Emilia “Amy” Marin is a speech pathology clerk at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. During the mass shooting that left 19 kids and two adults dead and 17 others injured, Marin survived by hiding under a counter in a classroom. She told CNN she’d “made peace” with the fact that the gunman might find her and kill her.
Now Marin is taking Savannah-based gunmaker Daniel Defense to court, according to WABE. Her petition is challenging whether the gunmaker can be sued for the way it markets its weaponry. Daniel Defense manufactured the AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle that 18-year-old Salvador Ramos used in the Robb Elementary massacre.
Marin’s case was filed in the 38th Judicial District, and WABE reports that it is the first documented legal action taken in the Uvalde school shooting. Called a pre-suit deposition, the filing will force the gunmakers to produce receipts of the company’s profits from sales and lobbying, as well as materials from its website. It’s the first step in a potential lawsuit.
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Marin’s attorney Don Flanary says Daniel Defense is “marketing to people who it’s not reasonable should have guns … and we think that may be young people.”
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Marin’s petition additionally challenges Daniel Defense to give the court information about the AR-15s collected in the hotel room of the 2017 Las Vegas Harvest Music Festival shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, who slaughtered 60 people with the same weapon used in Uvalde.
Marin was briefly accused of being partially responsible for the loss of life in Uvalde, as she was falsely blamed for leaving a door open that allowed the shooter to come into the school. Video later confirmed that she in fact closed the door behind her, and the Texas Department of Public Safety retracted its statements. "We did verify she closed the door," Travis Considine, chief communications officer for Texas DPS, told the Associated Press.
Marin’s case is not the only one to emerge this week. Friday, attorneys representing Alfred Garza III, the father of 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza, one of the 19 children killed in Uvalde, announced that they are demanding that Daniel Defense provide information about its marketing strategies—especially those aimed toward teens and children.
“My purpose for being now is to honor Amerie Jo’s memory… She would want to me to do everything I can so this will never happen again to any other child. I have to fight her fight,” Garza said in an emailed statement to Daily Kos.
According to The New York Times, Daniel Defense has a history of using “messages that are likely to appeal to teenagers.” Garza’s letter demands 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,” according to a statement from Garza’s lawyers.
Marin’s filing is following in the footsteps of the Sandy Hook suit that held gunmaker Remington at fault.
Timothy Lytton, a professor at Georgia State University College of Law, told WABE that Remington argued a “lone gunman” theory, a tale that prompts ordinary people to feel threatened enough to arm themselves with military-style weapons.
“What they argued in Sandy Hook is that the marketing practices of the company were designed to appeal to people who are at high risk of criminal misuse of the weapon,” Lytton said.
In February, the families of Sandy Hook victims settled with Remington to the tune of $73 million. In a statement to NPR, the attorney for the victims' families, Josh Koskoff, said: "These nine families have shared a single goal from the very beginning: to do whatever they could to help prevent the next Sandy Hook. It is hard to imagine an outcome that better accomplishes that goal.”
On April 12, 2022, Ilene Steur, 49, was one of 10 people injured in a mass shooting on a New York City subway. On June 1, Steur filed a lawsuit against the Georgia-based gunmaker Glock as well as its Austrian parent company, Glock Ges.m.b.H, over its marketing tactics.
Steur sustained “serious and permanent personal injuries,” according to her lawsuit.
On May 16, just eight days before the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary, Daniel Defense posted a tweet showing a photo of a toddler holding an assault rifle. The post read: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This was the same day Ramos bought a rifle from the company.
Since the Uvalde shooting, Daniel Defense has posted a message on its website offering the victims the company’s “thoughts and prayers.”
“Daniel Defense has said that they are praying for the Uvalde families. They should back up those prayers with meaningful action,” Josh Koskoff of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder writes in their statement. “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.”
In just a week following the shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 21, according to News Nation Now, there’ve been 20 mass shootings across the nation, Gun Violence Archive reports.