A recent lawsuit filed in the Sandy Hook shooting pits the families of the victims against the manufacturer of the gun used in that tragedy. The lawsuit claims the marketing tactics used by the manufacturer targeted violent youths. If other cases like Purdue-Pharma and the tobacco industry are referenced, I think the manufacturer will lose that fight.
What happened that day was horrific and tragic. A very troubled and disturbed individual stole his mother’s legally-owned weapon, killed her and opened fire on innocent children. All the signs were there — violent video games, recluse, introvert and mental illness. But, because of the laws against discrimination and labeling, there was no action taken prior to the tragedy.
It just so happened that the killer used a Bushmaster AR-15 as his weapon of choice that day. And the lawsuit filed by the families claims that slogans used by the manufacturer, Remington, were hyper-masculine and targeted young men prone to violence. Slogans like “ Forces of opposition, Bow Down” and “ Man card reissued” are specifically mentioned in the lawsuit.
They will have a hard time proving that those slogans are targeted to troubled youths. Unlike the tactics used by tobacco companies — Joe Camel and Purdue-Pharma, which claimed Oxy-Contin was not that addictive — both industries lost and paid dearly. That’s for another debate.
Remington is standing behind a 2005 law they say protects them from these kinds of lawsuits. The “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” was meant to protect manufacturers against politically motivated or otherwise egregious lawsuits. In the lawsuit its states that the laws continues, “Unless the manufacturers’ marketing tactics violates the law or in instances of ‘negligent entrustment’ — selling a gun with a high risk of misusing it.”
The lawsuit claims that Remington marketed the “killing machine” to unqualified youths, but the gun was never sold to the shooter. His mother legally obtained it and the shooter stole the gun from her just before he killed her.
The killer was intent on harming people that day and would have used any means necessary to do so. He could have made a bomb or used a car or truck. He could have poisoned people. He could have used a knife or a myriad of other resources that are available to harm people. If he used a Chevy Silverado, would the GM be sued?
My heart bleeds for the families of the victims. But this lawsuit, if successful, opens the door to a host of other potential suits that can reshape our country. It potentially opens the door for any device used in any killing to be subject to compensation for damages.
When the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed, killing many people and children, fertilizer was the primary ingredient. Will the fertilizer manufacturer be subject to a lawsuit? Will video games, films and music that promote violence, killing beatings and havoc be subject to lawsuits like this? Or will the Constitution protect them?
This lawsuit can jeopardize the rights of lawful gun owners. But if everyone followed the law things like this wouldn’t happen.
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