Judge rules 2019 San Diego Chabad shooting lawsuit against gun manufacturer can proceed

One person died and three others were injured when a 19-year old opened fire at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in 2019.

Dan Verbin ,

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A San Diego judge has ruled that the victims and families of the 2019 synagogue shooting at a Chabad synagogue near San Diego that killed one congregant and injured three others can proceed with a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the semiautomatic rifle and the gun store where it was illegally purchased by the shooter, reported Reuters.

California law stipulates that no one under 21 can purchase or own long guns. The alleged gunman John Earnest was 19-years old at the time he purchased the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle used in the shooting.

He did not have a valid hunting license that would have given him an exemption from the age statute.

The attack took place on April 27, 2019, the last day of Passover. A gunman armed with an AR-15 entered the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California, firing at worshippers, killing one woman and injuring three others including the rabbi.

Shortly after leaving the scene, Earnest reportedly called 911 to report the shooting. He was arrested two miles from the synagogue in his car by police.

Judge Kenneth Medel of the San Diego County superior court ruled against Smith & Wesson’s argument that the lawsuit contravened the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

The PLCAA is a federal law that protects gun manufacturers from being held liable over shootings.

"Today's judgment is a victory, and an important step on the road to justice for the victims of the shooting at Chabad of Poway Synagogue, and all Americans who believe that the gun industry is not above the law," said Jonathan Lowy, the plaintiffs’ lawyer. "We look forward to proving our case in court, and working to prevent future tragedies."

The suit was initially filed in 2020 on behalf of Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, now retired, who was wounded in the attack, and seven others present, including 10-year-old Noya Dahan and her uncle Almog Peretz, who were both injured by shrapnel, reported the San Diego Tribune.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in the attack after she was shot twice in the back in the lobby of the synagogue.



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