Litigation, Mass Media, and the Campaign to Criminalize the Firearms Industry

Authors

  • William T. Haltom
  • Michael McCann

Keywords:

Tort litigation, criminalization of corporations, crimtorts, Big Tobacco, firearms commerce in the United States, media coverage of litigation, Juicios por responsabilidad civil extracontractual, criminalización de las corporaciones,

Abstract

This article extends the co-authors’ researches on mass media coverage of crusades against manufacturers and marketers of tobacco products in the United States to media coverage of similar crusades against manufacturers and marketers of firearms in the United States. The major contention of the article is that firearms-reformers have used civil suits and allied publicity outside courts to depict firearms producers and retailers as criminals. A major tactic that has unified reformers’ efforts inside and outside courts is deployment of crimtorts, civil litigation for torts that includes elements of criminal prosecution. Crimtorts and publicity through entertainment media enabled opponents of firearms companies to lose case after case yet to damage the reputations or brands of firearms makers and marketers. The firearms interests fended off crusaders in civil action after civil action yet became portrayed as outright criminals owing mostly to crimtorts.

Este artículo amplia las investigaciones de los autores sobre la cobertura mediática de las cruzadas contra productores y vendedores de tabaco en los Estados Unidos hacia la cobertura mediática de cruzadas similares contra productores y vendedores de armas de fuego en Estados Unidos. El argumento principal del artículo sostiene que los que buscan la reforma de la legislación sobre armas de fuego han utilizado las demandas civiles y la publicidad externa a los tribunales para representar a los productores y vendedores de armas de fuego como criminales. Una táctica principal que ha unido los esfuerzos de los reformistas dentro y fuera de los tribunales es el uso de crimtorts, juicios civiles para acciones por responsabilidad civil extracontractual que incluyen elementos de procesos criminales. A pesar de perder caso tras caso, los crimtorts y la publicidad en los medios de entretenimiento permitió a los oponentes a las compañías armamentísticas perjudicar la reputación o las marcas de los fabricantes y vendedores de armas. Los intereses de las armas de fuego se defendieron de sus oponentes mediante una acción civil tras otra, sin embargo, se les representó como verdaderos criminales debido, en mayor parte, a los crimtorts.

DOWNLOAD THIS PAPER FROM SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2499208

Author Biographies

William T. Haltom

Professor of Politics and Government at the University of Puget Sound, Haltom is author (with Michael McCann) Distorting the Law: Politics, Media, and the Litigation Crisis (Chicago, 2004) and former President of the Western Political Science Association. University of Puget Sound. 1500 N Warner St, Tacoma, WA 98416. haltom@ups.edu

Michael McCann

Gordon Hirabayashi Professor for the Advancement of Citizenship at the University of Washington. McCann is author of over sixty article-length publications and author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of eight books, including authoring the monographs Rights at Work: Pay Equity Reform and the Politics of Legal Mobilization (Chicago, 1994) and (with William Haltom) Distorting the Law: Politics, Media, and the Litigation Crisis (Chicago, 2004). He is a former President of the Law and Society Association (2011-13) and presently is Director of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at UW, a center of publicly engaged intellectuals addressing issues of working people around the world. University Of Washington. Department of Political Science. Seattle, WA. USA 98195-3530 mwmccann@uw.edu

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Published

21-01-2014

How to Cite

Haltom, W. T. and McCann, M. (2014) “Litigation, Mass Media, and the Campaign to Criminalize the Firearms Industry”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 4(4), pp. 725–749. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/327 (Accessed: 29 November 2021).