Exclusive: Smith and Wesson CEO Mark Smith Responds to Shareholders Suing Company over AR-15s

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Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith spoke exclusively to Breitbart News after anti-gun Smith & Wesson shareholders filed a lawsuit against the company over its continued manufacture of AR-15 rifles.

Plaintiffs in the case include the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sisters of Bon Secours USA, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, and Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary. Their suit claims that that defendants, who are Smith & Wesson board members and the company’s senior management team, “knowingly allowed the Company to become exposed to significant liability for intentionally violating federal, state, and local laws through its manufacturing, marketing, and sales of AR-15 style rifles and similar semiautomatic firearms.”

The plaintiffs acknowledge the lawsuit protection provided to firearm companies via the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). However, they claim Smith & Wesson has foregone such protections by continuing to manufacture AR-15s after a Smith & Wesson AR-15 was used in a mass shooting.

They suggest that the “board’s unwillingness to exercise any oversight whatsoever in connection with the Company’s illicit manufacturing, marketing, and sales of AR-15 rifles” removes the company from PLCAA protections.

The plaintiffs ultimately claim “the Board’s failure to prevent the Company’s profound and significant exposure to liability related to its manufacture, marketing, and sales of AR-15 Rifles amounts to a breach of fiduciary duty, mismanagement, and/or wrongdoing.” However, they go on to point to Smith & Wesson’s massive profits from AR-15 rifles during the timeframe of 2012-2021, then criticize those profits as proof that the company “covets short-term profit over long-term risk.”

In what appears to be an effort to shame Smith & Wesson, the plaintiffs also claim “AR- 15-style rifles have been the weapon of choice for the killers responsible for the deadliest mass shootings in American history, including the recent mass murders in: (i) Buffalo, New York; (ii) Uvalde, Texas; (iii) Highland Park, Illinois; (iv) Colorado Springs, Colorado; (v) Nashville, Tennessee; (vi) Louisville, Kentucky; (vii) Allen, Texas; and (viii) Lewiston, Maine.”

However, they do not mention the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech University shooting in which an attacker armed with two handguns killed more people than were killed in any of the seven attacks they laid at the feet of AR-15s. The Virginia Tech attacker killed 32 people.

The plaintiffs claim AR-15 rifles are “machineguns,” and as such, are to be regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA). Having posited this argument, they then claim Smith & Wesson violates federal law by not limiting sales to buyers who submit to NFA guidelines/requirements.

Smith & Wesson CEO Smith told Breitbart News, “Smith & Wesson is proud to empower law-abiding American citizens with the ability to defend themselves and their families from harm. This activist group is not interested in the best interests of the company or its stockholders. This frivolous lawsuit is simply another instance in their long history of attempting to hijack and abuse the shareholder advocacy process to harm our reputation and company.”

The suit is Adrian Dominican Sisters v. Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., No. A-23-882774-B in the District Court of Clark County, Nevada.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010, a speaker at the 2023 Western Conservative Summit, and he holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.


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