COURTHOUSE NEWS.COM DECEMBER 15, 2020 – A leading firearms manufacturer alleges New Jersey is engaged in an “unconstitutional fishing expedition” to try to curtail gun rights by using a new tactic: false advertising claims.
In a federal lawsuit filed in New Jersey on Tuesday, Smith & Wesson claims New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has tried everything in his power to stymie gun sales, and that he is now sifting through decades of company advertisements and marketing materials in an extra-legal attempt to restrict the right to bear arms.
In October, Grewal filed administrative subpoenas seeking evidence of fraudulent advertising from the gun manufacturer. The subpoenas request documentation related to advertisements that claim firearms make a home safer, an untrained homeowner could use a Smith & Wesson firearm safely and effectively to defend his home, and whether guns enhance one’s lifestyle.
“The Subpoena presents no legitimate inquiry into any purported fraud, and instead targets mere opinions and other protected statements allegedly made by Smith & Wesson,” the company claims. It seeks a court order enjoining the subpoenas and declaring them unconstitutional.
Citing 248 million results in Google searches of “do guns make you safer” as proof that many Americans believe firearms make them safer, Smith & Wesson says New Jersey’s false advertisement subpoenas should be a dead-end legal theory. Smith & Wesson also says the subpoenas are politically motivated, noting that Grewal has partnered with several anti-Second Amendment groups, like Do Not Stand Idly By, to seek new methods to restrict gun ownership.
The complaint notes that at a conference at New York University earlier this month, participants allegedly observed how consumer protection and false advertising laws were fertile ground for new anti-gun initiatives.
The complaint also claims New Jersey’s purported “name and shame” policy, in which the attorney general has tried to connect Smith & Wesson with “crime guns,” is an extra-legal attempt to branch the company as a bad actor.
“Smith & Wesson is a good corporate citizen that is a leader on gun safety initiatives in the industry,” the lawsuit states. “What the Attorney General seeks to do through his actions is impermissible as long as the guarantees of free speech and the right to bear arms remain in the Constitution.” [view source]