Gun safety defects are very common. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) acknowledges that 40 percent of all new guns contain some type of defect. Many firearms contain defects in design or manufacture making them likely to unintentionally discharge, sometimes when simply jarred or shaken. Recently, there have been many reports of defective handguns firing when dropped. These occurrences of “drop fires” are particularly concerning and dangerous. However, the gun industry’s lack of safety regulation means that manufacturers are not compelled to fix defects unless lawsuits are brought by injured gun owners.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati recall lawyer and Ohio product liability attorney representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of civil litigation claims.
According to one study, from 2005-2010, nearly 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings. Gun manufacturers must be held responsible for this growing trend in the US. However, the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms, removing a defective firearm from the market is very difficult.
In 1972, when Congress passed a law establishing the Consumer Product Safety Commission “to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products,” it barred the new agency from regulating firearms in the same manner.
Of course, guns are regulated by state and local laws, and by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. However, none of the regulations cover product safety. That means no federal agency can recall guns that contain safety-related defects. Under this system, only the courts and customers can hold gun manufacturers accountable for their defective products.
Most manufacturers have issued recalls in the past. In fact, the gun industry has a long history of safety neglect. For example, in 1986, a federal court upheld a punitive damage of over $1 million against Colt in a case involving the unintentional discharge of a single-action revolver.
There have also been thousands of customer complaints involving Remington rifles spanning decades. There are allegations of at least two dozen related deaths, and over 7 million guns involved. In 1994 a Texas jury awarded $15 million in damages to a hunter who shot himself in the foot when a Remington rifle discharged without the trigger being pulled. Company documents revealed that Remington was aware the rifle contained a defect that allowed it to fire without the trigger being pulled. Remington refused to recall the gun even though an internal product safety committee determined that their product was defective.
Recently, in response to a lawsuit, Remington agreed to recall millions of triggers in its popular Model 700 hunting rifle.
Taurus Inc., a Brazilian-based company, recently paid $30 million to settle a lawsuit after one of their defective semi-automatic handguns accidentally killed an 11-year-old boy. The gun owner, the victim’s father, was simply inserting the magazine when the gun fired.
The lawsuit is among several cases filed against Taurus that claim that some of its handguns have defective safety systems that cause them to fire when dropped or even shaken. Lawyers maintain Taurus “designed, tested, developed, manufactured, marketed, advertised, distributed and sold the subject pistol in a defective condition that is unreasonably dangerous to the user.”
According to the lawsuit, Taurus designed and manufactured the gun with a design flaws that allow the gun to discharge without pulling the trigger, even when the safety latch is in the “ON” position. Lawyers involved in the Taurus case, hired an engineer to conduct drop tests on the pistols. The clearly show the trigger going back when dropped, or firing when simply shaken.
The company stopped production of the nine models that are the subject of the class-action, and recalled nearly 1 million guns. Despite the recalls, plaintiffs claim the company continued to sell what was left in its stock.
The nine models being recalled include the following models:
FMK Firearms has recently recalled defective handguns with a faulty trigger system that allows the guns to fire when dropped. The company admits that drop fires are possible. They say that “under certain circumstances, the 9C1 Pistols fitted with Fast Action Triggers could discharge when dropped.”
FMK warns that “the pistol could DISCHARGE if dropped with a round in the chamber.” Video evidence of an independent drop test has surfaced showing drop fire and is why the company issued a recall.
Below is a list of some of the largest notices and recalls for manufacturers of rifles and defective handguns from the Violence Policy Center.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a defective handgun and have questions about the root cause and the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding defective handguns.