On April 22, 2022, a 23-year-old gunman — armed with assault weapons and positioned in a fifth-story apartment window — fired over 230 shots at unsuspecting students and parents outside the Edmund Burke School in northwest Washington, D.C., injuring four people. One survivor of the incident, Karen Lowy, who was wounded several times while waiting to pick up her daughter from school, has now filed a lawsuit against several firearm, ammunition, and accessory manufacturers, alleging that their marketing practices glorify violence and contribute to mass shootings.
According to the complaint, police recovered multiple AR-15s in the shooter’s apartment, which was described as a “sniper’s nest”: a Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 — the same rifle used by the Uvalde shooter — another made by Bravo Company Manufacturing, a third built with FosTech and Griffin Armament components, and a fourth with Centurion Arms and Sons of Liberty Gun Works components. Lowy has also alleged that the gunman had high-capacity magazines made by Daniel Defense, Magpul, SureFire, and Torkmag as well as ammunition from Federal Premium (a Vista Outdoor brand), Fiocchi, and Starline. Each of these manufacturers is listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.
As the lawsuit alleges, “For years, these manufacturers have deceptively and unfairly marketed their assault rifles, rifle accessories, and ammunition in ways designed to appeal to the impulsive, risk-taking tendencies of civilian adolescent and post-adolescent males — the same category of consumers Defendants have watched, time after time, commit the type of mass shooting that unfolded again at the Edmund Burke School.”
The 88-page complaint features dozens of images of the defendants’ militaristic advertisements and social media posts as part of the allegations that they “continue to intentionally and recklessly advertise, market, promote, and sell a warrior mentality that a certain subset of youths, like this Shooter who live-streamed his crime, fantasize will make them legendary.” Several marketing examples from Daniel Defense, Bravo Company Manufacturing, and Sons of Liberty Gun Works can be found in the galleries on this page.
In February 2022, the families of nine victims of the Newtown shooting reached a $73 million settlement with Remington, which owned the Bushmaster brand, for “reckless marketing tactics” “targeted to those who want to appear more intimidating, more powerful and more masculine through their use of their AR-15s.”
According to Karen Lowy’s complaint, emergency medical personnel had to resuscitate her twice before she underwent surgery, and she still requires medical care today. Her daughter, who was forced to shelter inside the school for several hours, continues to suffer emotional distress.
The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, under case number 1:2023cv01338.