The effort by the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex to get around the Protections of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act continues, as the state of New Jersey has won an important fight over producing discovery documents. This is all part of anti-gunners’ efforts to deal a body blow to gun makers, in this case by conducting a fishing expedition and sifting through Smith & Wesson’s internal documents.
Last year, then-New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal subpoenaed Smith & Wesson, trying to force the manufacturer to hand over internal information regarding its marketing practices. The Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex’s is conducting a coordinated effort to try to skirt the PLCAA’s protections by claiming gun makers are engaging in allegedly false and deceptive advertising.
Smith & Wesson refused to cough up the documents and sued the Garden State to block them. That suit was tossed out and the state filed their own suit to enforce the subpoena. This week, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied Smith & Wesson’s request to stay a lower court’s order to produce the documents, in effect ruling the manufacturer has to produce the documents.
AG Grewal — now working in the Biden administration — made no attempt to disguise what the strategy here.
“When I say that we need to be creative, this past fall I subpoenaed Smith & Wesson for documents relating to what I believe is their false advertising in New Jersey,” Grewal said early June during a virtual roundtable hosted by March for Our Lives, a Florida-based nonprofit that advocates for stricter gun laws.
The company ran local commercials that claimed “gun use would make people safer” without providing evidence or acknowledging New Jersey laws that limit where guns can be carried, Grewal said.
Getting access to Smith & Wesson’s internal documents was a way “to hold manufacturers liable,” he said.
Translation: We can’t get the PLCAA repealed any time soon, so we’re going to attack gun makers from a variety of angles using a number of different approaches. We’re going to bury gunmakers in lawsuits to drain cash and hey, of one of these succeeds, great!
This is lawfare, plain and simple. The gun control industry, which includes many state governments, wants to tie up gun makers and drain as much of their time and cash as they can. They can’t get what they want through legislation — at least they haven’t been able to so far — so they’re using the courts instead.
In an interview earlier this year, Grewal declined to respond to that interpretation or to elaborate on the Smith & Wesson complaint, saying only in general that “we are using all of our levers to address the issue of gun violence.”
“Our playbook is treating gun violence as a public health crisis,” he added.
The goal here isn’t so much to win — though that’s a possibility — as it is to drown gun makers in paper, discovery requests, and legal costs. The recent lawsuit filed by Mexico — with Brady’s help — is part of the same strategy, as is New York’s new “public nuisance” law. The question now becomes, how long with gun makers be able to resist these attacks?