FILE - In this April 29, 2019 file photo, A sign asks for time to grieve at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, Calif. The gunman who attacked the synagogue last week fired his semi-automatic rifle at Passover worshippers after walking through the front entrance that synagogue leaders identified last year as needing improved security. The synagogue applied for a federal grant to better protect that area. The money, $150,000, was approved in September but only arrived in late March. "Obviously we did not have a chance to start using the funds yet," Rabbi Scimcha Backman told The Associated Press.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
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The assault against gun makers in the courts continues. As you probably know, gun makers are protected against legal liability when their products that were manufactured and sold legally are used in the commission of a crime. That basic protection is provided under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

The PLCAA is a critical protection for gun makers as a defense against lawfare attempts to run them out of business. That’s precisely why the current occupant of the White House has expressed his ardent desire to see it repealed.

The PLCAA’s existence hasn’t stopped crime victims, the plaintiffs bar, and gun control industry attorneys from trying to maneuver around it (see places like Connecticut and New York) in an attempt to pierce the law’s protective veil and damage gun makers using alternate legal attacks.

Now a California judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by survivors of the 2019 shooting at a Poway synagogue can go forward. The shooting, in which the murderer used an AR-15 rifle, resulted in one death and three wounded.

But the judge’s reasoning in allowing the lawsuit against the gun makers is…unusual. In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Kenneth Medel wrote that Smith & Wesson sells . . .

…firearms that it knew could be easily modified to turn into fully-automatic assault weapons – even when its modified guns have been used in other mass shootings. It also fraudulently marketed its Rifle with known intent to put them in the hands of persons in a demographic particularly likely to cause extreme harm — and indeed harm is the epitomy (sic) of “cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard” of the rights and safety of others.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Judge Medel alleged that Smith & Wesson “negligently marketed the rifle to youths on social media and video game-style ads.”

The judge also allowed a suit to go ahead against the retailer who sold the rifle to the shooter. The retailer allegedly sold the gun to him even though he was under 21 at the time and lacked a hunting permit, as California law mandates.

The ruling regarding Smith & Wesson is novel, to say the least. It’s also incredibly dangerous, if allowed to stand.

Virtually any semi-automatic handgun or rifle (particularly a design like the AR-15) can be illegally modified to fire fully automatically. Doing that requires a little knowledge, some basic gunsmithing skills, and the willingness to break a number of federal laws that would land you in prison for a decade or so. But it’s certainly possible.

It isn’t even clear that the Poway shooter modified the AR-15 he used. We haven’t found any reference to the rifle being modified in the subsequent reports of the shooting or in the written ruling. Judge Medel seems incensed that converting the rifle from semi-automatic to full-auto is even possible.

In effect, he’s ruled that, because the AR-15’s design can be modified in such a way, Smith & Wesson was negligent in selling them. And by extension, so is any other maker of the rifles.

Medel’s ruling is ludicrously broad and will surely be appealed by Smith & Wesson. If allowed to stand, it could be the basis for thousands of lawsuits and possibly the end of civilian AR-15 sales.

But that’s not likely to happen. What we probably have here is a Judge who was determined to find a way to allow the plaintiffs to skirt the PLCAA’s protections. Still, keep and eye on this one.




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  1. Did the gunman have a Sport II? I’m not at all sure my lowly rifle can be “easily modified”. The judge is subnormal…

  2. How can you sue someone for an expired patent on a design that now exists in the public domain?

    Oh, right. California.

  3. Another attempt at Death by a Thousand cuts. Since the parameters to sue in civil court are so much lower than in criminal court and almost always end in a Monetary Award either by judgement or litigation. It’s all about ‘Show Me the Money’. It’s all about hoping S&W will simple reach a settlement rather than fight the case. Which while could be long and protracted will most likely be thrown out. It all comes down to how much Courage the BOD of S&W have to fight or simple cower and pay off.

  4. They’re coming after the guns, folks. The White House is going to declare a national state of emergency over “gun violence.” The lax DAs not prosecuting crimes are part of it, to encourage chaos and mayhem. They have publicly stated the cause of the surge in crime is guns, not POS criminals.

    Prepare accordingly.

  5. You are an adult at 18. But in the state of CA you cannot buy a long gun without a hunting license until 21.

    Actions speak louder than words. The fascist left is gradually moving the bar to adulthood higher. I suppose this is their way to keep all of us children of the state.

    • This is the one part of the ruling that will stand. It was not a legal sale, so PLCAA won’t apply. This shows the lies Biden and the Dems keep telling. PLCAA isn’t blanket immunity for the gun industry. The store could try to argue against the validity of the law, but that’s not going to work.

      The rest of the ruling is BS. If the AR was “easily modified” to be a machine gun, BATFE would have ruled so long ago. Even if it were true, it’s not germane to the case since the shooter didn’t convert his to be a machine gun. S&W certainly doesn’t market it as easily convertible to a machine gun. Negligent marketing is the same weak argument that the activist Connecticut Supreme Court let proceed in the Netown case, and this activist judge is hoping on board. I feel sorry for the victims and their relatives, but I hope S&W spends a ton of money on their defense and the plaintiffs get stuck with the bill when PLCAA gets properly enforced in a higher court. The antigun groups and the lawyers they supply will walk free and leave the victims holding the bill, which is the real hole in PLCAA. It’s malpractice on their part since they aren’t acting in the best interests of their clients. They should also be responsible for the defendants costs and barred from practicing until it is paid in full.

      • But the illegal sale is the responsibility of the retailer and the customer. S&W cannot be held accountable for that because they were in no way involved.

        As far as the design, if it could be readily modified into a full auto weapon, it would be an NFA item by the ATF’s own definitions. Presumably S&W will have some kind of documentation to that effect.

        Dumbest suit ever, this should be trivial to defend.

        • And the conversion would be illegal. Which is like saying that because you can do something illegal with a modified “object” the manufacturer of that object can be held liable for the illegal conversion and the illegal use.

        • Ford allows me to cut the catalytic converter off my truck. I didn’t actually do it, but it is POSSIBLE. It just takes a hack saw, cutoff wheel or a plasma cutter and a couple minutes of my time and a disregard of the law.

          We need to start suing the automakers for allowing us to make illegal modifications of our vehicles.

          What’s even worse is Ford also allows me to drive my truck drunk.

    • Not completely true on the matter of age for adulthood. They are also proposing lowering the voting to as low as 16 YOA. Age Matters only when it’s usefulness is required to forward their Ideology. Regardless they continue to play the Long Game as they march down the field to Total Tyrannical Control. And ‘We the People” continue to sit idly by and allow it. Believing that a “System” who’s tenets have long since been invaded by their Acolytes and devolved into just another asset to manipulate for the Ideological Gain.

      • Since you can not be a full adult until age 21, you should have to petition the court for adult rights(like if you are working full time, married and acting adult).
        If you are not adult enough to buy a firearm, get a drink, etc, you should not be voting or be responsible for a crime. Definitely, if you are living on your parent’s dime, going to school full time and unmarried, you are not an adult in body or mind.
        If you do a crime while being between age, you should be put in a boot camp situation and taught how to work and be a member of society. An 18-20 year old can be saved from a lifetime behind bars.

        • rt66 Amen! I have long felt that under 21’s should not be treated as fully adult, except in the most egregious of cases. Throwing a kid into the prison system will only make hardened criminals of them, and be a waste of lives…

      • If they lower voting to 16 I will start a movement to demand legal age be lowered to 16 with all its perks, including the right to buy and carry firearms.

        How many of those voting 16yo’s will grab at that?

    • Progressives appear to be split on the age of adulthood. They want to raise it for guns, but lower it for voting and age of consent.

  6. I say give the judge an unmodified AR, and tell him to make it functionally fully automatic. And it can’t blow up either.
    This is a ridiculous law suit.
    Hopefully it will wind up like Lucky Gunner and the people who were dueped into this law suit will be stuck paying for the court fees.

  7. So, with this logic, Ford or Toyota can be sued for the actions of a demented driver mowing down a dozen people in a crowd, because their vehicles can be modified into “killing machines” by upgrading to a high performance computer chip for the motor, or more aggressive tires, or higher octane gasoline, or brush guard bumpers in front of the radiator grill, or…

    • Correct. And not only that, but for the illegal use of using that vehicle to mow down people in a crowd. This will mean no more Death Race! (and no more cars.)

    • I have a lifted Toyota 4runner, my tires are ornery not really aggressive unless they see a Tesla.
      However you do have a point about the Judges modification ruling, which I find silly for exactly the reasons you said.

    • You beat me to it.

      We should find a multi vehicle crash that was caused by a bad driver in a Toyota, then sue Toyota. F these woke asshats.

    • Ford fraudulently advertises it’s mustang and F150 towards working white men who everyone knows have a predisposition towards drunk driving… this kind of activism from the bench is the sh*t that makes me worry for the future of America.

  8. Well, I can go into my kitchen and use my household cleaners to easily make poison, poison gas and even nerve gas. Does that mean that the “Big Chemical Companies” (Big = Evil) are responsible because they market their products to the consumers, which can readily be converted into weapons of war and assassination devices?

    This Judge is an activists and should be removed from the bench for abuse of power. The law is clear and the Maker did nothing wrong. If the Dealer violated California Law, in that he transferred a firearm to a person under the age of 21, who did not possess a valid hunting license or was otherwise exempt under the law, then California has the option to prosecute said dealer, however according to other sources:

    “The gun shop followed state law to the letter and communicated with the California DOJ flawlessly,” said Michael Schwartz, the group’s leader. “The hunting license presented in order to purchase the firearm was legal, legitimate, issued by California, contained all required information, and was unaltered so therefore was valid.”

    If that is true, the Gun shop committed no crime and the transfer was approved by California DOJ.

    The Plaintiffs are also suing the shooter, who was 19 at the time, his parents, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who issue hunting licenses and the California Department of Justice who approved the transfer. The shooter had no prior criminal record.

    Once this case lands in front of an adult, it will be dismissed on the merits.

    • Idiot lawyers. I would assume that by now the governmental entities are out as there is an absolute immunity under the California Government Code for issuing or refusing to issue any license. The only condition to the issuance of a hunting license is being above a minimum age and taking a mandatory hunter’s course through the DFW. If the individual did have a valid hunting license, then the approval of the sale was entirely valid and without negligence.

  9. The Maoist filth are now just ignoring the laws and pushing their agenda of Civilian Disarmament.

  10. Damnit California stop doing what NY is trying to do better than what our dumbass crooked lawyers can.

  11. Didn’t have to read any further than “California judge” to know where that was headed!!

  12. I’ll make sure to send all my speeding tickets to Subaru since they made a car that makes it easy to break the law.

  13. “Video game-style ads.”
    Well, since we’ve long since established, whether true or not, that video games do not increase a users violent propensity; why would a “video game-style” ad have any relevance whatsoever?

    That was rhetoric. We know why, head I win, tails you lose.

    • My question is, what video game style ads? Where are these ads shown? I’ve never seen one–and can these asshats prove that this kid ever did? On top of which, what teenager DOESN’T kn ow what an AR is, ads or no ads? It is not as if we live in some sort of information vacuum. (Yet.)

    • If you understand the operation of an ar it is not very difficult to convert. There are several ways to accomplish this depending on type of bolt carrier being used and/or lower receiver, high/low shelf. Then the same can be said for most Simi-autos. Most of the time full auto is easier to do than Simi. However this changes nothing this judge still remains a leftist jackass tool.

  14. Well judge dumbazz there is an old Federal Law that says it is illegal to covert or modify anything to spit projectiles with one squeeze of the trigger. Therefore an AR15 or any other firearm cannot be converted unless done illegally under penalty of that law which of course covers and makes your Gun Control wishes, crap and silliness null and void. It’s the even if you could you can’t law and no one knows that better than the consumer end of S&W. Your despicable, cowardly attempt to demonize S&W only demonizes yourself.

    To be clear your bias is clearly evident. To have it your way you chose to be a sneaky lowlife ratbassturd abusing public trust and betting on no one would notice. As much as your obvious disdain for firearms is you cannot lynch S&W like the KKK democRat Party lynched innocent Blacks for crimes committed by whites who had disdain and no value for Blacks just exactly like your disdain for Black Rifles.

    Disdain has no place in a court and shame, shame on you judge dumbazz.

  15. Those with greater AR building skills greater than I feel free to chime it but . . . I am pretty sure an AR is one of the harder guns to convert to full auto. The frames are different on an AR vs. an M-16. These are those slot type thingies on the one and not the other. Can be done but its not as easy as just modifying the sear or dropping in a full auto trigger pack – which can be done on many firearms.

    • “I am pretty sure an AR is one of the harder guns to convert to full auto.”

      You can bend a piece of coat hanger wire and install it in an AR and it will function full-auto.

      Search this on YouTube -“Firing test of a DIAS made from a coat hanger”

      • If you have a full auto BCG, the (non-coat hangar) conversion calls for a pin, two properly placed holes drilled into the lower receiver, and a particular piece of metal. A manufacturer was recently busted for selling a metal credit card metal with an etching of that metal piece, on the charge of selling “machine gun parts.”

        • Isn’t there a very good chance that you’ll blow your gun up while trying to get the timing right with that (or other DIAS) if you don’t know what you’re doing?

    • “…George Floyd has been drug free for over a year.”

      *Snicker*… 😉

  16. Hmmmmmm if only Activist judges could be easily modified to follow the law rather than trying to skirt it.

  17. Dear Judge IDIOT Medel, even a lever action rifle can be “modified” to fire “fully automatic,” see John Brownings patents. And since we know tgat bolt actions can be “modified,” see the Pederson device, that means ALL rifles can be “modified,” without exception, even “muzzle loaders!” The idea, formulated in your exceptionally small mind, that technology can be “put back in the bottle,” like a genie, by some pompous arrogant windbag Judge, is pedantic!

    • Ian had a multi-barrelled muzzle-loading “machine gun” on his channel. So it is more than possible. They were a ship-mounted weapon to repel boarders.

  18. The m&p 15 can be easily converted to full auto? It is a high shelf lower isnt it? This judge is crazy. I mean, what nonsense.

  19. Why didn’t the judge just say, “Because I hate brussel sprouts”? His reasoning would have been just as valid and he would not have to work so hard to pretend his excuse is rational.

  20. “persons in a demographic particularly likely to cause extreme harm”

    and what demographic is this that we are supposed to discriminate against??

  21. ANY gun can be illegally converted into a machine gun. The worlds first gas operated machine gun was a 1873 lever action rifle converted in 1890 by John Moses Browning using a metal disc & system of hinges and levers. Even the original Civil War era Gatling used a percussion cap ignition system. Check out the emergency WWII Charlton Automatic Lee enfield machine gun conversions of the BOLT action Lee Enfield rifles!

  22. I’d love to see this judge’s words be used to argue that machine guns (which under the NFA includes “can be readily restored to shoot” full auto) are in common use and thus protected by Heller. THAT would be hilarious.


  24. Another Jewish liberal politician heard from…What a crippled ruling this is.. I’d like to see evidence that an AR15 can be “easily modified”. The ATF disagrees with that. The AR15 is purposely designed to make that a near-impossible job.
    Better sue the makers of Lee-Enfield rifles, too. The Charleton conversion in ww2 worked well as a full-auto rifle and was fielded by the ANZACs.

  25. The Dimwitocrats have no respect for the constitution. Some portions of the Bill of Rights that benefit them are defended yet other rights they dislike are ignored. For example, Dimwits refuse to require voters to prove their identification because of the possibility that a voter might not have identification. The fact that hundreds of thousands of illegitimate voters, including illegal aliens, are able to illegally vote for Dimwitocrat candidates is of no consequence to them.

    While Dimwits defend the right to vote without restriction they are willing to do everything possible to destroy the Constitutional Right to Bear Arms.

    • @Otherwise: It’s ironic that in a video that purports to debunk myths, he propagates the myth that full-autos are illegal for regular citizens to own. Sigh.

      • In the context of which I inferred his comments, he was talking about post-1986 fully automatic firearms because entire video was mainly centered on modern-day “semiautomatic” firearms. One can certainly own pre-1986 fully automatic firearms if willing to jump through the necessary hoops. And just to be clear, the fundamental myth that is being discussed in this article concerns conversion from semiautomatic to fully automatic, and the relevant part of the video addressing that notion begins at the time I specified in the original post.

  26. CA Judge.

    Is there anything else that one needs to know?

    He missed that the rifle, being black, could more easily sneak about after dark—thus being more deadly.

  27. I can modify my Buick with a couple of pitchforks on the front. Car manufacturers should be jumping up to defend the arms industry. Many more are killed with cars every year than with firearms. Where is the outrage for that. There is none because it’s ridiculous, just as it is regarding firearms.

  28. If I was a manufacturer, I’d immediately have a Cease and Desist order to prevent Game Manufacturers/Programmers from using my name on any of the Virtual Weapons used in Video Games. That any Game Company doing so is using my name without permission. That way any claims in the future, that I, the manufacturer, are targeting, marketing or promoting my products through Game Licensure is dead in the water.
    This is a variation of the same BS they hit Remington with over Sandy Hook.

  29. OH GOLLY.

  30. Since there is a Federal law against this type of law suit, the activist judge violated federal law and should be removed and the lawyers behind the lawsuit should be disbarred. Any legal expenses incurred by Smith and Wesson should be reimbursed at 3 times actual cost.

  31. Okay, here we go again, victimizing the violent criminal and prosecuting the firearm and firearm manufacturer. What will be next, suing the rum for a DUI because it was mixed with the coke, and has the ability to be mixed with other non-alcoholic liquids? To be a judge one’s opinion isn’t the law, but in California (aka Northern Mexico) the statute of law is just that, an opinion and is applied differently when it is most convenient. When will this idiocracy stop?

  32. By the judge’s own logic, he could be sued if someone grabbed him and lopped off one of his arms, then put it in a freezer for a few hours, then used the hard-frozen arm to beat someone to death with. Please note, I’m not suggesting that anyone do such a thing! I’m just pointing out how ridiculous that path of “logic” is. Freezing a body part is much easier than a full-auto hack. By the way, virtually every mass shooting I know about could have been (and most were) accomplished without full auto. I’ve known soldiers who never fired full auto with their rifles during their entire tours of duty. Semiauto is more accurate and wastes less ammo.

  33. My girl friend has the potential to have sex with underaged people, police have potential to kill and discriminate without fear, judges have potential to disregard law to make a point. Everything has potential including the rented truck used to blow up OKC.

  34. With that logic, any object that is used to kill someone (a crime in most places) is classified as a weapon. The maker of that object is then liable for damages? So, if someone uses a brick to kill somebody, the brick manufacturer is now liable? Is The Pampered Chef liable if someone uses one of their knives to kill another person? Is Ace Hardware liable if someone uses a hammer purchased at one of their stores to kill a person? This case cries for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. This has got to stop before America becomes Amerika.

  35. As to any manufactured object being “modified” in a manner not intended by it’s maker, forget that such modificationis a violation of existing law————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    As to any manufactured item being “modified” to function in a manner not intended by it’s maker, forget the fact that such modification is/would be a violation of existing law being something that the judge is unable to grasp clearly demonstrates the judges lack of competence to rule in any such cases.

  36. And a judge can be used as a 🐀💩👜🦨🖕🐽

    • “More fruits and nuts” from Cowleefonia (in best Ahnold voice)… Lets not forget all the vegetables raised there..

  37. This ruling is a symbolic attack against all firearms. With the stroke of a pen, they can make all firearms “military” weapons.

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