New Jersey is asking a judge to force Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. to hand over internal documents, the latest twist in an ongoing legal fight over how the gun manufacturer advertises to residents. The state first demanded marketing information in October. The Massachusetts-based company sued soon after, arguing that it wasn’t obligated to provide anything.
The gun manufacturer “claims that it is above the law — that it can deceive consumers and potential consumers of its products without consequence,” the state attorney general’s office wrote in court documents filed Friday. The state’s subpoena was lawful and a court should enforce it, a deputy attorney general wrote. A spokesman for New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal declined comment. Smith & Wesson representatives did not respond to a request for comment, nor did they comment on their lawsuit earlier. The subpoena came after Grewal’s office asked outside lawyers to help investigate how gun companies promote their products. Smith & Wesson said in its lawsuit that this all amounted to an “unconstitutional fishing expedition” designed to weaken the Second Amendment. Grewal’s office pushed back, saying last week that state law allowed them to dig into anyone advertising within New Jersey. The review was not about “the product Smith & Wesson sells, but the representations and omissions in its marketing and advertising,” state officials argued in court documents, and the investigation has shown that some ads “may misrepresent the impact owning a firearm has on personal safety.” [full article]