Baltimore Looking to Sue Gun Manufacturers for City’s Escalating Violence

Baltimore City Solicitor Andre Davis (Photo: WBALTV)

City leaders in Baltimore are looking to sue gun makers for the city’s escalating violence.  

Solicitor Andre Davis said Tuesday that the firearms industry should be held accountable for its role in the over 300 homicides the city witnessed so far this year.

Davis said he is closely watching the outcome of a lawsuit brought by Sandy Hook families against the Remington Arms Co., in which the families allege the gun maker is responsible, in part, for the 2012 Newtown tragedy that left 26 dead including 20 school children.   

At the center of the case is a 2005 federal law known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that essentially protects gun makers from being held liable for the acts of armed criminals, thugs, and spree killers.  

Last week, the Supreme Court declined to dismiss the lawsuit thus allowing the case to move forward.  If the Sandy Hook plaintiffs are successful in breaching the PLCCA, it would open the floodgates for a wave of wrongful death suits from cities around the country.  

“That decision by the court of appeals a couple of weeks ago was a breakthrough because congress has created immunity for these gun manufacturers that, up until now, has been impenetrable and this recent decision is the first small crack in the wall and we will continue to monitor it,” Solicitor Davis said.

SEE ALSO: Walmart CEO on Blowback from Customers after Halting Ammo Sales: ‘A little bit. But not much’

It doesn’t seem right (nor is it right) that Remington should be held liable for the acts of a madman, nor does it seem right (nor is it right) that the gun industry should be held responsible for the rampant gang violence in Baltimore.  But that is precisely what will happen if that “crack” in the PLCCA doesn’t get filled by the courts.

The Connecticut Supreme Court in March ruled that Remington cannot be sued for simply selling the rifle reportedly used in the attack but it can be sued for its questionable marketing practices (the supposed “crack”).  

“Congress did not intend to immunize firearms suppliers who engage in truly unethical and irresponsible marketing practices promoting criminal conduct,” the court said. “It falls to a jury to decide whether the promotional schemes alleged in the present case rise to the level of illegal trade practices and whether fault for the tragedy can be laid at their feet.”

Of course, this is “absurd,” as Second Amendment Foundation Founder Alan Gottlieb told GunsAmerica in an email.  

“Did the advertising even remotely suggest that the Bushmaster is best for murdering people?” he added. “That’s a stretch of credulity worthy of surgical elastic.”

But there is a chance that these families win the suit.  Which would, as mentioned, create a precedent whereby the ads of every gun maker would be cited as a reason why an act of violence was perpetrated. It wouldn’t be the criminal’s fault, it would be the gun maker’s fault. Lawsuits would pile up, insurance premiums would skyrocket and the gun industry would go belly up. 

Solicitor Davis got one thing right.  We will all be watching to see what happens.  

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!***

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 44 comments… add one }
  • Mark - Bristol, IN. November 23, 2019, 3:33 pm

    And I’m suing the manufacturer of my septic tank because septic tanks like mine and Baltimore fill with septic.

    • Richard W Sands April 20, 2020, 8:57 am

      During the Freddie Grey riots in Baltimore, a black teenager slit open a firehose on live TV while firemen were using it to battle a blaze. The building was gutted. Why not sue the maker of his knife?

  • catawampus November 23, 2019, 1:13 pm

    Sue your way to prosperity

  • Andrew N. November 22, 2019, 10:37 pm

    Sue the Democratic Party instead. The cities with the most violence are all run by Dims. The abhor guns, but never prosecute gun violence. They could care less about actual crime, they just want to disarm the law abiding citizens. If they prosecutes criminals, the violence would reduce significantly as it’s the same people perpetrating the crimes. Put them in prison for 20 years each, see what happens to the crime rate. Of course, that would kill their gun control efforts…

  • SkipNClair November 22, 2019, 1:57 pm

    The person or persons to be sued are those you see in the mirror, as it’s them that were voted in, hired and payed to solve problems, and either by not caring, looking the other way on purpose, or just plain being incapable have not only allowed this to happen, but now wish to shift the blame, so they can continue to be incompetent. I call upon every civic leader in the past 5 decades, every police chief, and many yes many police officers to take a hard look into the mirror and find their fault. Your the silent soldiers in the war waged by Satan and the NWO to use chaos to bring upon mans final time on earth, Rather than have shame for not doing what needed to be done, and not having a conscience for your intentional ignoring your duties to the people that trusted you to do a job, you now seek to shift that blame to another or something else. The soul you sold for so little will one day pay a price beyond you and your imagination.

  • Roger R November 22, 2019, 1:33 pm

    Forest Gump’s mama got it right, “Stupid is as Stupid does”.

  • Jim Harris November 22, 2019, 1:21 pm

    This is another move by Baltimore to get more money . The Gang banger,s who do the shooting have no money unless they rob some one . So city goes after the money trail . just another crook like the mayor who just plead guilty for money laundering among other crimes. So we should sue her for the money she stole

  • Steve November 22, 2019, 1:10 pm

    People are the problem NOT the weapon. I believe the places where gun violence is a problem, which is Democrat run city’s and most large city’s, legally armed citizens with ZERO arrest and ZERO mental records, along with police, should have purge nights, to rid city of criminals, illegal weapons, drugs and violence in high crime areas, especially of known criminals. I don’t think it would take long to reduce crime dramatically.

  • evlgreg November 22, 2019, 10:54 am

    Let’s fast forward to 2030 and assume the Sandy Hook parents win their lawsuit, then Baltimore sues and wins, etc. etc. etc. Remington will be gone. Most other manufacturers will be gone. New manufacturers will pop up, but only be able to manufacture for military and police because the insurance policy for selling to the public wold be cost prohibitive. Baltimore has spent the money it received from the firearms insurance companies, likely in the first year.
    Question. Is Baltimore safer? Has putting companies out of business and people out of work for a short term windfall done ANYTHING to prevent drug dealers and criminals from shooting each other?

    Answer. See Mexico. Drug dealers will get guns from the military and police or other countries. There is only 1 gun store in all of Mexico, and the Sinaloa Cartel does not shop there.

    Those who believe that eliminating guns will bring a safer community are fooling themselves. The European examples like the UK with no guns still have similar murder rates. Who says the US will end up following that route? Why would we not end up like Mexico where the murder rate is 9x the US rate with the drug dealers executing politicians to get their way. Maybe we end up like Canada, or maybe we end up like Mexico, That’s a pretty big risk to take, but it’s the path the left is pushing us down.

  • El Wauxmo November 22, 2019, 10:38 am

    Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia about the some of the reasons for Baltimore’s high murder rate which in 2017 was 10 times the national murder rate.

    “n 2011, Baltimore police reported 196 homicides, the lowest number since recording 197 homicides in 1978.[2][3] That number is far lower than the peak homicide count of 353 in 1993.[4] The drop in 2011 was significant, when measured by the number of homicides, but the homicide rate was in the same range as the late 1980s when the city population was 130,000 higher. City leaders credited their sustained focus on repeat violent offenders and an increased community engagement for the continued drop, reflecting a nationwide decline in crime.[5] However, Baltimore’s decline was short-lived, as a reported 219 and 235 homicides were committed in 2012 and 2013, respectively.[6][7] Baltimore’s jump in homicides in 2013 defied regional and national trends.[8][9]

    Violent crime spiked in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015, which touched off riots and a crime wave that has resulted in an increase in murders. The city recorded a total of 344 homicides in 2015, a number second only to the number recorded in 1993 when the population was 100,000 higher. This was the highest murder rate on a per capita basis ever recorded.[10] Baltimore had seen 211 murders as of August 19, 2015, which equaled the total number of murders that occurred in Baltimore in all of 2014.[11] On July 10, 2015, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, saying his presence had become a distraction in a city that needs to focus on ending a dramatic spike in homicides.[12] The city has taken steps to quell the increased violence by seeking assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other federal agencies, including embedding FBI agents in the City’s police homicide unit.[13] On November 13, 2015, the number of murders for the year reached (and the next day surpassed) 300 for the first time since 1999.[14]

    In an interview in The Guardian, on November 2, 2017,[15] David Simon, himself a former The Baltimore Sun police reporter, ascribed the most recent surge in murders to the high-profile decision by Baltimore state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, to charge six city police officers following the death of Freddie Gray after he fell into a coma while in police custody in April 2015. “What Mosby basically did was send a message to the Baltimore police department: ‘I’m going to put you in jail for making a bad arrest.’ So officers figured it out: ‘I can go to jail for making the wrong arrest, so I’m not getting out of my car to clear a corner,’ and that’s exactly what happened post-Freddie Gray.” In Baltimore arrest numbers have plummeted from more than 40,000 in 2014, the year before Freddie Gray’s death and the subsequent charges against the officers, to about 18,000 as of November 1, 2017. This happened even as homicides soared from 211 in 2014 to 344 in 2015 – an increase of 63%.[16]

    Baltimore’s level of violent crime is much higher than the national average. In 2009, a total of 1,318,398 violent crimes were reported nationwide across the United States, equivalent to a rate of 0.4 incidents per 100 people.[17]”

  • Ed November 22, 2019, 10:23 am

    Boeing should be worried about being sued for 9/11.

    • ES November 25, 2019, 10:38 am

      Bingo!

  • don eagle November 22, 2019, 9:35 am

    i stopped a purse snatcher almost 30 years ago, and he tried to kill me with a brick, causing permanent damage with significant impact on my professional career. he was on probation for a previous offense at the time. by the logic of this case i could sue the maker of the brick, i could sue the company that owned he property where the brick was left “unsecured”, and i could sue the officers of the court and the lawyer who were involved in letting the guy go on probation.

    • Robert Messmer November 22, 2019, 12:44 pm

      Quote: “…and i could sue the officers of the court and the lawyer who were involved in letting the guy go on probation.” You are right up to this point. The government can not be sued in these kind of cases because they passed laws saying they can not be sued for this type of action. Perfect example of CYA.

      • don eagle December 5, 2019, 4:20 pm

        whether there are laws passed for not restricting lawsuits depends on the jurisdiction: an accidental police shooting of an unarmed bystander in a drug sting a couple of decades ago in Raleigh NC left the bystander dead. the relatives were unable to sue because under state law the city could only be sued if it had insurance, bizarre as this sounds. mostly, lawyers and court officials cannot be sued, i believe under the 14th amendment, due to special immunity. more later…..

  • Goetz v B November 22, 2019, 9:24 am

    Blacksploitation or Armsploitatation. Which costs the most?

  • Dr. Dennis McCarty November 22, 2019, 9:24 am

    Let’s sue Pepsi & Coca Cola for this diabetes epidemic!! This is way out of hand!!

  • Chad November 22, 2019, 9:23 am

    Yeah, guns are Baltimore’s problem…. not the failed policies of the elected officials and the deteriorating family structures.

  • Robert Sikes November 22, 2019, 8:59 am

    Let’s go ahead and sue Ford and General Motors for drunk drivers and traffic deaths. If they didn’t make cars there would be no traffic accidents

    • rsmalt November 22, 2019, 10:02 am

      Wait! There’s a solution! Why not ban all cup holders? Aren’t they the vehicular equivalent of a “high-capacity magazine?” Without them, drunks would be powerless to drive!

      These people are morons.

  • Russ November 22, 2019, 8:46 am

    Baltimore is a failed city. They can’t control the thugs so they Try to come up with imbecilic laws like this. Here’s a hint you morons. Establish minimum mandatory sentences for people that illegally use or possess firearms. Then don’t allow those crimes to be plead down or out. You will see the thugs that are committing these crimes will be in prison and the crime rate will drop. Use your brains for once.

  • Nemo November 22, 2019, 8:40 am

    The Liberals are always talking about ‘root causes’, but when it comes to the misconduct of those they say they are championing, they suddenly become blind.

    And one of those causes is the welfare system forcing males out of the family and rewarding promiscuity by awarding more welfare benefits for more kids. Then you get situations like this: Somebody need to pay for my 15 kids! You don’t have to think hard about what kind of parenting such kids have.

    The result is lots of proto-predators that grow up to be adult predators, And ‘Bawlmer’ is a perfect example of that. This is just more “Blame the tool, not the fool”. Old as dirt.

  • Larry C November 22, 2019, 8:00 am

    Uf thus goes through then we can take legal acction against Ford and GMC for all the deaths that their vehicles cause. I see a widfall for me.

  • Godfrey Washington November 22, 2019, 7:49 am

    Can my parents or I sue my college because I didn’t graduate and immediately become a millionaire?

  • BILL November 22, 2019, 7:13 am

    This is only being done to damage Remington financially.

    • deanbob November 22, 2019, 8:45 am

      Isn’t that their goal? Baltimore is as corrupt as Detroit was, and Chicago is. They refused to accept any responsibility for their long time complete Democrat/leftist control. So, why not jump on the bandwagon? Their constituents (of all of these Democrat controlled cities) choose to re-elect them, despite the evidence of their (Democrat/leftist) failure after failure.

  • Jason Coffey November 22, 2019, 6:55 am

    Or they could arrest the criminal Democrats who have made sure law abiding citizens are disarmed and criminals have free reign in the ghetto!

  • Jerry November 22, 2019, 6:43 am

    Someone please explain to me why these same people that are saying the shooter was influenced advertising are the same ones that will say violent video games have no bearing on the actions of today’s youth?

    • Robert Messmer November 22, 2019, 12:48 pm

      Exactly. They claim that decades of Hollywood and video games glorifying violence for the sake of violence has zero effect but one ad from a gun manufacturer or a single tweet from the president immediately causes people to do things they don’t want to do.

  • Georg in Arizona November 22, 2019, 6:33 am

    More liberal insanity. Look much more closely at the folks who comprise the majority of the population in Baltimore and those for whom they blindly vote (so they can continue to get their “free stuff” from the government), not the legal, tax-paying, job providing gun manufacturers. Liberals try to shift blame to every one and every thing except the REAL problems plaguing this country. Simply pathetic…..

    • Ti November 22, 2019, 1:06 pm

      Just re-watched Blackhawk Down.
      Mogadishu is what Baltimore will look like. The elite live in ‘gated’ communities, and you ‘go out’ in an APC. Do you think those Baltimore bigshots feel the BURN?

      • Ti November 22, 2019, 1:54 pm

        Read the indictment on the former mayor Catherine Pugh.
        This is a career bureaucrat in the Baltimore government. Who is running Baltimore, Maryland?

  • Kobi November 22, 2019, 6:23 am

    What has happened to this Country? I remember growing up, I was was taught to respect other people and other people’s propert, I was taught the right way to use a firearm, I hunted. We tad toys made of steel, small parts that could choke us and taking on the schoolyard bully was part of growing up. Now a days there are all these fragile, participation trophy winning snowflakes surrounded us. I remember a time that there was not a single cable channel dedicated to the news or what you would call news. A person took ownership of their decisions and actions. Now common sense is not so common and am missing the old days like crazy and I’m not old. Just 39. Sue happy people, you don’t actually care about those affected by tragedy, you only care about your political views and the all mighty dollar. Sad, just so sad. We had plenty of guns back when I was growing up, we had war, we had crime and we had drugs but what we didn’t have was all the crazy going on, so if we still have guns, war, drugs and crime this day and age, you have to really ask yourself, what is different now than 20 or 30 years ago? I’d say it’s pretty obvious. Just my 2 cents. I’ve said this all my life, God bless America! I mean it God, American needs a blessing.

  • Rob jones November 22, 2019, 6:03 am

    With that mindset; I got in a car accident with someone who was driving a Toyota and my back was injured. Toyota should pay for my medical bills; (sarcasm.)

    • Mike November 22, 2019, 7:14 am

      Not sarcasm. That is what’s next. They sued big tobacco and won…why not every other consumer product out there? I just got a paper cut from a piece of copier paper…does that mean they’re responsible for my inattention? Why not? Where does it end?

    • Ghost November 22, 2019, 7:30 am

      My wife gained 30 pounds.. I’m suering the knife, fork & spoon Industry!!

      • mike November 22, 2019, 8:54 am

        Look out Nordictrack here I come ! lol

  • MxRat November 22, 2019, 5:43 am

    Being able to sue a manufacture due to humans making inhuman & making their own choices is absolutely insane. So if that’s the case……….almost every beer & liquor manufacture better be ready!!!!!! I have never in 46 years seen a gun get up without human interaction & start shooting!

    • Ghost November 22, 2019, 9:53 am

      Agreed..But how can one fight stupid ??

  • Whathappenedto mycountry November 22, 2019, 5:41 am

    …so the target “sales” shouldn’t be affected by a theft of a weapon. How is anyone going to prove that remington marketed rifles to criminals? Insane bs.

  • Robert dain November 22, 2019, 4:58 am

    Leave it to them to blame gun manufacturers for the failed policies of the managers of the city. What is next I am afraid to ask. It’s ridiculous!

  • Mark N. November 22, 2019, 12:59 am

    The Connecticut suit has a long way to go before it becomes a crack, and there are reasons for believing that Remington could win the suit short of trial if Plaintiffs fail to adduce any evidence that the gunman (who stole the firearm) was even aware of any Bushmaster advertising, which will be pretty difficult given that he is dead. Moreover, it will be even more difficult to establish that the actual purchaser, his mother, was motivated to buy the Bushmaster because it was advertised as a lean mean killing machine–especially since she only took it to the range–since she is dead too. Without such evidence, it will be literally impossible for plaintiffs to prove causation, i.e., that the advertising motivated the killer to use that particular firearm.

    Given the actions of Plaintiffs’ counsel to date, I expect that they will simply try to snow the jury with evidence that Remington picked photos or drawings of soldiers for the purpose of allowing people to “feel like a soldier” by owning such a gun, and completely ignore, other than arguing that the buyer”must have been” influenced by such advertising, whether or not this actually occurred. For all we know, and the odds are fairly good, she bought that particular firearm because of its cost and not because of any advertising.

    I for one am not influenced at all by advertising, other than to make me aware of he existence of a new one. I am more influenced by both professional and amateur reviews. (Plus I built my own ARs.)

    • Robert Messmer November 22, 2019, 12:52 pm

      Bingo! I do not know what ad they are referencing but I am pretty sure that the manufacturer did not advertise “this is THE rifle to use if you want to shoot up a school. All you have to do is kill your parent and you are all set to go.”

  • SeppW November 21, 2019, 7:30 pm

    All lies. All liars. Why sue gun makers because Baltimore doesn’t have courage to clean up the crime and sources of crime. Why hasn’t anyone sued auto makers for vehicular homicide, drunk driving, etc; why haven’t knife makers been sued for violent crimes committed with knife? Baltimore is corrupt, the politicians are corrupt, the police are corrupt, it’s a corrupt place.

    And the governor is no better. He’s a closet liberal and never Trumper. He’s done nothing to repeal or roll back MD gun laws, it’s still a “may issue” state, and about as blue as a blue state can get. If any law-abiding non-resident citizen driving through MD with any sort of firearm and unlucky enough to get stopped you will be in for a real tough time. FOPA means nothing there and MD LEOs do not, I repeat, do not recognize nor comply with it’s provisions.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend