Activision and Meta sued as Uvalde shooting suspect kills 21, injures many

Lawsuit, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, involves around 45 family members
An undated image of a person using sniper. — Pexels
An undated image of a person using sniper. — Pexels

The families of the victims from the Uvalde, Texas school shooting are suing Meta and Call of Duty developer Activision. They claim that these companies promoted the use of firearms to underage boys, conditioning the shooter to see weapons as a solution to his problems and training him in their use. 

Uvalde school shooting suspect

The lawsuit, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, involves around 45 family members and accuses Activision and Meta of “grooming” young men towards violence. On May 24th, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

The complaint states that the gunman played Call of Duty obsessively, developing marksmanship skills and receiving rewards after substantial time investment. 

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It also mentions that the game features the AR-15 used in the shooting. Additionally, it alleges that Instagram marketed combat aggressively to the shooter, depicting the thrill of combat.

Robb elementary school shooting 

The families are also suing Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the AR-15 used in the shooting at Robb elementary school, accusing it of promoting its weapons to minors on Instagram through posts glorifying combat. Although Meta’s rules ban gun sales on its platforms, the gunman purchased the AR-15 from Daniel Defense’s website, not through Instagram.

Section 230 protects platforms from civil lawsuits stemming from user posts, but complications arise when targeted advertising is the issue. 

“Companies like Instagram and Activision do more than just allow gun companies to reach consumers — they underwrite and mainstream violence to struggling adolescents,” wrote Josh Koskoff, the attorney for the Uvalde families. “Instagram should stop enabling the marketing of AR-15s to kids by gun companies; and Activision should stop training and habituating kids to kill. It’s that simple.”

Video game companies have long denied that games cause real-world violence, a claim often made by politicians after mass shootings. Research shows that video games don’t cause violent acts, and similar lawsuits against video game companies have failed. Activision’s head of corporate communications, Delaney Simmons, stated, “Millions of people around the world enjoy video games without turning to horrific acts.”

Josh Koskoff previously secured a $73 million settlement for the families of Sandy Hook school shooting victims from gun manufacturer Remington.