Murphy and Grewal looking to expose gun industry with lawsuit (Opinion)
It's being described in a New York Times article as " the country’s most consequential legal battle over the future of gun control" and it's happening in New Jersey.
What you need to know here is that gun manufacturers are immune from gun crimes and death because they are protected by federal laws. Because of that, there has never been any access to their records, memos, emails, etc.
Then comes a television commercial by Smith & Wesson which shows a woman taking her gun concealed in her purse with her throughout her day which ends at a shooting range. That commercial would be illegal in 35 states, including New Jersey, if she did not have a conceal carry permit.
According to the NYT article: "In October, his attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, sent a subpoena to Smith & Wesson from the state’s division of consumer affairs as part of an investigation into advertising fraud, seeking a trove of internal documents." No industry has any particular immunity from cases about the claims it makes in advertising. The idea would be to expose the gun industry from the inside.
The hope would be to turn public opinion against the gun companies the way it did when the tobacco industry turned over their memos which made it clear that they, as the article says, "knew the truth about their products and were lying to the public."
Smith & Wesson sued New Jersey to stop it from enforcing the subpoena, arguing that the state is trying to "suppress and punish lawful speech regarding gun ownership" and enact gun control through the courts, according to the Times article.
Why New Jersey? Grewal insists the state is engaged in "a garden-variety state consumer-fraud investigation" to "protect consumers from unlawful business practices."
Sure they are.
What this comes down to, according to the NYT article, is "whether Smith & Wesson breached state laws that prevent companies from misleading customers."
While Smith & Wesson claim their advertising is protected by the Second Amendment, and the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, New Jersey is claiming they can investigate gun advertising.
If this "Hail Mary" works, it will be a major victory for Gov. Murphy, especially if he wants to climb any higher politically. It would also be a huge victory for those who want more gun control.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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