For decades, the anti-gun movement has looked for ways to eliminate Second Amendment rights by destroying the gun industry. Their latest strategy is nothing new, but thanks to a favorable ruling by a state supreme court, and a disgraceful abdication by the U.S. Supreme Court, it’s gaining stream across the country.

The playbook is simple: drown gun companies in frivolous lawsuits until they can no longer operate. Force them to spend all their time and money on legal fees rather than on manufacturing and selling legal firearms to the American people.

The anti-gunners tried this back in the 1990’s, and in response, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCCA). The media will tell you that this law gives gun makers some kind of special protection, but that’s not true at all.

Like any other company, gun makers can still be sued and prosecuted for defective products and criminal misconduct. The PLCCA just clarified that Ruger, for example, can’t be sued because a criminal used one of their firearms to rob a bank or shoot up a supermarket. Just like Ford can’t be sued by the families of drunk driving victims, gun makers can’t be sued for the criminal actions of a third party.

The PLCCA was strong enough to protect gun makers—until now.

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Families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre have tried for years to sue Remington, the maker of the rifle used in the killings. Their case made it all the way to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which threw out most of their arguments.

But the court allowed to case to move forward on one issue. The families argued that Remington should be held liable for the way it marketed its rifles. Remington used “militaristic” language and images in their advertisements, and company executives should have known that the Sandy Hook killer would be attracted to those kinds of messages.

That case is still being decided (thanks in part because the Supreme Court refused to take up the issue), but other anti-gun forces have glommed on to the idea. In California, a superior court judge allowed a case to move forward on similar grounds. The anti-gun group Brady is helping families sue Smith & Wesson after a crazy person shot up a synagogue and killed one member.

The gun maker “marketed the rifle in violation of California’s unfair business practices law, in a manner attractive to customers like the shooter, young men predisposed to violence,” according to the suit.

Most recently, the government of Mexico (yes, Mexico) launched a lawsuit against 10 gun companies for their supposedly irresponsible marketing practices. They cite as one example a 1911 made by Colt that features an engraving of the Mexican revolutionary hero, Emiliano Zapata. Even though Colt only made a few hundred of these handguns as commemorative collector’s items, the design supposedly proves that Colt should be held liable for a cartel member who used one of these guns in a murder.

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I hope I don’t have to explain how patently ridiculous this is. Reputable American gun companies do not advertise their firearms as weapons to be used for murder. The “militaristic” advertising cited in the lawsuits depicts firearms being used for lawful purposes—whether by American military units or for self-defense. The line from those advertisements to mass murder is nonexistent, and I have little doubt these lawsuits will go precisely nowhere.

But anti-gun groups realize this. The purpose of these suits isn’t to succeed. The purpose is to bankrupt gun companies. And in that, they may be succeeding. Remington’s recent bankruptcy was brought about by many factors, but one of those was surely the Sandy Hook lawsuit. Lawyers aren’t cheap, after all.

It’s time for Congress to once again step in. The Democrats won’t lift a finger to protect legal gun makers, but if 2022 goes as expected, Republicans will once again be in the majority. If they can hold that majority through a Republican White House victory in 2024, we can clarify the protections laid out in the PLCCA and save the gun industry from these specious lawsuits.

I just hope they can hold out that long.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.