Overlawyered raises an interesting question regarding the DC gun liability suit: isn't lack of personal jurisdiction over the manufacturer a defense?
Personal jurisdiction amounts to -- you can't sue a person anywhere you want: in order to sue a person in a State (or here, DC) you must be able to prove he had some substantial "contacts" with the State. If he doesn't have a real presence there (headquarters, place of doing business, etc.) you have to show other "contacts."
As I recall, the Supreme Court Asahi case split along two lines. The plurality (not enough for majority) position was that the defendant company must have "purposefully availed" itself of the State's markets. Advertised to customers there, things like that. The minority held with a broader "stream of commerce" theory. My memory's a bit foggy, but it amounted to putting things in the stream of commerce when you knew they would go to that State, even if you yourself didn't promote them there.
This might be a especially interesting argument in the DC context, since the firearms in question were forbidden to be sold in DC, hence it would be 100% foreseeable that even the stream of commerce would not lead to their being sold there. And "it was sold at retail elsewhere and somehow private purchasers (or thieves from them) took it to DC" probably would fly under neither theory.
My own experience with personal jurisdiction defenses suggests that, absent this, they're hard to win...
Some years ago I represented the Italian gunmaker, Uberti, in connection with dropping of a single-action revolver that fired and killed a bystander. I argued lack of personal jurisdiction, went to the Arizona Supreme Court, and lost.
The Court accepted the argument that "contacts" have to be assessed as of the date of the gun's manufacture. The gun was made in the 1970s, when Uberti was just starting up as an exporter. Uberti didn't market then in the US. The American manufacturer, Iver Johnson, hired Uberti to make a lot of several thousand single-actions for them, to their specs. Uberti made the guns in Italy, delivered them to I-J at the Milan airport, and there their involvement ended. I-J brought them to its New Jersey plant and sold them in the US. How the gun got to Arizona, 30 years later, is unknown.
I argued that this clearly failed the Asahi plurality test: Uberti had not "purposefully availed" itself of any Arizona market: indeed, it might not even have known where Arizona is. It probably failed even the Asahi minority test: there was no showing the gun came into Arizona via the stream of commerce. It might have been sold at retail in some other State and been taken here at any point in the past 30 years.
AZ Supremes doused that, with a ruling that applied the Asahi plurality test, but actually wound up broader than the stream of commerce test. It essentially said that Uberti had sold with the knowledge that the gun was coming to the US, had done nothing to stop it from coming to Arizona thereafter, and hence could have foreseen that it might wind up in Arizona at some time, and that was enough. I filed a petition for cert., which was denied (US Supremes haven't wanted to revisit the issue since Asahi, perhaps because the Court is sharply divided).
The underlying problem is that a State and its courts have of course an interest in asserting the broadest jurisdiction and power here. Get compensation for your residents, at cost of a nonresident.
Note the AZ ruling might be distinguishable from the DC case, since in DC the guns in question were outlawed. I'd assume the mfr has instructions not to ship them to an FFL in DC (I think there's only one there). In either event, it would not be foreseeable that they would get into DC on a stream of commerce, as the Court uses that test.