Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

The $73 Million Settlement against Gun Manufacturer Remington Is Backdoor Gun Control | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on March 12, 2022

This won’t end with Remington. The floodgates have been opened. Even Mexico is now suing the gun industry for gun violence perpetrated by cartels. Remington’s settlement serves as a stark reminder that the Left will use whatever means necessary to advance their agenda—in this case, your disarmament.

Nicolas Gregoris

Remington Arms, America’s oldest gun manufacturer, settled for $73 million in a wrongful-death suit filed by the families of several victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. Bushmaster, the company that actually manufactured the rifle used in the shooting, is owned by Remington Outdoor Company.

The settlement followed seven-plus years of litigation, two Remington bankruptcies, and a previous settlement offer of $33 million from the gun manufacturer, which the nine plaintiffs declined. The outcome of the case is being touted by antigunners, the corporate press, and Democrat politicians as a victory over the gun lobby. President Joe Biden called the settlement “historic.”

The antigunners, however, are wrong. The settlement was neither a victory nor historic, but instead revealed yet another way political actors can undermine gun rights—which is why they are so excited about it.

Not Your Typical Case

Gun manufacturers are usually protected from these kinds of lawsuits by the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. PLCAA prevents arms makers from being sued due to the misuse or criminal use of their products by a third party. Without this protection, the gun industry would be subject to unique and extremely broad liability claims, making PLCAA one of the only sensible pieces of legislation Congress has passed in the past 150 years … which explains why it is so reviled by Hillary Clinton and her political allies.

Gun control advocates claim that PLCAA provides “blanket immunity” from lawsuits. That is not true; under PLCAA, gun manufacturers can still be sued on multiple grounds, including traditional product liability (i.e., a gun is defective and causes injury), negligence (they transferred the gun to someone they had reasonable cause to believe was prohibited from owning a firearm), and violating laws surrounding the sale (e.g., lying on the books).

The plaintiff’s attorney, Joshua Koskoff, packed the initial lawsuit with a slew of allegations that were dismissed by a Connecticut lower court, as the allegations were invalid under PLCAA. In 2019, however, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the wrongful-death suit could move forward on the basis of a “wrongful advertising” claim that was included in the original set of allegations. Koskoff argued that Remington “knowingly marketed and promoted the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle for use in assaults against human beings.”

The plaintiffs cited marketing slogans such as: “Consider your man card reissued” and “Clear the Room, Cover the Rooftop, Rescue the Hostage.” None of those claims are inherently violent, and certainly not an appeal to young men to commit mass murder. For example, Ford claims its trucks are built with “military grade aluminum,” which would mean that victims of the Waukesha massacre should be able to sue Ford. Why would a truck need anything “military grade” unless it was supposed to be rammed through eighty people?

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