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Families of Uvalde School Shooting Victims File Lawsuits Against Meta, Microsoft, and Gunmaker

The complaints were filed on the second anniversary of the massacre by Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on May 27, 2024, 13:37:46


uvalde shooting, mass shooting, meta, microsoft, daniel defense, call of duty

The families of the victims of the 2022 elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, filed two lawsuits on Friday against Instagram's parent company Meta, Activision Blizzard and its parent company Microsoft, and the gunmaker Daniel Defense. The lawsuits allege that these companies collaborated to market dangerous weapons to impressionable teens, including the Uvalde shooter.

 The complaints argue that Daniel Defense – a Georgia-based gun manufacturer – used Instagram and Activision's video game Call of Duty to market its assault-style rifles to teenage boys. At the same time, Meta and Microsoft facilitated the strategy with lax oversight and no regard for the consequences.

A spokesperson for the Entertainment Software Association, a lobbying group representing the video game industry, said many other countries have similar levels of video game playing but less gun violence than the United States.

"We are saddened and outraged by senseless acts of violence," the group said in a statement. "At the same time, we discourage baseless accusations linking these tragedies to video gameplay, which detract from efforts to focus on the root issues in question and safeguard against future tragedies."

One of the most tragic school shootings in history occurred on May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old gunman armed with a Daniel Defense rifle entered Robb Elementary School and barricaded himself in connected classrooms filled with students. The attack resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers.

The complaints were filed on the second anniversary of the massacre by Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder. 

The first lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses Meta's Instagram of giving gun manufacturers "an unsupervised channel to speak directly to minors, in their homes, at school, even in the middle of the night," with only token oversight.

The complaint also alleges that Activision's popular warfare game Call of Duty "creates a vividly realistic and addicting theater of violence in which teenage boys learn to kill with frightening skill and ease," using real-life weapons as models for the game's firearms.

The Uvalde shooter played Call of Duty – which features, among other weapons, an assault-style rifle manufactured by Daniel Defense, according to the lawsuit – and visited Instagram obsessively, where Daniel Defense often advertised.

As a result, the complaint alleges, he became fixated on acquiring the same weapon and using it to commit the killings, even though he had never fired a gun in real life before.

The second lawsuit, submitted to Uvalde County District Court, claims that Daniel Defense intentionally targeted its advertisements at young boys to cultivate lifelong customers. Daniel Defense is already contending with other lawsuits from the families of some victims. In a 2022 statement, CEO Marty Daniel dismissed these lawsuits as "frivolous" and "politically motivated."

Additionally, earlier this week, the victims' families announced a separate lawsuit against nearly 100 state police officers involved in what the U.S. Justice Department has deemed a failed emergency response. The families have also secured a $2 million settlement with the city of Uvalde.

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