Posted on January 2, 2012
(This section was last updated December 19, 2010.)
Missouri law provides:
No county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision nor the state shall bring suit or have any right to recover against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public. This subsection shall apply to any suit pending as of October 12, 2003, as well as any suit which may be brought in the future. Provided, however, that nothing in this section shall restrict the rights of individual citizens to recover for injury or death caused by the negligent or defective design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition.1
These provisions do not “prevent the state, a county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision 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 state or such political subdivision.”2
The Missouri Legislature has determined that “[t]he lawful design, marketing, manufacture, distribution, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public is not an abnormally dangerous activity and does not constitute a public or private nuisance.”3
In City of St. Louis v. Cernicek, 145 S.W.3d 37 (2004), the Missouri Court of Appeals dismissed a suit by St. Louis against firearms manufacturers and sellers on the ground that Missouri Revised Statutes §§ 21.750.4 and 21.750.5 barred the suit. The court held that Missouri Revised Statutes §§ 21.750.4 and 21.750.5 bar tort claims by a city related to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.4 The court refused to address the constitutionality of the statute.5
Missouri law provides that “[a]ny county, city, town, village or other political subdivision found to have filed a frivolous action against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer, shall be liable for all costs, attorneys’ fees and other sanctions as the court finds necessary to prevent such future actions by the plaintiff or entities similarly situated.”6
Finally, all owners and authorized users of firearm ranges are immune from criminal or civil liability arising out of or as a consequence of noise or sound emission from the range.7 All owners and users of ranges are not subject to civil actions in tort or any action for public or private nuisance or trespass, and “no court in this state shall enjoin the use or operation of such firearm ranges” on the basis of noise or sound emission resulting from the use of any such range.8 Moreover, all owners and authorized users of hunting preserves or areas designated as hunting preserves after August 28, 2008, are immune from criminal and civil liability arising out of or as a consequence of noise or sound emission from the normal use of any such preserve.9 Owners or authorized users of hunting preserves are not subject to any action for public or private nuisance or trespass, and no court may enjoin the use or operation of such preserves on the basis of noise or sound emission resulting from the normal use of any such preserve.10
These immunity provisions shall not be construed, however, to limit civil liability for compensatory damages arising from physical injury to another human, physical injury to tangible personal property, or physical injury to fixtures or structures on real property.11
For detailed information about government and private party lawsuits against the gun industry, the status of litigation involving gun industry immunity statutes in various states, or pending gun industry immunity legislation, visit the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Gun Industry Immunity page.
See our Immunity Statutes / Manufacturer Litigation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.