Smith & Wesson sued over link to July 4 parade mass shooting

Image Credit: Zorin Denu- Flickr

CHICAGO (AP) — Survivors of the mass shooting at a suburban Chicago Independence Day parade and family members of those killed filed 11 lawsuits Wednesday against the manufacturer of the rifle used in the attack, accusing gun-maker Smith & Wesson of illegally targeting its ads at young men at risk of committing mass violence.

The sweeping effort by dozens of victims of the Highland Park shooting, anti-gun violence advocates and private attorneys announced Wednesday is the latest bid to hold gun manufacturers accountable for a mass killing despite broad protections for the industry in federal law.

The group’s strategy mirrors the approach used by relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school killings, who in February reached a $73 million settlement with the firearm company that produced the rifle used in that attack. That was believed to be the largest payment by a gun-maker related to a mass killing and hinged on the families’ accusation that Remington violated Connecticut consumer protection law by marketing its AR-15-style weapons to young men already at risk of committing violence.