Legal Issues

Las Vegas Victim’s Family to Sue Gun Manufacturers

Adam Schiff talking at a podium about the PLCAA

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is a United States law which protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. However, both manufacturers and dealers can still be held liable for damages resulting from defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, and other actions for which they are directly responsible in much the same manner that any U.S.-based manufacturer of consumer products is held responsible. They may also be held liable for negligent entrustment when they have reason to know a gun is intended for use in a crime.

Adam Schiff talking at a podium about the PLCAA
This isn’t the first time a measure to repeal liability protections for the gun industry has been pursued. Schiff’s first measure was introduced in 2013, and has been repeated at least twice since. None of the measures passed.

LAS VEGAS — The parents of a young woman killed in the 2017 Las Vegas massacre said Wednesday they blame gun manufacturers for their daughter’s death.

“Someone murdered our daughter,” said James Parsons, whose 31-year-old daughter Carrie Parsons was one of 58 people killed when a gunman rained down gunfire from a high-rise hotel. “Someone should be held accountable for that.”

A wrongful death lawsuit filed Tuesday targets Colt and seven other gun manufacturers, along with gun shops in Nevada and Utah, arguing their weapons are designed to be easily modified to fire like automatic weapons [i.e. bumpstocks].

“It was a horrifying, agonizing experience and we don’t want this to happen to other families,” Parsons told The Associated Press of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The lawsuit is the latest case to challenge a federal law shielding gun manufacturers from liability. It charges that gun makers marketed the ability of the AR-15-style weapons to be easily modified to mimic machine guns and fire continuously, violating both a state and federal ban on automatic weapons.

A firearms industry group said Wednesday the man who opened fire on a country music concert is the only one responsible for the deaths.

Parsons and his wife Ann-Marie argue in the lawsuit that the firearms are “thinly disguised” machine guns that the manufacturers knew could be easily modified, even without the use of a “bump stock,” an attachment used by the Las Vegas gunman that allowed him to fire in rapid succession.

The Trump administration banned bump stocks this year, making it illegal to possess them under the same federal laws that prohibit machine guns.

“We understand this is an uphill battle,” Ann-Marie Parsons told the AP on Wednesday from their home in suburban Seattle. “But somebody has got to do something because the carnage continues.”

“Losing our daughter is the worst thing that ever happened to us. It is hurtful to us every time we see these things happen,” she said.

The lawsuit charges the manufacturers showed a “reckless lack of regard for public safety” by advertising the firearms “as military weapons and signaling the weapon’s ability to be simply modified.” It alleges there are dozens of videos online showing people how to install bump stocks.

“It was only a question of when—not if—a gunman would take advantage of the ease of modifying AR-15s to fire automatically in order to substantially increase the body count,” the lawsuit states.

Courts have typically rejected lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers in other high-profile shooting attacks, citing a 2005 federal law that shields gun makers from liability in most cases when their products are used in crimes.

Neither Colt nor any of the other manufacturers immediately responded to requests for comment from The Associated Press. But a national trade association formed on behalf of the firearms industry in 1961 said in an email to AP on Wednesday there is no legal basis for the lawsuit.

Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said the responsibility for the tragedy in Las Vegas “rests with the criminal who committed the violent and reprehensible acts.”

“It is wrong to blame the manufacturers of legal, non-defective products lawfully sold for the actions of a madman,” he wrote. “Doing so would be like attempting to hold Ford responsible for a deranged criminal who affixes aftermarket parts to a Mustang and then misused that car to attack a group of pedestrians.”

The attorney for the Parsons family, Joshua Koskoff, is representing relatives of victims of the Newtown school massacre in a similar lawsuit. The Connecticut Supreme Court in March ruled that gun-maker Remington could be sued for the way it marketed an AR-15-style rifle used to murder 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Remington plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Las Vegas shooter opened fire on the crowd of 22,000 from his suite in a tower of the Mandalay Bay casino-resort. Police and the FBI say the gunman acted alone and killed himself before officers reached his hotel room.

The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis unit later found the shooter sought notoriety in the attack on the open-air concert but cited no “single or clear motivating factor.”

The lawsuit is among more than a dozen filed since the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting, though it’s the first to target a gun maker.

Victims have sued MGM Resorts International, which operated the concert venue and owns the Mandalay Bay hotel, along with the concert promoter and others.

MGM Resorts then sued hundreds of victims in a bid to avoid liability. The company has been in settlement talks with the victims and their families.

Do you feel anyone other than the murder is to blame? Should the lawsuits be allowed to continue despite the PLCAA? Are the gun manufacturers to blame? Share your answers in the comment section.



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Comments (13)

  1. Car manufactures take note. All companies making products take note. You will now be libable for how people use your products. Car crash kills 3. Sue FORD. Person driving was on Cell phone in the same crash sue Apple/Samsung and AT&T/Verizon. Man bashes somone head in with a baseball bat. Sue Louisville Slugger. People can be killed or injured by many products. If they open the door on gun manufactures the flow to every product we use will be swift. Everyone is looking for easy money they did not earn. Everyone wants something for nothing. The manufactures are not responsible for the illigal or stupid uses of their product.

  2. Another play ground for trial lawyers. Blame the gun mfg not the shooter cry the liberals. Sue, sue, sue cry the attorneys. Lawyers don’t really care, they just want the money.

  3. “Someone murdered our daughter,” said James Parsons, whose 31-year-old daughter Carrie Parsons was one of 58 people killed when a gunman rained down gunfire from a high-rise hotel. “Someone should be held accountable for that.”

    There was someone to hold accountable: the gunman. He’s now dead. This may not satisfy their feelings for revenge, but it’s the best they’re going to get. Redirecting their anger and pain to others not responsible won’t make them feel any better or bring their family members back.

  4. If we’re going to live in a Fantasy world where the Lunatic Left gets to make up or CHANGE Laws willy nilly, Why don’t we go back to all the M<ass shootings that came before and sue the shorts off the Democrat Party!@ Hell, while we're at it, let's sue the entire rank & File of the Party of Slavery, Death and the KKK for "REPARATIONS"!!?
    We Republicans and Independents FOUGHT Slavery! The DNC scum WERE SLAVERS! While we're losing our minds, let's sue the Car manufacturers every time some Idiot runs people over? How about we SUE the Liquor companies EVERY TIME some damn Drunk kills innocent people? While we're being "Democrat STUPID", let's SUE the DNC for their Democrat KILLER going after the Republican Party in order to KILL them while they were innocently trying to practice for a Demonrat vs Republican baseball game! The Laws of the United States of America just don't seem to pertain to the Communist–er Democrats. Do they??
    It's BEYOND time We The People took power AWAY from the despicable DNC. and DO IT BEFORE they confiscate our ONLY means of Protecting our Families AND THIS, our REPUBLIC!

  5. With practice, any semi-automatic firearm can be fired as quickly as the action closes. At that point adding a bump stock makes no difference. However, if one chooses to add a bump stock or simply learns how to bump fire by holding the weapon and their trigger finger in a certain way, what they exchange for that ability is accuracy. Personally, if someone is shooting at me I would prefer that they were trying to get their semi-automatic weapon to fire like a fully automatic.

  6. Of course the gun manufacturers are not blameworthy or accountable. They should continue to be shielded from lawsuits filed by distraught family members who have lost a loved one due to these senseless acts of violence. It is no different than liquor companies and automobile companies, whose products also can and do result in multiple deaths of innocent people every year. These companies are not held accountable for irresponsible acts by others using their products, and neither should the firearms companies. Put the blame where the blame is due should be the ruling factor in these cases.

  7. “It is wrong to blame the manufacturers of legal, non-defective products lawfully sold for the actions of a madman,” he wrote. “Doing so would be like attempting to hold Ford responsible for a deranged criminal who affixes aftermarket parts to a Mustang and then misused that car to attack a group of pedestrians.”

    Best paragraph ever!

  8. What does it take for evil to prosper? Ignorance, lies and misunderstanding? Truth and wisdom were once a banner that propelled this nation forward. No longer. We have BAD judges, lawyers and politicians that have misinterpreted, wrote or supported unconstitutional laws/regulations that fly in the face of our constitution and bill of rights. These same politicians, etc. are on the record for swearing to uphold the “constitution and the law of the land.” How is it now they want to break their oath, by going after the very thing that protects us from those who would use tyranny to control the people? Could there be an agenda? Who has the most to fear from the public owning guns? Maybe the afore mentioned?
    The only safety guarantee by the manufacture, that I am aware of, is the gun will perform as advertised and they even give you a locking device for those who desire to store it. The company’s responsibility ends there. (Before all these new laws and suits came about, every man was responsible for their own actions, not someone else’s. So what happened w/that ideal? Was it legislated out of existence?)
    So who claimed they were going to keep these people safe from a gunman or a disaster to begin with during this venue? Anyone? They should be the one’ s under investigation. Not the gun manufacturers. Besides who can claim such a thing in reality?
    These politicians have an agenda. They use the blood of the innocent victim, the ignorance of the family and those relevant as a battering ram to force control over the first part of the 2nd amendment to block our access to the tyrannical clause, which seems never to be mentioned. Which was designed to hold our public servants and government at bay.
    There is a reason that we have 363,000 + laws and 753,000+ regulations on the books at the library of congress. and if you want to purchase a copy of our constitution, it will cost you $130.00 and the book that you will receive weighs 10#s and has almost 3,000 pages. It is made up of the decisions of the supreme court and is often referred to as the “precedence” by such names as schumer or pilocy. Which is why they wanted assurance by President Trump not to remove precedence from “their” legal system. If President Trump were to remove the supreme courts constitution, and return to the original Constitution, the house of cards the liberals rely on will come crashing down.

  9. This is a sad situation and we all feel badly for the friends and families of those who were murdered. But, it has nothing to do with the manufacturers of the firearms. As pointed out if this kind of absurd lawsuit is allowed to go forward than every automotive manufacturer is equally vulnerable for the larger number of deaths that are caused with the use (misuse) of motor vehicles.

    The fact remains the restrictions on full auto weapons and on bump stocks are unconstitutional. One of the main reasons for the 2nd Amendment was so that the citizens could put a stop to an out of control government.

    If people want to hold someone responsible for the mass shootings, it seems the first stop should be with the health care “professionals” who have prescribed psychogenic drugs to these mass shooters without taking the steps to list them as a threat and restricting their ability to legally keep and purchase guns. Nearly all the mass murderers were on or had been on psychogenic drugs. Violence is a known side effect with most of these drugs and withdrawal is often associated with even more severe side effects.

    Secondarily since almost all the mass public murders have taken place in “gun free” zones these types of dangerous places should be banned.

    It’s not the guns, it’s the people and most of the people were known to have psychological problems and had seen health care “professionals”. That needs to be addressed.

  10. Too bad we can hold those legislators accountable while they are posturing to hold the manufacturers accountable.

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