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Highland Park Victims, Families Sue Smith & Wesson For Making and Selling a Legal Firearm


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Following the settlement reached between the Sandy Hook families and what remains of the old Remington, victims and families of high profile shootings — usually backed by gun control industry attorneys — now see what they think is a way to skirt the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Their new tack is to claim “misleading advertising” somehow convinces would-be killers to buy their firearm and shoot innocent people with it.

The latest target of this ploy is Smith & Wesson.

The Highland Park killer — the dress-wearing incel who shot dozens of parade-goers from a rooftop on July 4 — used a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle. Yesterday, survivors and family-members of those who were killed sued Smith & Wesson in an Illinois court (lawsuit here).

From the AP . . .

The group’s strategy mirrors the approach used by relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school killings, who in February reached a $73 million settlement with the firearm company that produced the rifle used in that attack. That was believed to be the largest payment by a gun-maker related to a mass killing and hinged on the families’ accusation that Remington violated Connecticut consumer protection law by marketing its AR-15-style weapons to young men already at risk of committing violence.

The suit names not only Smith & Wesson for making the weapon the shooter used, but also Buds Gun Shop for selling it as well as Red Dot Arms in Lake Villa, Illinois for transferring the firearm. The shooter and his father are also named in the suit.

Advertising text also billed the rifle as “capable of handling as many rounds as you are” and providing “pure adrenaline.” One ad shows the M&P 15 on a dark background above the phrase “kick brass” in a bold red font and capital letters.

“The advertisements and marketing tactics described above demonstrate that Smith & Wesson knowingly marketed, advertised, and promoted the Rifle to civilians for illegal purposes, including to carry out offensive, military style combat missions against their perceived enemies,” [Highland Park survivor Liz Turnipseed’s] attorneys argue.

The lawsuit claims that Smith & Wesson’s advertising uses “military, patriotic, and law enforcement themes” and the company’s ads are similar to first person shooter video games such as Call of Duty which the killer allegedly played.

Plaintiffs also cited Smith’s ads portraying its firearms as the choice of “on-duty service members.”

The plaintiffs claim Smith’s ads “deliberately — and misleadingly — show the weapons being used not in a civilian context but by what are made to appear to be members of the U.S. military on active military duty.” They then criticize Smith & Wesson for its lack of military sales.

In other words, the plaintiffs claim Smith & Wesson makes “weapons of war” that aren’t sold to the U.S. military.

Maybe most surprising is the fact that the plaintiffs’ attorneys seem to be confused about not only the features of Smith’s semi-automatic M&P 15 rifle, but the laws surrounding their sale. They claim that . . .

Smith & Wesson violated both the NFA and the Gun Control Act (“GCA”) by manufacturing, transferring, and selling these weapons without filling out the appropriate transfer forms, getting approval of the forms by the ATF, paying occupational and transfer taxes or registering the firearms.

The plaintiffs attorneys have a high opinion of themselves.

“There’s certainly a long path, and it’s an uphill battle,” [attorney Ari] Scharg said. “But I think this is the most important case in the country being litigated right now … and we’re going to see it through to the end.”

This will take years to litigate and will cost Smith & Wesson millions of dollars to defend…which is, of course, the point.

 

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