The National Shooting Sports Association, the firearms industry trade group, is responding to the Supreme Court ruling that a lawsuit against gun maker Remington and its marketing practices filed by parents of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre can proceed.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, as the firearms industry’s trade association, is disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today not to review the Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision in Remington v. Soto. Annually, more than 7,000 cases are petitioned to the high court. While the court only accepts a limited number of cases, we believed this case was worthy of review. The case now returns to Connecticut state court for trial where the plaintiffs will need to prove that Remington’s lawful advertising of a legal product violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), the only claim remaining in the case, and that it somehow caused Adam Lanza to murder innocent victims.
We are confident that Remington will prevail at trial. Nothing in Remington’s advertising of these products connotes or encourages the illegal or negligent misuse of firearms, or that Mrs. Nancy Lanza, who lawfully purchased the firearm two years prior to the incident, or Adam Lanza himself, saw or were influenced in any way by any advertisement. As the Connecticut Supreme Court noted in its 4-3 decision allowing the case to proceed noted, “Proving such a causal link at trial may prove to be a Herculean task.”
We continue to feel sympathy toward the Sandy Hook victims, as NSSF is headquartered in Newtown, but Adam Lanza alone is responsible for his heinous actions.
In other words, while the lawsuit itself can proceed, there’s no guarantee of victory for the plaintiffs. The NSSF also notes that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act isn’t implicated in the Supreme Court decision. Instead, the lawsuit relies on a state consumer protection law, which is why the plaintiffs now have to try to prove that Remington’s advertising actually caused a murder.
Gun control groups, meanwhile, are still celebrating the news that the lawsuit can continue.
BREAKING: Sandy Hook families will get the day in court they deserve!
— Brady (@bradybuzz) November 12, 2019
This isn’t about “reforming” the firearms industry, as the Brady Campaign claims. It’s about bankrupting gun makers and trying to force them out of business. Donald Verilli, the Obama-era Solicitor General who’s now representing several families in their lawsuit against Remington, has been a longtime opponent of the right to keep and bear arms, and previously argued before the Supreme Court in a 2011 case that the Second Amendment should be treated as a second-class right.
U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., urged the Court to deny review, arguing that the change in the regulation had taken away the significance of this case for the future. But, more importantly, Verrilli challenged the need for the Court to adopt the most rigorous constitutional standard that can be applied — “strict scrutiny.” Usually, a law put to that test cannot survive, since the standard requires a very strong reason in public policy to justify a law. Strict scrutiny is the standard that the Court customarily uses to judge a law that is challenged as violating a “fundamental right” under the Constitution.
The issue of what level of judicial review is appropriate to Second Amendment challenges is likely to be decided by SCOTUS in the NYSPRA v. New York City case, which will be heard by the justices in early December. The outcome likely won’t make much of a difference in the lawsuit against Remington, but it could thwart gun control activists from passing some of their ideal anti-gun bills. In the meantime, they’ll continue to pursue any avenue possible to attack the right to keep and bear arms, including attempts to sue the firearms industry into oblivion.