US Appeals Court Drops Hammer on Gun Manufacturer

( – New Jersey is currently investigating Smith & Wesson. The state wants to find out if the company committed fraud and other misconduct. A federal court has now determined the gun manufacturer must cooperate with the probe.

On June 26, a three-judge panel for the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against Smith & Wesson’s attempts to have a subpoena quashed. New Jersey issued the subpoena in 2020 and asked the company to turn over documents suggesting it’s safe to pull a gun on someone who was a possible threat rather than walking away, or anything suggesting carrying a firearm “enhances one’s lifestyle.”

The state is trying to figure out if the company violated the Consumer Fraud Act by misleading customers about “the safety, benefits, effectiveness, and legality of its products.” The probe began under former state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (D) and current AG Matthew Platkin (D) continued pursuing it.

The gun manufacturer accused the state of abusing its power by targeting the company. It said that New Jersey officials were violating the company’s First Amendment rights and claimed they’d joined forces with anti-Second Amendment groups.

Judge Paul Matey, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, dissented. He questioned the state’s “novel” efforts to pursue Smith & Wesson based on consumer protection laws. The judge said the gun manufacturer asked the federal court to decide whether the New Jersey attorney general could use the fraud laws to go after them. “Today, and four opinions later, those questions remain unanswered,” Matey said.

Chief Judge Michael Chagares rejected the gun manufacturer’s claims because they’d already pursued the case in state court in a separate lawsuit. In that case, state Superior Court Judge Jodi Lee Alper ruled that the company must comply with the AG’s request. Chagares said Smith & Wesson was only permitted to make its argument once, not twice.

Platkin applauded the court’s ruling, saying the judges affirmed the state’s right to “investigate potential fraud and misconduct.”

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