Smith & Wesson is suing the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office over high fees associated with three public record requests the company filed for in 2020. The company is seeking disclosures between the Hawaii office and the Firearms Accountability Counsel Task Force, a gun control-focused legal group.
Responding to Smith & Wesson, the state Attorney General’s Office asked for $27,000 in fees to produce the records. In a lawsuit filed earlier this week, Smith & Wesson states that no other states have put up similar barriers to access their public records.
“It appears to the client and it appears to us that the amount of time the state is claiming, and therefore the amount of fees, is an effort to discourage the public records request,” said attorney Jeff Portnoy, who is representing Smith & Wesson, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat.
Cogency Global, the firm representing Smith & Wesson, sought the release of the documents in 2020 along with other firearms-related records. The office denied releasing the full list of records to protect “legitimate government” functions, but would disclose some of the documents for about $23,000.
When the office countered with an offer to disclose the records for $12,000, about half of their original fees, Smith & Wesson returned with a narrower request to reduce costs further in 2021.
That was when the office returned with the total fee of $27,000 to disclose the public records.
“In Smith & Wesson’s view, what the state is trying to do is discourage the production (of documents),” Portnoy said.
“The newly formed anti-gun Firearms Accountability Counsel Task Force was featured in a National Public Radio interview with attorney Mike Schissel of Arnold & Porter, one of the big corporate law firms that has joined together with other firms to provide free legal services to anti-gun groups,” explains the NRA-ILA.
“This group was introduced on Facebook by States United to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization that appears to do what other gun prohibition lobbying organizations have done,” said the Conservative Firing Line. “They lump all firearms-related fatalities into one big number under the term “gun violence,” without mentioning that about two-thirds of gun deaths annually are suicides. There are also accidental deaths and even justifiable homicides.”