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

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

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. ⤴︎