Although Alex Jones is attempting to protect himself from a recent civil court verdict (for compensatory and punitive damages) of nearly $50 million by declaring bankruptcy for his main propaganda business, more civil suits are in the pipeline. Furthermore, if the civil suit he lost last week for defamation is successful after appeals, along with others filed against him, he may indeed become bankrupt, even if he is raising money through other vehicles than his parent company right now.
Jones was sued for propagating the cruel lie that the Sandy Hook school massacre of 2012 was actually a false flag operation perpetrated to try to pass more gun control. The result has been a merciless and ceaseless series of verbal attacks, doxxing and harassment against the parents of children who died in the school. Jones’s statements were heinously harmful to those who were already living with the grief of a child being shot and killed in a classroom.
Civil suits are about attacking the pocket books of defendants, and they can be filed when a criminal suit doesn’t apply.
The gun industry learned of the danger of such suits based on the charge that gun manufacturers were and are knowingly excessively manufacturing guns for potential killers, and that they are specifically designing and marketing guns to appeal to the young, deranged, non-sports shooter based on firepower and style, as if they were selling the latest season’s cars.
As a result, the gun industry was successful in getting Congress to pass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) in 2005. This bill made the gun industry the only type of business protected from a broad array of liability, with some narrow exceptions. In short, it put an end to a large civil liability threat to the gun industry for its design, marketing and chain of distribution. (As one successful suit showed, Sandy Hook parents settled with Remington Arms for $73 million in a pre-trial settlement.)
The Trace, a website that reports on gun violence and the gun industry, recently posted an article on how a few states are attempting to find legal loopholes in PLCAA. However, although not currently passable with the current Congress, what Jones’s failed suit portends is that the repeal of PLCAA would offer the possibility of a successful “supply side” approach to shrinking the gun market by putting many manufacturers out of business through widespread civil suits, such as the ones that were gaining steam in the ‘90s and early 2000s.
This could put less pressure on laws aimed at individuals who shouldn’t own guns or violence intervention programs, since it is not really effective, as we have seen, to develop a large-scale approach that is based on a “good guys” vs. “bad guys” gun violence reduction strategy. There aren’t enough jail cells nor enough community-based resources.
The major cause of gun violence is too many guns, period.
The Trace’s Champe Barton wrote:
While PLCAA provides broad legal immunity, it does come with exceptions. Lawsuits against gunmakers may proceed if the company in question violated a state statute “applicable to” the sale or marketing of firearms. Nearly all lawsuits since PLCAA’s passage have hinged on differing interpretations of the words “applicable to”: Does a commerce law that regulates commerce of all goods including firearms apply? How about a marketing statute prohibiting advertisements that promote violence?
These questions were at the center of a recent lawsuit brought by the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre against the gunmaker Remington Arms. The plaintiffs argued that Remington had violated a state marketing law by intentionally marketing its Bushmaster XM-15 rifle to young, unstable men. The families reached a $73 million settlement with Remington [in 2o21].
This reinforces the vast possibilities of starting to reverse America being the most heavily-armed nation on earth among civilians, with a seemingly intractable death and injury toll. If it is going to be some time before PLCAA is repealed, start with passing appropriate state laws, such as the one in Connecticut.
The bloodshed will not be reversed until the gun industry becomes unprofitable and is brought to its knees.
Crossposted from BuzzFlash