Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA)

Remington recently agreed to a groundbreaking $73 million settlement of claims brought by families of Sandy Hook school shooting victims. Notably, the plaintiffs secured this settlement by deploying consumer protection claims, which are exempted from the otherwise broad immunity provided to firearm manufacturers under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”).

Attorneys General now appear to be pursuing a similar strategy of using consumer protection laws against firearm manufacturers, including by using their authority to investigate the companies’ internal files. For example, litigation concerning the New Jersey Attorney General’s subpoena to Smith & Wesson demonstrates how AGs will seek to use their consumer protection investigative powers in this area and further how courts in response will continue to grapple with the intersection between consumer protection law, the PLCAA, and the Second Amendment.

On October 13, 2020, the New Jersey Attorney General served an investigative subpoena to Smith & Wesson pursuant to its authority under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“CFA”).The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ preliminary investigation suggested the company’s advertisements to New Jersey residents “may misrepresent the impact owning a firearm has on personal safety and/or safety in the home.” The Agency also noted that certain of the manufacturer’s advertisements “market the concealed carry of firearms while omitting the material fact that, in New Jersey, concealed carry of a firearm requires a permit.”
Continue Reading After Remington Settlement, Attorneys General Aim To Press Forward With Consumer Protection Investigations of Firearms Manufacturers