The regulation of guns in America is a controversial issue. These issues mainly revolve around an interpretation of the Second Amendment, where some sides say that the right to bear arms was never meant to extend to individuals. Others refute that claim with the history of citizen gun ownership. What has ignited the issue is the recent shootings in places such as Aurora, Colorado, and in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Additionally, in inner-city neighborhoods, there has been a history of devastation due to the gun violence on the population. Pressure is mounting on the federal and state governments to deal with the effects of the problem.
Attorneys dealing with the victims of such tragedies have been trying to push liability onto the gun manufacturers for creating the environment that allows for easy access to guns. They are also alleging that there are manufacturing defects with guns because they are not safer to prevent more accidental deaths.
With regard to negligence claims, generally, entities have a duty to handle guns in ways that avoid injury to others. Some states impose a higher duty than others, so it is best to check with state laws. It is also prudent to check where the duty is imposed and also to whom the gun was sold. The next step would be to prove a breach of that duty. The injured party would also have to establish that the defendant was the proximate cause of the injury alleged. Finally, damages would have to be established. Obviously negligence on behalf of the manufacturer increases the potential for damages for the injured party. If necessary, a class action may be sought if there are large numbers of people affected by the same or similar injuries from a common product.
Liability for gun manufacturers would be handled through a products liability claim. With products liability, a manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler may be liable for defects found in the chain of distribution to the consumer. Attorneys for gun victims are also trying to group gun manufacturers together in the same way they did cigarette and asbestos manufacturers. This enables potential larger recoveries for current and future victims. Because guns are inherently dangerous, it will take more than simply arguing a design defect to proceed with a case. Courts seem to take more of a holistic approach to the case and look to allegations of manufacturing defects and alternative designs that would make the gun safer.
Whatever happens will be closely watched by attorneys, legislators, courts, and interest groups as this area of the law in rapidly evolving.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured in an accident involving a gun please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.