Gun Safety Groups, Victim’s Father Protest Gun Ads

Two gun safety groups and the father of a mass shooting victim asked the Federal Trade Commission to stop firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson from using “deceptive and unfair” marketing to promote assault-style rifles, the New York Times reports. Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, died in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Fl., joined with Brady and Everytown for Gun Safety to send a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. Guttenberg and the gun control groups said Smith & Wesson mimicked first-person-shooter video games in its advertising materials to attract adolescents and young adults. They said the marketing of the company’s AR-15-style guns “attracts, encourages and facilitates mass shooters” and “played a significant role” in the Parkland shooting.

Smith & Wesson made the M&P15 .223 rifle used by the 19-year-old shooter in the 2018 Parkland massacre. The complaint urged the federal agency to require that the company include warnings in some of its marketing materials. The complainants argued that the commission should prohibit the M&P (“military and police”) brand from making use of imagery associated with the military and law enforcement to sell its products to civilians. M&P rifles have been used in several mass shootings, including Aurora, Co., in 2012; San Bernardino, Ca., in 2015; and in Poway, Ca., last year. The FTC has dealt with few cases involving how guns are advertised.

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