The parents of a woman killed at the Route 91 Harvest Musical Festival massacre in Las Vegas are suing Colt and ten other gun-related companies for what they’re calling “illegal, negligent, and wrongful conduct.”
“Our precious daughter was murdered and it’s only because of guns,” Jim Parsons told Washington State news outlet KIRO 7. His daughter, Carrie Parsons, was among the 58 people who died when a man opened fire on a crowded country music concert in 2017.
The lawsuit alleges that Colt along with seven other gun manufacturers as well as gun shops in Utah and Nevada advertised the ability of AR-15s to be easily modified to mimic machine gun fire. It cites one gun manufacturer that partnered with a bump stock company to offer an AR-15 with an “integrated” bump stock, and it mentions “dozens” of online videos demonstrating how to install a bump stock.
Even without the use of a bump stock, AR-15s are “thinly disguised” machine guns that manufacturers knew could be easily modified to produce automatic fire, the suit states.
“It was only a question of when – not if – a gunman would take advantage of the ease of modifying AR-15s to fire automatically in order to substantially increase the body count during a mass shooting,” the lawsuit states, according to the Associated Press. “Having created the conditions that made a mass shooting with a modified AR-15 inevitable, Defendant Manufacturers continued conducting business as usual.”
SEE ALSO: BREAKING: Connecticut Supreme Court Allows Sandy Hook Lawsuit against Remington to Move Forward
The lawsuit uses language and strategy similar to the suit being brought against Remington by families of Sandy Hook victims. In that case, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the lawsuit could proceed on the grounds that Remington advertised its AR-15 Bushmaster rifle to promote its “militaristic and assaultive qualities.”
Lawyers for Carrie Parson’s family are similarly attacking the gun companies’ advertising tactics and believe gun makers should be held accountable.
The Parson’s lawyer, Seattle-based attorney Rick Friedman of Friedman Rubin PLLP, told KIRO that the defendants are partially responsible because “they are co-conspirators. They’ve worked for decades to get automatic weapons, weapons of war, into the hands of civilians, and that makes them culpable.”
“We’re not doing it for the money, and we’re definitely not doing it for the attention because we’re not comfortable with that,” Ann-Marie Parsons, Carrie’s mother, told KIRO. “We’re doing it because somebody has to do something.”
Gun makers are largely protected from frivolous civil lawsuits by a 2005 law known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCCA). The law has thus far succeeded in keeping anti-gun suits from moving forward, but attacking a company’s advertising—as opposed to its products—could provide the gun-control lobby with a useful loophole.
Commenting on the Sandy Hook case, Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb said the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling “strains logic, if not common sense.”
“This is like suing Ford or General Motors because a car they sold was stolen and used to run over a pedestrian all because the car manufacturers advertised that their car had better acceleration and performance than other vehicles,” he said.