Nuns Who Own Shares Of Gunmaker Company File Lawsuit Over AR-15 Rifles

“These rifles have no purpose other than mass murder,” the nuns said in a statement.

On Tuesday, a group of Catholic nuns sued the board of Smith & Wesson, seeking to compel the firearm manufacturer to cease the production, marketing and sales of assault-style rifles linked to mass shootings in the United States. The lawsuit, filed in a Nevada state court, contends that the directors and senior management of Smith & Wesson deliberately placed the company at substantial legal risk by knowingly breaching federal, state, and local laws and failing to respond to lawsuits over mass shootings, Reuters reported. 

“These rifles have no purpose other than mass murder,” the nuns said in a statement.

AR-15 assault-style rifles have been used in several mass shootings that have shocked Americans.

The lawsuit states that Smith & Wesson “has enjoyed with abandon the record-breaking profits from its sale of AR-15 rifles, seemingly unfazed by the exponential rise in gun deaths and mass shootings carried out with its product in the United States.”

According to the New York Times, the nuns are from Adrian Dominican Sisters in Adrian, Mich.

The first page of the lawsuit contains a photo from a mass shooting at a Colorado cinema in 2012 that showed a Smith & Wesson assault rifle on the blood-splattered ground next to pink sandals. Twelve people died and 70 were injured in the attack, Reuters reported. 

If successful, the lawsuit would hold the company’s directors liable for any costs associated with the allegedly illegal marketing of assault rifles and any damages would be paid to Smith & Wesson, not the plaintiffs.

Mark Smith, the chief executive and president of Smith & Wesson, said that the nuns were “not interested in the best interests of the company or its stockholders.”

He added, “This frivolous lawsuit is another instance in their long history of attempting to hijack and abuse the shareholder advocacy process to harm our reputation and company.”

Jeffrey Norton, the lead lawyer for the nuns’ coalition, said on Thursday that his clients collectively owned more than 1,000 shares of Smith & Wesson.

We are proud to partner with these congregations of Catholic Sisters who have long sought corporate responsibility through their shareholder activism,” Norton said in a news release on Tuesday.

Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for gunmakers, described the lawsuit as “frivolous” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“This same group has been filing shareholder proposals and losing so I guess they’re trying a new tactic,” he told the paper.

 

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