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Gun Accidents and Defective Firearms

Jeffrey S. Sieben - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyOctober 10, 2014

With the opening of hunting season upon us, we’ll hear much about gun safety. We’ll be reminded to store guns in a safe, to keep ammunition and guns separate, to always treat a gun as if it were loaded, to wear orange while hunting, to keep the safety on until you’re ready to shoot, to always know the position of hunting partners, etc... All of these precautions are important and well worth reviewing each fall. 

But while consumer education plays a crucial role in injury prevention, no amount of user caution can eliminate the risks associated with product defects in the design and manufacture of guns. 

Most people would be surprised to learn that despite the fact that guns kill nearly twice as many people in the U.S. as all household products combined; no federal agency has the power to ensure that firearms that are manufactured and sold in this country are safe. 

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) exists to keep consumers safe from a myriad of household and recreational products – everything from lawnmowers to toys. Yet firearms are exempt from CPSC oversight. Currently, the only mechanism available to protect consumers from negligent gun manufacturers is the civil justice system. 

When a gun goes off after being dropped or bumped, the tendency is to blame the user for being clumsy or careless. But just as a car is not supposed to move until it’s put into drive, a gun shouldn’t fire until the safety is off and the trigger is pulled. It is the duty of the manufacturer to guard against accidental discharge. 

With no federal oversight over the industry, it is up to the courts to ensure that manufacturers meet this duty. The Remington 700 and 600 series bolt-action rifles have a long history of accidental discharge and resulting litigation. There have been at least three dozen lawsuits against Bryco/Jennings for manufacturing and distributing defective firearms. More than 600 people have been injured, some fatally, by the Sturm, Ruger & Company’s old model single-action revolvers. The list goes on.

If you have been injured in a gun accident, contact the experienced gun accident lawyers at SiebenCarey.

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