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Illinois Mass Shooting Victims' Families Sue Smith & Wesson

The families of victims of the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park, Il., are suing gun maker Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. for its role in the attack that left seven dead and dozens injured. The civil lawsuits allege Smith & Wesson used deceptive and unfair marketing strategies that violate Illinois law and target “the risk-seeking—and often troubling—desires” of “disturbed young men," reports the Wall Street Journal. The gunmaker’s actions, the families say, started a series of events that led to alleged shooter Robert Crimo III firing more than 70 rounds from a rooftop into a crowd gathered for an Independence Day parade. The lawsuits also name a gun retailer, gun dealer, the accused shooter and his father. “The shooter did not act on his own,” said Alla Lefkowitz of Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety. She said the mass shooting came as a result of deliberate choices made by members of the gun industry.

Prosecutors said Crimo III a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic rifle to carry out the mass shooting. He has pleaded not guilty to 117 charges, including 21 counts of murder and 48 counts of attempted murder for those wounded. Crimo used a Smith & Wesson Model M&P 15 semiautomatic rifle to carry out the attack. Gun manufacturers have federal protections from lawsuits over the illegal use of the weapons they produce, under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Lawyers for Highland Park victims cited an exception under the law that may allow manufacturers to be found liable based on marketing tactics that violate state law. The lawyers allege marketing strategies from Smith & Wesson violated the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The lawsuits seek to force Smith & Wesson to halt the marketing tactics, and for the company and others to pay those who were wounded and the families of those who were killed.


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