The New Jersey attorney general has filed a request with a state court seeking to force Smith & Wesson to hand over internal documents related to the advertising and marketing of firearms.
The move is only the latest in an anti-gun push by government bureaucrats to shut down firearms manufacturers over alleged false advertising.
“The preliminary investigation suggests that certain of Smith & Wesson’s firearms advertisements and marketing available to New Jersey consumers may misrepresent the impact owning a firearm has on personal safety and/or safety in the home,” attorneys for the state say in the request.
“In addition, certain of Smith & Wesson’s advertisements to New Jersey consumers depict and market the concealed carry of firearms while omitting the material fact that, in New Jersey, concealed carry of a firearm requires a permit.”
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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal subpoenaed Smith & Wesson for the documents back in October, but the gun manufacturer sent a letter to the state in December saying they were refusing to hand over the documents. Smith & Wesson then countersued in federal court saying that New Jersey’s subpoena violates its first amendment rights.
“The New Jersey Attorney General has taken a series of actions to suppress Smith & Wesson’s speech, and with the intention of damaging Smith & Wesson both financially and reputationally,” the company says in its suit.
The Subpoena presents no legitimate inquiry into any purported fraud, and instead targets mere opinions and other protected statements allegedly made by Smith & Wesson, such as (1) whether Smith & Wesson’s products are “safe,” make a home safer, or enhance one’s lifestyle; (2) whether an untrained consumer could successfully and effectively use a Smith & Wesson firearm for personal or home defense; and (3) whether private citizens should have the right to carry a concealed firearm.
In its conclusion, Smith & Wesson accuses the attorney general of launching a campaign to “silence, intimidate, and deter” the company and its customers from “exercising their constitutional rights.” Grewal’s actions violate numerous provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, according to the company.
It wouldn’t be the first attempt to go after gun makers for their advertising practices. In 2019, the Connecticut Supreme Court allowed a case to move forward against Remington for the company’s “truly unethical and irresponsible marketing practices promoting criminal conduct.” The case was brought by families of the Sandy Hook massacre and is still ongoing.