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U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear case in 1999 Valley hate-crime shooting

May 25, 2010 |  5:13 pm

http://www.ktla.com/media/photo/2009-08/48574012.jpgThe U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to take up the case of the mother a postal worker slain in the 1999 North Valley Jewish Community Center shootings. The high court's denial ends her lawsuit against gunmaker Glock and wholeseller RSR, which she accused of recklessly marketing and distributing firearms.

Lilian Ileto, the mother of Joseph Ileto, had sought to challenge the constitutionality of a 2005 law that bars claims against manufacturers and distributors of firearms for crimes committed by a third party using their weapons.

Buford O. Furrow Jr., a white supremacist and avowed neo-Nazi who was a convicted felon with a history of mental instability, used at least seven illegally obtained firearms to shoot Ileto in Chatsworth and five others in Grenada Hills during a racially-motivated rampage. Ileto, a Filipino American, was killed by a 9-millimeter Glock pistol that Furrow bought at a pawnshop.

Surviving shooting victims and families first sued in 2000, alleging that the companies sold more firearms than the legitimate market demands to take advantage of guns being resold to illegal buyers.

The high court’s refusal to hear the case let stand a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that found that the law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, was constitutional and prevented Lilian Ileto from suing Glock and RSR.

The 9th Circuit also found, however, that the survivors’ lawsuit against a third manufacturer, China North, can go forward because that company is not federally licensed.

The office of Solicitor General Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court nominee, defended the law in filings with the high court.

-- Victoria Kim

Photo: Scene at the Jewish community center. Credit: KTLA News

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