Mass. AG Healey, gun manufacturers, exchange fire in court
By Evan Lips | September 1, 2016, 16:48 EDT
BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey may have shown herself to be a worthy foe to the firearms industry, but gun manufacturers have shown they are game when it comes to taking to the courts to fight back.
Remington Arms, the North Carolina-based gun giant, is the latest company to take on Healey. Earlier this week Remington filed a civil suit in Suffolk County Superior Court against Healey, alleging her office is conducting a “fishing expedition” under the guise of consumer gun safety, according to a Boston Business Journal report.
Court documents show that the lawsuit was filed Monday. Remington is being represented by Boston-based attorney Peter M. Durney. A message left Thursday with Durney’s office requesting comment was not immediately returned. Remington spokeswoman Jessica Kallam did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.
A search of MassCourts.org, the state’s online court records database, indicates that Healey has until Dec. 27 to file a response.
Copies of legal complaints are not available for download via MassCourts.org, however.
Remington’s lawsuit specifically accuses Healey of seeking gun owners’ personal information after Healey demanded a series of documents from the manufacturer in order to determine whether it is complying with Massachusetts consumer protection law.
According to a Boston Globe report, the gun manufacturer Glock is also suing Healey as part of an effort to fight what they claim are similar “fishing” expeditions.
MassCourts.org lists another Boston attorney, Patricia Anne Hartnett, as Glock’s representative in court. Hartnett did not immediately return a call Wednesday requesting comment.
According to the Globe, Healey’s office claims that evidence exists showing that Glock firearms are “prone to accidental discharge.” Specifically, Healey alleges Glock may have known about the problem and declined to fix it.
“As the chief law enforcement office in Massachusetts, we are seeking that information to better inform our residents and to protect them from any safety or manufacturing issues with guns sold here,” Cyndi Roy Gonzalez, Healey’s lead spokesperson, told the Globe in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that these gun manufacturers have taken our office to court rather than comply with a simple request for consumer complaints and related information.”
The court action follows Healey’s July announcement of a statewide ban on so-called “copycat” assault rifles, angering pro-firearm organizations like the Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts. Last week the New Boston Post reported that Healey is refusing to disclose details surrounding the process that led to her make the announcement.
GOAL on Wednesday chimed in on the Glock and Remington court sagas. Linking to the Globe report on its Facebook page, GOAL ripped Healey’s actions as “politically motivated” and noted that despite her questions regarding the safety of Glock firearms, “many MA police departments have chosen Glock for their reliability.”
“To make it worse she is going to spend millions of dollars of our tax money in pursuit for her own political glory,” the organization added. “The funds she is wasting could be used for much better things, like helping families in need, shame on anyone who supports her.”
The firearm industry is not the only business Healey is targeting via state consumer protection laws. Earlier this year she joined a team of fellow state attorneys generals in charging that the oil giant ExxonMobil is deliberately deceiving the public and its investors by either hiding or minimizing the amount of information they are privy to regarding the impact of fossil fuels on climate change.
ExxonMobil proceeded to file a countersuit in Texas. Last week the company described Healey’s efforts as “indefensible, partisan and unconstitutional.”