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Texas school shooting victims take action against gunmaker

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Stock Markets3 hours ago (Jun 03, 2022 02:25PM ET)

Texas school shooting victims take action against gunmaker © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Flowers, toys, and other objects to remember the victims of the deadliest U.S. school mass shooting in nearly a decade, resulting in the death of 19 children and two teachers, are pictured at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, U.S.,

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) – The father of a 10-year-old girl slain in the Uvalde, Texas school shooting and a school employee have taken initial steps that could lead to lawsuits against Daniel Defense, the maker of the semiautomatic rifle used in last week’s massacre that killed 21 people.

Lawyers for Alfred Garza, father of Robb Elementary School student Amerie Jo Garza, requested in a letter on Friday to Daniel Defense that the Black Creek, Georgia-based gun manufacturer provide information about its marketing to teens and children.

“We ask you to begin providing information to us now, rather than force Mr. Garza to file a lawsuit to obtain it,” his lawyers wrote in the letter.

Separately, school employee Emilia Marin filed papers in Texas state court seeking an order to depose Daniel Defense and force the company to turn over documents, also related to its marketing. Marin is listed as a speech pathologist clerk on the school’s website.

Marin’s filing late on Thursday is a petition that allows a party to begin investigating potential claims.

No lawsuits have yet been announced against Daniel Defense stemming from the shooting.

Daniel Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, stormed the school on May 24 and killed 19 students and two teachers before he was killed by law enforcement, according to authorities.

The letter from Garza’s attorneys asked Daniel Defense to provide a range of information, including communications with Ramos, documents related to the shooting, use of video games to market its guns and social media accounts.

Marin’s attorney, Don Flanary of San Antonio, said he wants to investigate the marketing of the guns to Ramos when he was a minor. Ramos bought a semiautomatic rifle legally on his 18th birthday on May 17.

Gun manufacturers are generally shielded from lawsuits over criminal use of their firearms by a federal law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA.

However, the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2019 ruled that gun company Remington Arms could be sued by families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting under a PLCAA exception because Remington allegedly violated state marketing laws. The families said in February that Remington paid $73 million to settle the case.

Garza’s lawyers include Josh Koskoff, who led the Sandy Hook case against Remington, and well-known personal injury attorney Mikal Watts.

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