When you think of defective products with the potential to kill or maim, many come to mind: ignition switches that turn themselves off, furniture that tips over with regular use, and even exploding e-cigs and hoverboards. Also at the top of the dangerous products list is one that is intended to kill: guns. That's why a trigger defect present in a widely popular Remington model is so concerning. It can kill—and has already killed—innocent people and bystanders.
Allegations that the trigger design was defective were first exposed by CNBC in 2010 in a report called "Remington under Fire."
Remington 700 Trigger Defect Kills Nine-Year-Old Gus Barber
The centerpiece for the CNBC expose was an accidental killing of a Montana boy.
The Barber family went to the Gravelly Mountain Range in Montana to hunt. When they returned to their camp one day, mother Barbara Barber had a little trouble unloading the family's Remington 700 rifle. The bolt wouldn't release, so she "took the safety off and [the gun] went off just that easy."
The Barber's daughter, Chanda, saw her nine-year-old brother on the ground. At first, she wasn't worried because Gus would sometimes pretend to be shot when a gun fired. But the family soon discovered that the bullet had passed through the family's horse trailer and hit Gus. Gus died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Class Action Lawsuit Challenges Safety of Remington "Walker" Trigger
In 2012 and 2013, class action lawsuits were filed against Remington. The plaintiffs generally alleged that the popular Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, which uses a "Walker" trigger, sometimes fired even when no one pulled it.
In one of these cases, it came to light that the company had received "more than 1,000 complaints about accidental firings when the safety was disengaged."
Just recently, Remington 700s are again in the spotlight. Remington and the class action plaintiffs in one of the major actions have reached a tentative settlement, but it requires court approval. Several state attorneys general are adamantly opposed to the settlement, saying it "fails to adequately protect public safety."
If You Own a Remington 700 or Have Been Hurt by One . . .
Responsible citizens should be alarmed at the terms of the agreement. As you might predict, Remington denies any wrongdoing and denies that its guns are defective. It also blames gun owners for the firings, saying that they didn't maintain their guns properly or that they handled their guns unsafely.
But even worse, the notices the company plans to mail out to owners don't provide enough accurate, up-front information for gun owners to understand how important it is to have their guns repaired. Put simply, gun owners won't realize that they, or their loved ones, may be maimed or even killed due to this dangerous issue.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission can't get involved. No federal agency can. That's right. Guns and ammunition are outside the federal government's authority to regulate.
If you own or use a Remington 700 model with a Walker trigger, review the class action settlement information and stop using your rifle immediately unless or until it is fixed. And if you or someone you know was hurt or killed in a gun accident, follow up with an attorney right away.
The attorneys at the Alexander Law Group, LLP believe that companies who design unsafe products that irresponsibly harm others should be held accountable. That's why we represent individuals who have been badly injured by defective products. If you need legal help with a products liability case, contact the attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP at 888.777.1776 for a free case consultation.