Do lawsuits against gun manufacturers have any legal validity?

Asked by: ladiesman
  • Why are they made?

    The gun makers are the cause of a lot of deaths, and what are they making the guns for anyways? Hugs? Decoration? Presents? No for killing. And those gun makers cause A LOT of death for an example someone is shot of course you should blame the killer but also the manufacturer of the gun, because if it hadent have been made the death would not have happened.

  • Yes, because the question is broad.

    No, if your son was killed by a guy with a colt, you shouldn't sue the manufacturer. But the question doesn't specify this is the only type of lawsuit. For example if you bought a gun, took it down to a shooting range, followed the law, and all the appropriate safety measures and then your gun blew up in your hand or malfunctioned in someway that caused someone harm, probably due to lack of quality control on the manufacturers end, then absolutely you should be able to sue.

  • Do lawsuits against gun manufacturers have any legal validity? Yes.

    Many products are valuable to consumers (for entertainment or for other reasons) but pose a risk to third parties: alcohol, drugs, guns, fireworks, sportscars, baseball bats and more. The legal system has to decide whether to allow such products or ban them, based on a judgment of (among other things) the harms and benefits of the products.

    There are at least two ways the legal system can allocate this decisionmaking authority. First, it can conclude that decisions about whether to allow or ban a product should be made by legislatures (subject to any relevant constitutional protections, such as the Second Amendment or the state constitutional rights to keep and bear arms present in all but a handful of state constitutions).

    Second, the legal system can let juries decide whether a product’s harms exceed its benefits, and, if so, award damages to those harmed by a product — e.G., someone injured by a drunk sportscar driver, who sues the alcohol and the car manufacturer for supposedly making products that are unreasonably harmful when abused. Generally speaking, such decisions, which rest on the theory that the manufacturer was unreasonable in producing the product would tend to drive the product off the market (even if most juries rule that the product is not unreasonably harmful). This is especially likely because continuing to sell the product in the face of such jury decisions might be seen as justifying even punitive damages (the Sandy Hook complaint, for instance, seeks punitive damages). And at least such jury verdicts will raise the products’ cost to the point that only the comparatively rich will be able to afford it.

    Our legal system has long taken the first approach, leaving such decisions to legislatures. Only small handful of cases have held that products are so dangerous that it’s just unreasonable to make and sell them in the first place, and “[e]ach of these judicial attempts at imposing such liability have either been overturned or sharply curtailed by legislation” (I quote the Reporters’ Note to § 2 of the Restatement (Third) of Torts (Products Liability)). One of the cases, from Maryland, involved guns, so-called Saturday Night Specials; the Maryland Legislature promptly overruled it, and other courts have not taken up the lead. And in the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, Congress (among other things) essentially cemented this principle, as to guns, under federal law that would preempt any state departures from the first approach.

    To be sure, decisions about allegedly negligent minor design safety details, e.G., whether construction equipment should have rear-view mirrors, can indeed be made by juries (under some supervision by courts). And under the federal Act, some such claims can still remain. But decisions about whether a product category is inherently so harmful, especially to third parties, that it should be banned, have not generally been left to juries under American tort law, whether as to guns or as to alcohol, fireworks, or other products. And the federal Act makes that into a federal rule.

  • Why are we planning on suing next?

    Should you sue McDonald's if you get fat eating their food?
    Should you sue Ford if you get in a car accident while driving one of their cars?
    Should you sue a cigarette manufacturer for getting lung cancer from their cigarettes?

    Of course not. So why sue a gun manufacturer for providing a gun, when you should be suing the guy who shot you in the first place.

    In every circumstance, blaming the man who provided the materials for the crime is considered ludicrous, except when a gun is involved, in which case people start blaming the gun.

  • Lawsuit filed against gun manufacturers and dealers.

    A. The complaint seems to argue that the defendants are liable under the exception for “negligent entrustment” claims. “[E]ntrustment of AR-15 rifles to civilians,” the complaint says, is not “reasonable,” because civilians supposedly can’t be trusted to engage in “safe and intelligent use of those weapons,” and because states supposedly don’t adequately regulate the weapons. But the “negligent entrustment” exception to the federal Act is limited to situations where a seller “knows, or reasonably should know” that the particular buyer “is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.” Even setting the “and does,” I know of no evidence that the seller of the guns here (the exception applies only to the seller, not the manufacturer) knew or should have known that this particular buyer — the murderer’s mother — was likely to use the gun unreasonably.

    B. The complaint also argues that the defendants’ actions violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, thus presumably fitting within the federal Act’s exception for “a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product [who] knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product.” But the Connecticut act doesn’t regulate guns as such, but simply broadly bans “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” It gives no notice to gun manufacturers and sellers that particular kinds of guns would be subject to case-by-case cost-benefit balancing under the statute.

    It’s thus hard to see how the defendants knowingly violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, and beyond that this sort of general statute isn’t the sort of “statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product” that the federal statutory exception contemplates.

  • Do lawsuits against gun manufacturers have any legal validity? No.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): “Now, the issues that you’re talking about is, if somebody has a gun and it falls into the hands of a murderer, and that murderer kills somebody with the gun, do you hold the gun manufacturer responsible? Not anymore than you would hold a hammer company responsible if somebody beat somebody over the head with a hammer. That is not what a lawsuit should be about.”

  • Don't blame the manufacturer

    I have a hard time believing that the gun industry has any liability in cases of mass shootings. The companies only make the guns, they have no control over how people use them. There are people who buy guns and use them for legal purposes. In my opinion, these types of lawsuits are people looking for a scapegoat.

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