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New Jersey's Innovative Lawsuit Against Gun Makers Goes After Ads, Not Safety Issues

A sign at the Smith & Wesson booth is shown at the 2016 National Shooting Sports Foundation's Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show in 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A sign at the Smith & Wesson booth is shown at the 2016 National Shooting Sports Foundation's Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show in 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

New Jersey has launched a unique lawsuit against gun maker Smith & Wesson that many in business, advocacy groups and the gun industry itself say could be one of the country’s most consequential legal battles over the future of guns.

Instead of targeting the gun makers for endangering people, something federal law largely protects them from, the new lawsuit targets the ads, which depict actions that would be illegal in real life. In other words, the suit alleges consumer fraud.

New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin says the new approach could do to the gun industry what lawsuits against tobacco companies did in the 1990s — essentially debilitating them. Sorkin joins host Robin Young to discuss the new suit and its implications.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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