SMITH & WESSON SUES NEW JERSEY

By Stephen Gutowski

One of the country’s largest gun manufacturers has filed a federal suit accusing the state of New Jersey of violating its First Amendment rights.


Smith & Wesson sued the state Tuesday in response to a broad subpoena issued by New Jersey attorney general Gurbir Grewal (D.). The case, filed in federal district court, seeks to have the subpoena—which demanded a decade’s worth of advertising and sales records—thrown out and declared unconstitutional.


“The New Jersey Attorney General has taken a series of actions to suppress Smith & Wesson’s speech, and with the intention of damaging Smith & Wesson both financially and reputationally,” the complaint from the company said. “The most recent such action is the issuance of an administrative subpoena … on October 13, 2020 that allegedly seeks evidence of consumer fraud relating to advertising – but in reality, it seeks to suppress and punish lawful speech regarding gun ownership in order to advance an anti-Second Amendment agenda that the Attorney General publicly committed to pursue.”


Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said New Jersey’s subpoena is part of a concerted effort to hobble the gun industry through frivolous court proceedings. Such probes are meant to “get to discovery” in the hopes of forcing gun companies to agree to new regulations in legal settlements, according to Keane.


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