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MARCH 24, 2003
4:16 PM
CONTACT:  Brady Campaign
Eric Howard of the Brady Campaign to Prevent
Gun Violence, 202-289-5785
Police Officer Shot While on Duty Stands up to Gun Lobby in New Ad
Blasts NRA-Backed Bill that Shuts Doors to Gun Violence Victims
WASHINGTON - March 24 - In an ad published in today's Roll Call by the Brady Campaign United With the Million Mom March, a former New Jersey police officer blasts NRA-supported bills introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives that would provide unprecedented immunity from lawsuits to the gun industry. The bills would override last week's ruling by a West Virginia court allowing former Orange County Detective Kenneth McGuire to proceed with his lawsuit against a West Virginia gun dealer. In the ad, Detective McGuire implores Congress: "A reckless gun dealer almost cost me my life. Don't let the gun lobby and Congress put him above the law."

The ad recounts the role of the dealer, Will's Jewelry and Loan of South Charleston, West Virginia, in supplying the 9-mm Ruger semiautomatic pistol used by a career criminal to wound Officer McGuire and his partner, Detective David Lemongello, in a shoot-out in January, 2001. Six months before the shooting, the pistol was one of 12 handguns sold by Will's to a "straw purchaser" for a gun trafficker in a single transaction. In three separate visits to Will's, the straw purchaser and trafficker bought 22 guns in one month. The lawsuit charges the dealer with negligence and contributing to a public nuisance by engaging in large-volume sales to a purchaser who clearly intended to supply the illegal market.

The proposed legislation, introduced as S. 659 by NRA Board Member Senator Larry Craig (R-Id.) in the Senate and H.R. 1036, introduced by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla) in the House, would give unprecedented special immunity from lawsuits to gun sellers. In introducing the bill last week, Senator Craig stated that the lawsuits affected by the bill "are not brought by individuals seeking relief for injuries done to them by anyone in the industry." As Officer McGuire's suit shows, Senator Craig's statement is flatly untrue.

Michael Barnes, president of the Brady Campaign United With the Million Mom March said, "Any Senator or Representative who supports legal immunity for the gun industry should explain to Officer McGuire, his partner Detective Lemongello and gun violence victims like them, why their rights are being taken away."

The proposed legislation also would threaten the lawsuit recently filed by victims of the D.C.-area sniper shootings against the Tacoma, Washington gun shop from which the Bushmaster assault rifle used by the suspected snipers mysteriously disappeared. The assault rifle was reported stolen by Bull's Eye Shooter Supply only after law enforcement authorities confiscated it after arresting the suspected snipers. According to a federal search warrant, over 230 other guns are recorded "missing" from Bull's Eye in the last three years.

To see today's ad and to learn more about the NRA's dangerous, special interest legislation, visit us online: and


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