The recent mass shootings in Illinois and Texas have spun another bout of protests against gun companies and stores.
The weapons industry is facing dozens of lawsuits as many see that the responsibility should start from the stores themselves.
Gun trade should be addressed from its core to prevent massacres from frequently happening in the country.
Smith & Wesson Brands faces a lawsuit from the survivors of the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. The case was filed last week against the retailers and other individuals who were allegedly involved during the attack, which took the lives of seven people and 40 injured.
Meanwhile, the Uvalde, Texas, shooting survivors also raised legal cases against the perpetrators.
Under federal law, the gun industry experiences less accountability during mass shootings.
While the cases will be complex as the right granted by federal laws, many individuals, most particularly the survivors, families, and advocates, are hopeful that the frequent occurrences of mass shootings, albeit unfortunate events, becomes an avenue to have manufacturers and retailers take accountability.
The cases are primarily driven by the question of the manufacturer’s sales and marketing approaches.
Advocates say that if the court grants the plaintiffs the merit to impose stricter rules upon manufacturers, the conditions could change how Americans access and purchase guns.
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The Highland Park and Uvalde plaintiffs
Eric Tirschwell, a firm director representing the complainants, said that one shooting showed that the shooter had a companion in executing the crime.
Moreover, the plaintiffs filing against Smith & Wesson Brands attacked the company and said that the marketing strategies used by the company were deceptive and appealed “to the impulsive, risk-taking tendencies of civilian adolescent and post-adolescent males.”
The plaintiff’s complaint also included the distributor that allowed the sale of Smith & Wesson’s weapon that the suspect used to shoot the civilians. If the court merits the plaintiffs, a jury trial and monetary damages will be issued.
The complainants of the Uvalde shooting are asking for punitive damages against Daniel Defense, Firequest International Inc., and Oasis Outback.
The charges were filed at the Western District Court in Texas. The complaint included more than the producer and distributor of the guns but also the city, law enforcement, and school district officials.
According to the brief, the loopholes and the faults of the officers inside and outside the school contributed to the death of 21 students and teachers.
The suit said the gun manufacturer sold the gun to the shooter directly after his 18th birthday. This was “reckless, deliberate, intentional, and needlessly endanger American children.”
“This is a company that chooses to stay ignorant of the harm they cause communities like Uvalde so they can continue to recklessly market their products and make millions.”
When asked for the shooter’s answer, the Highland Park case pleaded not guilty while the Uvalde shooter is dead.
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A long and hard fight
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or the PLCAA, is highly protected by federal law against crimes committed by its customers using its products.
The law, signed in 2005, shields gun companies from being liable for shooting crimes that involve their products.
A firearms law professor, Jake Charles, said that because of PLCAA, the fight against gun manufacturers and distributors would be long and hard.
“PLCAA is quite clearly the biggest boon to manufacturers and dealers in cases like these. It’s a strong shield against many types of claims arising from gun misuse,” he said.
Photo Credit: CGTN