Georgia law reserves to the state the authority to bring suit and recover against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or dealer by or on behalf of any governmental unit, or department or agency thereof, 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 However, this rule does not prohibit a political subdivision or local government authority 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 the political subdivision or local government authority.2
The Georgia General Assembly has declared that the lawful design, marketing, manufacture, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public is not an unreasonably dangerous activity and does not constitute a nuisance per se.3
In Sturm, Ruger & Company v. City of Atlanta, the Court of Appeals of Georgia reversed the denial of a motion to dismiss a city’s negligence claim against gun manufacturers, dealers, and trade associations in connection with the design, marketing and distribution of firearms.4 Among other things, the court held that the lawsuit was precluded by the laws described above.5 The court held that these statutes could be applied retroactively and that such retroactive application did not offend the state constitutional prohibitions on retroactive laws, special laws, or the state constitutional separation of powers doctrine.6 See Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in Georgia for further details about this lawsuit.
Finally, no sport shooting range or unit of government or person owning, operating, or using a sport shooting range for the sport shooting of firearms is subject to any action for civil or criminal liability, damages, abatement, or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to noise generated by the operation of the range if the range remains in compliance with noise control or nuisance abatement rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances applicable to the range on the date on which it commenced operation.7
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- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-173(b)(2).
- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-173(a)(2).
- 560 S.E.2d 525 (Ga. Ct. App. 2002).
- Sturm, Ruger, 560 S.E.2d at 530-32.
- Id. at 530-32.
- Ga. Code Ann. § 41-1-9(c).