Catholic nuns have taken legal action against Smith & Wesson’s board of directors.
They’ve filed a lawsuit, hoping to force the manufacturer to stop making and selling assault weapons, which have been used in mass shootings in the US.
Aston, Pennsylvania’s Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Adrian, Michigan’s Sisters of Bon Secours USA, Marylhurst, Oregon’s Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary, and the US-Ontario Province of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia all filed the action in Nevada.
The sisters s aid that Smith & Wesson’s board had ignored the growing legal concerns related to producing assault-style firearms as well as willfully disregarding the role their product played in mass shootings. They claim that the guns are only used for murder.
The opening page of the complaint features a snapshot of a 2012 mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater. On the ground, encircled by blood, and next to pink sandals, the photograph depicts a Smith & Wesson assault weapon. The incident resulted in twelve deaths and seventy injuries.
The nuns’ lawyer, Jeffrey Norton, claims this is the first derivative action against a board that represents assault weapons.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a long-standing US legislation, granted gun manufacturers immunity from responsibility for mass shootings, yet the families of the victims of the 2012 tragedy at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School received $73 million in a settlement with Remington, a competitor gunmaker, last year. Other people have been inspired to sue over mass massacres because of this precedent.
Also, other states have made it easier to sue over assault weapons or outright banned them, such as California, Illinois, and New York.
At the same time, the US Supreme Court and several states have sought to expand the rights of gun owners.
In their 2022 annual report, Smith & Wesson said they now face legal processes that might lead to significant losses.