Everytown Law, the legal arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, announced this week a $3 million litigation fund to “support impact litigation that can help advance gun violence prevention.”
The funds will be made available to a host of applicants, from smaller and mid-sized law firms to solo practitioners, and non-profit legal projects, including law school clinics and legal services organizations.
“A lack of resources shouldn’t prevent gun violence survivors and their allies from holding reckless actors in the gun industry accountable,” said Eric Tirschwell, managing director for Everytown Law in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.
“Where constitutional or other legal violations are contributing to gun violence, legal action may be the only remedy available. Even as we make major strides through our own impact litigation, we see tremendous untapped potential to advance gun safety through the courts,” he continued.
“By making it easier for smaller and less resourced law firms to represent clients with cases that can have a broad impact, we expect this fund will start a new and important chapter in gun violence prevention,” Tirschwell concluded.
Categories of litigation that Everytown Law is willing to back include:
- Claims seeking accountability for survivors of gun violence from potentially liable firearm manufacturers, distributors and retailers;
- Claims that product defects caused unintentional shootings;
- Claims based on unfair or deceptive marketing and/or sales practices;
- Challenges to laws that increase the risk of armed confrontation and gun violence;
- Lawsuits arising out of unjustified shootings or armed intimidation;
- Lawsuits seeking to compel state and local officials to enforce gun safety laws;
- Claims to compel disclosure of gun violence-related public records and data; and
- Appeals arising in any of the above categories of litigation.
One of the key goals of the anti-gun lobby is to bankrupt the gun industry by making it pay for the criminal acts of third parties.
Federal law, under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), is designed to shield gun makers and sellers from such frivolous lawsuits.
However, anti-gun litigators have been persistent when it comes to challenging the PLCAA.
In fact, just this week, they scored a victory as Remington Arms’ insurers have offered to pay $33 million to nine Sandy Hook families to settle a lawsuit that claimed the gun company’s marketing practices were, in part, responsible for the 2012 killing that left 26 dead.
Making matters worse is a New York bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law this month that allows anyone to take legal action against gun makers if the products they make are deemed to be a “public nuisance.”
“The products can be considered a public nuisance even if the gun manufacturer did not purposely cause harm to the public,” states Cuomo’s press release.
With its $3 million war chest, Everytown Law is going to put the gun industry on the defensive. Even if all the lawsuits fail in the end, gun dealers and makers are going to have to put valuable time, money and resources into defending their right to sell and make legal products for law-abiding citizens.
It also has a diversionary effect as well in that it takes attention away from the true sources of gun-related crime: violent offenders.
“Claims against firearm manufacturers were consistently thrown out of courts prior to PLCAA’s enactment,” Mark Oliva, public affairs director for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told GunsAmerica via email.
“This is Everytown’s pandering to victims of crimes to hoodwink them into lending their tragic stories to pursue Everytown’s agenda of clogging up the courts with baseless claims instead of holding criminals accountable for their actions,” Oliva continued.
In the end, nothing good will come from this litigation fund. Nothing.