New Jersey's attorney general gets creative to crush 2nd Amendment rights
New Jersey has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation. Oddly enough, despite the strict laws controlling the possession and use of firearms, criminals in New Jersey seem to have little difficulty obtaining one. As a result, its cities remain rife with gun violence.
Fortunately for New Jersey, Democrat Governor Phil Murphy’s appointed attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, has come up with a genuine “out-of-box” solution to the problem. Rather than going with tired old approaches like aggressive enforcement of the strict gun laws or trying to alter the cultural pressures that make reaching for a gun to settle even minor transgressions routine, Grewal has figured out that the way to solve this problem is to subpoena Smith & Wesson’s proprietary marketing strategy documents. In short, the attorney general has concluded that pursuing false advertising and Consumer Fraud Act violations is the panacea to the state’s scourge of gun violence.
The first question one might ask is, why Smith & Wesson? One of the tasks of the New Jersey State Police is to collect and tabulate statistics on crimes in New Jersey. According to the State Police’s “NJGUNStat” monthly gun crime report, Smith & Wesson tends to rank near the top of manufacturers whose guns are recovered at or determined to be the weapon used in a crime. So Smith & Wesson won the market share contest. That, combined with an iconic brand, makes it an easy target for the publicity-seeking Grewal.
The second reasonable question one might ask is, what connection do false advertising and consumer fraud violations have to gun crime and violence? A delve into the allegations in the verified complaint Grewal's office filed against Smith & Wesson in the New Jersey Superior Court, after Smith & Wesson’s refusal to respond to the subpoena, exposes the suspect premise underlying this effort. Grewal’s complaint asserts that New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) and other state consumer protection regulations lend support to an unidentified “preliminary investigation” purportedly showing that Smith & Wesson may be “misrepresenting to consumers the impact on owning a firearm and/or safety in the home.” Further, Smith & Wesson’s ads that market the concealed carry of firearms omit that, in New Jersey, doing so requires a permit.
How well does this theory hold up to a logical analysis? It seems not well. Grewal asserts that some uncited “preliminary investigation,” conducted by persons or agencies unknown, supports his otherwise unsupported premise that criminals — i.e., “consumers” — are somehow influenced by Smith & Wesson’s false and misleading advertising methods. This, in turn, shapes a felon’s decision as to what gun he should get to rob the corner convenience store or take revenge against the rival drug gang on the next block. Clearly, Grewal believes that but for Smith & Wesson’s use of aggressive false and misleading ads, touting personal home safety from gun ownership combined with intentionally “forgetting” to mention the need to obtain a carry permit, there is no way criminal consumers would be selecting Smith & Wesson as their firearm of choice in the numbers they do. Thus, Grewal proffers, Smith & Wesson can be brought to heel, and New Jersey will be rid of the plague of gun crimes and violence.
If the highest law enforcement officer in New Jersey really thinks gang members and felons care about home firearm safety or are seduced into getting a Smith & Wesson product because the company's ads mislead them into thinking a carry permit is not required while committing their crimes, then New Jersey is in far more dire straits than has been recently reported.
How does Grewal’s legal theory bear any relation to the objection of reducing or eliminating gun crime and violence? It doesn’t. This theory is completely illogical and insane. It is nothing more than a bait-and-switch scam to harass gun-manufacturers in the hopes that they go out of business. Grewal knows this; he just hopes you don’t figure it out.
In a sane world, this theory would be quickly and soundly rejected by the Courts as specious and frivolous. Unfortunately, it is New Jersey, 2021. The state and federal courts come from and are mired in the same anti-gun soup as the governor and his attorney general. Thus, the eventual outcome of this quixotic pursuit remains ambiguous.
There is one consolation I do take away from this folly. It could be worse; it could be my tax money Grewal is wasting.
Image via Pxhere.
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