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Lawful Businesses Should Not be Liable for Harms Caused by Businesses’ Adversaries

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Article first appeared on Ammoland.com

U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of an important amicus brief with the Georgia Court of Appeals in McBrayer, et al. v. The Governors Ridge Property Owners Association, Inc., et al. The brief, authored and filed by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh and Georgia attorney Darren Summerville, with the help of UCLA law student Madison Way, is available at FPCLegal.org.

The Governors Ridge Property Owners Association brought a nuisance action against the owner and operators of an OB-GYN clinic, arguing that the clinic was a nuisance due to the anti-abortion protestors who regularly gathered outside the office. A jury agreed—even though the medical clinic was lawfully operated and properly licensed—and found the owner and operators liable for over $1.5 million in damages.

FPC, along with a diverse group of law professors and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, filed an amicus brief in support of the clinic’s owner and operators. The brief argued that “under the lower court’s reasoning, many controversial businesses and organizations—churches, synagogues, mosques, bookstores, gun stores, political party offices, and more—may face economic ruin and be forced to shut down because they are targeted by protesters or criminals (or are even just morally disapproved of by their neighbors, despite being completely legal). Opponents could picket or attack those entities until neighbors file a nuisance lawsuit, forcing the opponents’ targets to either pay massive damages or to abate the nuisance by closing up shop, which is the opponents’ goal.” This would “create[] incentives for people to commit crimes; and . . . undermine[] the legal and constitutional rights of law-abiding businesses and their customers.”

“Regardless of how one feels about a particular business, if it is a lawful business, it should not have to bow to the demands of criminals or even those who oppose it on moral grounds,” noted FPC’s Director of Research Joseph Greenlee. “The trial court’s decision set a dangerous precedent for gun shops and firing ranges, which also sometimes face opposition on political and moral grounds, so we hope the court of appeals will reverse that decision.”

Professor Volokh added, “I very much appreciate Firearms Policy Coalition’s participating in this case — their presence helps show the court that this case is about the broad right to conduct a lawful business — and about a broad range of constitutional rights — and not just an ‘abortion clinic’ case.”

Firearms Policy Coalition and its FPC Law team are the nation’s next-generation advocates leading the Second Amendment litigation and research space, having recently filed two United States Supreme Court petitions for certiorari (review) (Folajtar v. Attorney General and Holloway v. Attorney General) and several major federal Second Amendment lawsuits, including challenges to the State of Maryland’s ban on “assault weapons” (Bianchi v. Frosh), the State of Pennsylvania’s and Allegheny County’s carry restrictions (Cowey v. Mullen), Philadelphia’s Gun Permit Unit policies and practices (Fetsurka v. Outlaw), Pennsylvania’s ban on carry by adults under 21 years of age (Lara v. Evanchick), California’s Handgun Ban and “Roster” laws (Renna v. Becerra), Maryland’s carry ban (Call v. Jones), New Jersey’s carry ban (Bennett v. Davis), New York City’s carry ban (Greco v. New York City), the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. BATFE), and others, with many more cases being prepared today. To follow these and other legal cases FPC is actively working on, visit the Legal Action section of FPC’s website or follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.


About Firearms Policy Coalition

Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, and other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.

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