A lawyer at the center of a landmark settlement against Remington, the manufacturer of the gun used in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, has turned his attention to the manufacturer of the gun used in the Uvalde school shooting.
The lawyer, on behalf of the father of a 10-year-old killed in Uvalde, Texas last week, issued a letter to the maker of the AR-15 used in the mass shooting seeking answers about marketing their products to teens and children.
Alfred Garza III, father of Amerie Jo Garza, released the letter alongside Texas attorney Mikal Watts and Connecticut attorney Josh Koskoff. Koskoff and his team helped negotiate a $73 million settlement in the wake of a lawsuit against the now-defunct Remington and its insurer, the maker of the AR-15 used in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.
“My purpose for being now is to honor Amerie Jo’s memory,” Garza said in a press release. “She would want me to do everything I can so this will never happen again to any other child. I have to fight her fight.”
Daniel Defense, the Georgia-based maker of the DDM4 v7 AR-style rifle has been the subject of scrutiny since the shooting for its marketing materials and availability to the 18-year-old shooter in Texas.
The letter, sent Friday, asked Daniel Defense for information “relevant to your marketing of AR-15 style rifles, including but not limited to the DDM4 v7 model; to your marketing of AR-15 style rifles to teens and children; to your incitement and encouragement of the assaultive use of these weapons; to your on-line purchase system; and to your communications, on any platform, with the Uvalde shooter; and to your awareness of the prior use of AR-15 style rifles in mass shootings.”
The letter could be a precursor to a lawsuit, but gun manufacturers are broadly insulated from litigation by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. President Joe Biden promised to attempt to repeal the law before he was elected.
Lawyers asked Daniel to preserve advertisements on various social media platforms, research and budget analysis for its products and documents related to the Uvalde shooter’s purchase. The 18-year-old shooter posted a receipt on the website Yubo appearing to show he legally purchased a Daniel Defense rifle for $1870.
More:AR rifle maker tied to Texas school shooting facing scrutiny, possible future lawsuits
“Daniel Defense has said that they are praying for the Uvalde families. They should back up those prayers with meaningful action,” Koskoff said in a release. “If they really are sincere in their desire to support these families, they will provide the information that Mr. Garza has requested without delay or excuse. Either way, we will do a complete and thorough investigation, leaving no stone unturned.”
Representatives for Daniel Defense did not immediately confirm they received the letter or respond to a request for comment Friday.
The case against Remington hinged on how the company marketed the rifle, accusing the gunmaker of targeting young, at-risk men through product placement in violent video games and ads, including one that used the phrase “Consider Your Man Card Reissued.”
The victims’ families argued Remington violated Connecticut’s unfair trade practices law when it “knowingly marketed and promoted the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle for use in assaults against human beings,” according to the lawsuit.
Remington attempted to dismiss the case both at the Connecticut Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court. Both were unsuccesful. The victims’ families turned down a $33 million settlement offer in 2021, leading to the $73 million agreement earlier this year.
Nick Penzenstadler is a reporter on the USA TODAY investigations team. Contact him at [email protected] or @npenzenstadler, or on Signal at (720) 507-5273.