Suing for Gun Control?

Anti-gun activists know they can’t get what they want through legislation, so they’re trying to get it in the courts.

A recurring theme in political-issue activism is that when activists cannot achieve their desired policy ends through traditional democratic routes, many resort to other means they hope will ultimately have a similar effect. Often, this means litigation. For example, after being legislatively stymied, environmental groups have pushed dubious lawsuits targeting oil and gas companies, claiming that those companies tortiously brought about climate change by producing and selling the fuels demanded by all of humanity.

Gun-control activists have embarked on a similar campaign. Their goal appears to be bankrupting (or at least significantly curtailing) the firearms industry through lawsuits aimed at holding companies directly liable for harms associated with gun violence. Last year, a federal district court dismissed a $10 billion lawsuit brought by the Mexican government against Smith & Wesson and seven other gun manufacturers or distributors, which claimed that those companies should be held responsible for Mexico’s significant gun-violence problem. Major gun-control activist groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, the Giffords Law Center, and March for Our Lives filed an amicus brief opposing the motion to dismiss, and the case has been appealed to the First Circuit.

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This article originally appeared in National Review on April 3, 2023.

Robert Stilson

Robert runs several of CRC’s specialized projects. Originally from Indiana, he has a B.A. from Hanover College and a J.D. from University of Richmond School of Law, where he graduated…
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