local governments from bringing most lawsuits against the firearms or ammunition industry.4 This law does not, however, prohibit a local governmental unit from bringing an action against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by that local unit of government.5

Kentucky limits the liability of shooting ranges for noise,6 and prevents a shooting range that has been in operation for at least one year from being deemed a nuisance solely as a result of changed conditions in or around the locality of the range.7

See our policy page on Gun Industry Immunity for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 411.155(1). ⤴︎
  2. 15 U.S.C. §§ 7901 – 7903. The validity and scope of the PLCAA and its exceptions are being tested in courts across the country. For information about these lawsuits and more information about the PLCAA in general, see our Federal Law on Immunity Statutes page. ⤴︎
  3. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 411.155(2). ⤴︎
  4. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 65.045(1). ⤴︎
  5. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 65.045(2). ⤴︎
  6. No shooting range, unit of government, or owner, operator or user of a shooting range may be subject to any action for civil or criminal liability, damages, abatement, or injunctive relief arising from the level of noise produced by the shooting range if the range complies with noise control or nuisance abatement administrative regulations, statutes, or ordinances applicable when the range commenced operation. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.210(2). Lastly, no administrative regulations, statutes, or ordinances relating to noise control, pollution, or abatement adopted by a unit of government may be applied to a shooting range retroactively if the conduct at the shooting range was lawful before the enactment of the regulation, statute, or ordinance. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.210(3). ⤴︎
  7. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.210(1). Expansion of the range facilities or activities “shall not establish a new date of commencement of operations for purposes of this section unless the change triples the amount of the noise produced by the range.” Id. ⤴︎

Immunity Statutes in Louisiana

Louisiana has two statutes providing immunity to the firearms industry. The first statute precludes any political subdivision or local or other governmental authority of the state from bringing suit to recover against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or dealer for damages for injury, death, or loss or to seek other injunctive relief resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of firearms or ammunition. The authority to bring such actions “as may be authorized by law” is reserved exclusively to the state. However, the statute specifically states that it does not prohibit a political subdivision or local or other governing authority of the state from bringing an action for breach of contract as to firearms or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision or local authority of the state.1

The second statute declares that the Louisiana Products Liability Act was not designed to impose liability on a manufacturer or seller for the improper use of a properly designed and manufactured product, and that the manufacture and sale of firearms and ammunition by duly licensed manufacturers and dealers is a lawful activity that is not unreasonably dangerous.2 It also provides that no firearm manufacturer or seller shall be liable for:

  • Any injury, damage, or death resulting from a shooting injury by any other person unless the claimant proves that such injury, damage, or death was proximately caused by the unreasonably dangerous construction or composition of the product;
  • The actions of any person who uses a firearm in a manner which is unlawful, negligent, or otherwise inconsistent with the purposes for which it was intended, so long as the firearm was transferred in compliance with federal and state law; or
  • Failing to warn users of the risk that:

A firearm has the potential to cause serious bodily injury, property damage, or death when discharged legally or illegally;

An unauthorized person could gain access to the firearm;

A cartridge may be in the chamber of the firearm; or

The firearm is capable of being fired even with the ammunition magazine removed.3

In addition, the failure of a manufacturer or seller to ensure that a firearm has a device which would: 1) make the firearm useable only by the lawful owner or authorized user of the firearm; 2) indicate to users that a cartridge is in the chamber of the firearm; or 3) prevent the firearm from firing if the ammunition magazine is removed, does not make the firearm unreasonably dangerous, unless such device is required by federal or state statute or regulation.4

See our policy page on Gun Industry Immunity for further information.

 

Notes
  1. La. Rev. Stat. § 40:1799. ⤴︎
  2. La. Rev. Stat. § 9:2800.60. ⤴︎
  3. La. Rev. Stat. § 9:2800.60. ⤴︎
  4. La. Rev. Stat. § 9:2800.60(D). ⤴︎

Immunity Statutes in Maine

Maine prohibits municipalities from commencing a civil action against “any firearm or ammunition manufacturer for damages, abatement or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.”1 This provision does not prohibit a municipality from bringing an action against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or warranty for firearms or ammunition purchased by a municipality.2

See our policy page on Gun Industry Immunity for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Me. Stat., 30-A § 2005. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎

Immunity Statutes in Maryland

Maryland prohibits the imposition of strict liability for injuries to another that result from the criminal use of a firearm by a third person.1 This restriction does not apply if the person conspired with the third person to commit the criminal act in which the firearm was used or willfully aided, abetted, or caused the commission of the criminal act in which the firearm was used.  The legislature enacted this section to supersede Kelley v. R.G. Industries, Inc.,2 which had imposed strict liability on a manufacturer of “Saturday Night Specials” (otherwise known as Junk Guns) for their criminal misuse.

See our policy page on Gun Industry Immunity for further information.

Notes
  1. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-402(b)(2). ⤴︎
  2. 497 A.2d 1143 (Md. 1985). ⤴︎