Highland Park Victims Sue Smith & Wesson for ‘Deceptive’ Ads that ‘Appeal’ to Mass Killers

The ongoing effort, orchestrated by anti-gun organizations, to scapegoat gun makers for the violent actions of homicidal delinquents continues this week as Smith & Wesson is now being sued by the victims of the 2022 Highland Park attack. 

The lawsuit, filed in Illinois state court on Wednesday by Everytown Law, alleges, in essence, that Smith & Wesson’s advertising attracts and inspires active shooters.

“The mass shooting at Highland Park’s Fourth of July Parade was the foreseeable and entirely preventable result of a chain of events initiated by Smith & Wesson,” the lawsuit says. 

“For years, the manufacturer has deceptively and unfairly marketed its assault rifles in a way designed to appeal to the impulsive, risk-taking tendencies of civilian adolescent and post-adolescent males-the same category of consumers whom Smith & Wesson has watched, time after time, commit the type of mass shooting that unfolded again on the Fourth of July in Highland Park,” it continues. 

Seven individuals were killed and 48 were wounded in the July 4th attack.  

The perpetrator of the attack had a troubled history that was well documented.  

In 2019, Illinois State Police (ISP) filed a “Clear and Present Danger” report after the individual made threats to “kill everyone,” including himself.

ISP seized 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword from the individual that year but he was not charged with a crime.  

In 2020, the individual obtained a FOID card (Firearm Owners Identification card) and went on to purchase several firearms.

SEE ALSO: Remington Settles With Sandy Hook Families, Agrees to Pay Out This Amount 

Clearly, existing gun control laws and the administrative state failed to keep firearms out of this individual’s hands. 

One can argue that while the vast majority of the blame falls on the killer himself, the state may in fact bear some responsibility for its role in allowing this deeply troubled individual to purchase arms.

This is especially true for a state that actively chills 2A rights while simultaneously touting the effectiveness of robust gun regulations as a means to stop these very tragedies.

But attorneys for the plaintiffs aren’t pointing the finger at ISP nor the politicians in power, instead, the focus is solely on the unfairly maligned gun industry. 

“The gun industry targets its advertising to a subset of consumers — like the shooter here — that it knows are impulsive and prone to violence,” said H. Christopher Boehning, litigation partner with Paul, Weiss, Rifkin, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

“Time and again, they have seen their products used in mass shootings.  Yet manufacturers like Smith & Wesson refuse to take even the most basic steps to address their dangerous sales and marketing practices,” he continued.  “That’s because those practices sell more weapons and, indeed, the outcry that follows every mass shooting only improves their bottom line.”

Federal law, under what’s known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), currently protects firearm manufacturers and retailers from being held liable for criminal acts committed by third parties.  

The PLCAA certainly applies in this case. But legal analyst Gil Soffer told ABC7 that the lawsuit is an attempt to circumvent the PLCAA.

“What we’re seeing here is a creative effort to get around that law and to allege deceptive advertising in the hopes that that will be sustained by the court,” Soffer said.  

While it’s likely that the case will eventually get thrown out, the problem is it still is a financial hit for Smith & Wesson. As they’ll have to fight it and attorneys aren’t free.

Which is, of course, part of the point of the lawsuit. That is, short of scoring a legitimately legal victory, Everytown Law would love nothing more than to create a forever war in the courts to drain precious resources from gun manufacturers.

Create a war of attrition, in other words. And, Everytown Law knows that with billionaire Michael Bloomberg backing them, they have plenty of money to wage it.

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

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  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment October 2, 2022, 12:44 pm

    So can we now sue over the political ads that have been airing?

  • Kbc October 1, 2022, 10:33 am

    President thus resolves to include the BATFE as a responsible party in failure to impede Driving Under The influence (Alchohol and Tabacco(canabis) growers, producers (Pelosi winery?), sellers and the movie industry for glorifying the A.T (not protected by the Constitution) of the BATFE (F.E is protected by the Constitution) lawyers have lost all ethics.

  • Jason M September 30, 2022, 6:54 pm

    Fake news, never happened. Highland Park banned “Assault Weapons.” Maybe they should sue Highland Park for failing to protect their residents.

  • Staff II September 30, 2022, 12:51 pm

    SO….. This means when people get in a car accident they can SUE the car manufacturer?? This is the most

    asinine thing they have done in awhile. If they want to sue a Manufacturer go after the drug companies that

    make all the Antidepressants that these shooter are were/on (they have more money anyway).

  • Todd September 30, 2022, 12:48 pm

    Sounds, by their own rhetoric, that they should be going after video games but instead are targeting the lowest currently hanging fruit in AR-15s.

  • The Ghostman September 30, 2022, 11:22 am

    Why are they not suing the Illinois State Police who filed a “clear and present danger” document, seized a large number of knives, recorded that the individual stated he wanted to “kill everyone”, but didn’t arrest him or place him under a protective order and put him in a mental institution for evaluation, and then allowed him to get a Firearm Owners Identification Card since THEY DIDN’T GET THE CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER INFO INTO THE NICS SYSTEM.
    Those guys need to be sued for each death and injury. They clearly did not follow procedure and are a huge part of the reason for the results.

  • Fal Phil September 30, 2022, 10:52 am

    No government in the world uses such a rifle in the role of “assault rifle” due to the fact that they lack a full auto setting. I would go after the suing attorneys for mischaracterizing the product and countersue the attorneys for that mischaracterization.

  • Dr Motown September 30, 2022, 7:52 am

    They’re worried about “children” but have no problem with transgender activists “marketing” perversions like elementary school drag shows to kids….SMH. Perhaps they can show us a “woke” way for Smith and Wesson to market firearms🙄

    • Johnn September 30, 2022, 8:11 am

      And all the pieces of shit coming across the boarder bringing in all these drugs that I think the democrats are getting kick backs from.

    • Kane September 30, 2022, 11:14 am

      Crimo (or whatever the name of the shooter name is?) is a transvestite.

      I wonder what he expects the Cook County jail will be like?

      When I was growing up the sacred straight programs got my attention.

  • Patriot September 30, 2022, 6:03 am

    What a bunch of bs, every movie and TV show portrays guns as cool and a means to every problem. Are they going to be sued also?

    • Blue Dog (he/him) 🧢 September 30, 2022, 10:00 am

      Especially the video games! Those are what is grabbing the attention of these boys, not magazine ads.

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