(Springfield, VA) -- Gun Owners of America took issue with a Florida jury's recent verdict to impose $1.2 million in damages against the Valor Corporation -- a gun distributor which sold a pistol that was eventually used to murder a teacher in May 2000. Nathanial Brazill, a student, had stolen the pistol before using it to commit the crime.

"This was a horrible decision," said GOA Communications Director Erich Pratt. "Firearms are legal in this country, and it's wrong to punish gun makers for selling a legal product -- a product protected by the Constitution."

Pratt explained that this decision, if it is not overturned, would help establish a very dangerous precedent. "More people die in cars than by gunfire," Pratt said. "So are we going to start holding Detroit responsible when a kid steals a car and uses it to run over and kill someone else? Plus, should the car owner be held liable when their car is stolen and used in a crime?

"That is basically what this jury did. The jury found the gun maker liable, as well as the family who originally owned the pistol that Nathanial Brazill stole. That is truly ludicrous!" Pratt exclaimed.

Pratt also laid much of the blame at the feet of the judge. "The judge prohibited the jury from saying the killer was liable, and thus forced the jury to put the blame everywhere else.

"The jury blamed the victim of the gun theft, the school and the gun maker," Pratt said. "If we're going to start blaming other people -- other than the killer -- how about this creep's parents? Between the two of them, they have more than 40 police incident reports on them (including domestic violence)!"

Finally, Pratt rejected the claims of the plaintiff's attorneys who were led by the Brady Center and Bob Montgomery, who is an anti-tobacco trial lawyer. They argued that certain guns -- like the Raven Arms .25 caliber handgun that was used in the crime -- are only useful for criminals.

"Cheap guns are ideal for poor people in high crime neighborhoods," Pratt said, "and many police officers choose to use such firearms for backup guns. Guns are used more than two million times a year in self-defense, and 75% of those cases involve handguns. Who are we to say which handguns a homeowner should, or should not, use? That is an individual decision, and people should make that choice for themselves."

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