Smith & Wesson goes on offense against Hawaii's anti-gun attacks

Julie Jacobson

Smith & Wesson, one of America’s oldest firearm manufacturers seems to be a bit on the offense as of late. With assaults from the state of New Jersey and their own home state of Massachusetts, in the way of both crappy legislation and litigation, Smith & Wesson has had their fair share of punches they’ve had to roll with. It was recently reported that the firearm manufacturer is going on the offense, not only in the NJ case, but in Hawaii as well, where the company is heading to court over excessive fees for records requests.

Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson is suing the state Attorney General’s Office over what it sees as an exorbitant amount of fees for public records related to firearms issues.

The AG’s office wanted as much as $27,000 for the records requested by the gun manufacturer and said it would take attorneys hundreds of hours to complete the request, the company says in a civil lawsuit filed Monday. The lawsuit says Smith & Wesson filed similar records requests in other states, but has not faced the same barriers to access.

“It appears to the client and it appears to us that the amount of time the state is claiming, and therefore the amount of fees, is an effort to discourage the public records request,” attorney Jeff Portnoy, who is representing Smith & Wesson, said.

Whatever the company is up to certainly is of interest. What could the manufacturer be looking for? Given the history of anti-freedom caucus members and how they’ve changed their tactics in attacking our civil liberties, the company actually has a lot to gain for themselves, and the industry as a whole, from acquiring documentation revolving what the state of Hawaii might be up to with known gun-grabbers.

In 2020, a third-party agency called Cogency Global filed three records requests on behalf of Smith & Wesson. The first request asked for communications between the department and the Firearms Accountability Counsel Task Force, a coalition of law firms that seek to prevent gun violence.

Known gun-grabbers is right. Following the link to the task force, we’re greeted with a banner showing the supporters to be Giffords, Brady (Handgun Control Inc), and March for our Lives. The organization, Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce (FACT), has a bit of a boilerplate page with not a lot of information. Typical gun-grabber nonsense. One small “fact” that FACT put out:

We will take all necessary steps to stop those who supply criminals and other dangerous individuals with guns, reject basic safety measures, and mislead Americans about the risks of guns.

While FACT is talking out of one side of their face about misleading Americans, in big bold print at the top of their page, they mislead their visitors:

In the United States, approximately 100 people are killed with guns every day. Each year, nearly 136,000 Americans are shot—more than 36,000 fatally. These numbers are orders of magnitude higher than those in any other developed country.

Of the nearly 36,000 fatalities, FACT missed the fact that nearly 2/3rds of them are deaths by suicide by firearm. So FACT can take their facts and stuff em, they’re misleading the public. Nevermind hacking apart any of their other claims about the United States having a higher instance of so-called gun violence than other developed nations.

What exactly Smith & Wesson is looking to find, is not known. Other than a fair bill for the requested documentation.

The company also requested a handful of requests for proposals that the AG’s office issued related to firearms issues. The third request was for a log of all records requests made to the AG’s office.

The AG’s office denied some of those records, claiming that disclosure would frustrate a legitimate government function, according to the lawsuit. For the records that could be released, the AG’s office wanted nearly $23,000.

[…]

Portnoy [representing Smith & Wesson] said the company wants the state to provide a realistic number for the actual amount of time it would take the AG’s office to fill the records request.

“In Smith & Wesson’s view, what the state is trying to do is discourage the production (of documents),” Portnoy said.

The gun manufacturer says in the lawsuit that it believes the AG’s refusal to disclose records is politically motivated. Hawaii has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, and companies like Smith & Wesson have challenged those laws in other states in the past.

This would not be the first time that we find governmental agencies to obstruct the fulfillment of FOIA requests or carry on about them. Nor would it be the first time a progressive leaning state would be suspected of capitulating (or proven to be) with known entities that subvert civil liberties. It’s unfortunate that Smith & Wesson is forced into putting effort and funds into this kind of fight, but it needs to be done. There is a massive conspiracy of RICO proportions going on between several state government officials and groups that want to strip us of our right to keep and bear arms. As far as I’m concerned, Smith & Wesson going after Hawaii for documentation that might show who’s in who’s pocket, or who’s listening to who, is not working for only themselves, but for the people.