Are gun manufacturers allowed to advertise assault weapons?

Thursday, June 16, 2022
By Lisa Freedland

There is no law that prohibits gun manufacturers from advertising assault weapons for lawful uses.

In fact, a 2005 law established that gun manufacturers are not liable when their weapons are used to commit a crime. 

However, recent lawsuits argue that the law doesn't cover advertising that is deceptive or encourages illegal behavior. In February, Sandy Hook school-shooting victims settled a lawsuit for $73 million against Remington, which, according to litigants, portrayed its AR-15-style Bushmaster rifle as a weapon of war, invoked combat violence with its video-game product placement, and appealed to troubled young men with slogans like, "Consider your man card reissued." 

A pending lawsuit in New Jersey would require Smith & Wesson to turn over documents related to alleged deceptive advertising that guns make a home safer, as well as advertising that allegedly encourages illegal behavior by promoting concealed carry without mentioning permitting requirements.

A recently introduced bill in California would allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers who market their weapons for illegal uses or to children and those legally prohibited from possessing firearms.

This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
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