Most of the public was unaware of the existence of Bump-stocks, until Oct. the 1, 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas,. However,
by now most people have at least heard of these accessories for semi-automatic weapons.
Are the Makers of Bump-Stocks Scapegoats in the Vegas Shooting?
Only five days after the shooting, Mett’s Legal noted that personal injury lawyers filed “a lawsuit seeking to represent the victims of the Las Vegas rampage, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, was filed against the makers of so-called Bump-stocks…”
The lawsuit emphasizes that the Bump-stocks were gun accessories “which the shooter used to achieve a near-automatic rate of fire.”
The class action lawsuit is led by personal injury attorney Robert Eglet and three others at Eglet Prince Law firm in Las Vegas. Likewise it is pressed by Jonathan Lowy of the well-known Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington. The class they represent might surprise you; this is not a simply a suit on behalf of the dead and grievously injured.
Bump-stocks and Liability in the Vegas Shooting
It is a lawsuit on behalf of the crowds of people who face difficulty in healing from mental anguish and intense emotional trauma. Unlike most American Citizens, they suffered the abuse of 11 minutes of raging, repetative, and yes, bloody semi-automatic gunfire.
It’s difficult to imagine the awful experience of bullets raining death and pain in a close packed crowd of 20,000 people. And the moments were worsened, according to gunfire experts, by the use of bump-stocks.
Thus, the plaintifs and their lawyers filed their lawsuit for negligence, against Slide Fire Solutions, LP. The manufacturer is a small Texas company which makes and sells the offending device.
By Selling Bump-stocks, was Slide Stock Solutions Guilty of Negligence?
In order to explore the debate at the heart of the lawsuit, Metts Legal asks, “Just exactly what is this piece of shooting paraphernalia?”
To put it simply, a shooter can attach the bump-stock to the shoulder butt-end of a semi-automatic rifle. Once equipped with a bumpstock, the gun then shoots at a rate almost the equivalent of a fully automatic weapon. Let’s fill in a few details in this description, and take a look at the function of this piece of gun accessorizing equipment:
1. The bump stock utilizes the recoil from the gun as energy to bump the trigger against a shooter’s finger…
2. Simultaneously, as the rifle rides back and forth within the housing of the shoulder stock,…
3. …the deadly result is that the shooter can fire almost continuously.
4. Although bump-stocks are amazingly basic devices, they can transform a simple one shot rifle into a machine gun.
Bump-stocks and Two Sides to Every Lawsuit: The Plaintiffs
On the one hand, in this stormy debate: “The members of the class action suit are seeking equitable relief in the form of a court supervised program for medical psychological monitoring for all the Class Members at the expense of the Defendants…”
They add the contention that “Equitable medical testing will provide medical monitoring, testing and evaluation that would have been unnecessary had the Defendants (Slide Fire Solutions) not been negligent and conducted this reckless behavior.”
The lawyers are supporting plaintiffs, including three witnesses who were terrorized by the shooting. They hold Slide Stock Solutions responsible for causing their emotional suffering and mental distress. Their family members, friends and fellow concert-goers are the class members of this class action suit.
“Those excluded from the suit include individuals sustaining physical injuries, fatal injuries and members, or any heirs of the deceased.” Many of the victim’s families are planning other lawsuits for wrongful death or injury due to negligence.
The Other Side of the Story: The Defendants, Broomsticks and Salem’s Witches
On the other hand: Metts Legal has researched the facts as seen through the eyes of the company and its employees.Jeramiah Cottle, inventer of the device, is also the CEO of Slide Fire Solutions. He has built his manufacturing company in the tiny town of Moran, Texas. Indeed, it was the manufacture and sale of this weapon-adapting device that brought the little town back into economic health.
When Jeramiah Cottle established his business there, he provided 300 jobs for the community. Supporters feel that Jerimiah Cottle and his Bump-stock invention have been villified on social media. The citizens who live in Moran strongly believe the public is persecuting the bump-stock makers. They feel the public has condemned them, like the witches of old Salem, without proof of any wrong-doing. (Hence, the “broomsticks” in our title above.)
Most of the people in that small town Texas community do not believe that it is justifiable to hold Mr. Cottle or the company responsible for a mad killer’s use of 12 bump stocks. The citizens on the street of Moran, Texas, see this attitude as a witch hunt.
Proof in the Paperwork: Evidence of the ATF stand on Bump-stocks
The company points to the fact that the ATF sent them an official letter stating that the bump-stock was not a firearm, so they would not regulate its sale. Thus, many Slide Stock Solutions supporters believe the media has hyped the importance of the bump-stock in the Vegas Shooting. They see the public making a scapegoat out of Slide Stock Solutions. They feel like their company should not get the blame for the despicable behavior of a lone gunman, mediocre hotel security and a gun permissive society.
For more details about the lives in that community, see the above cited article written by the Dallas News. You will get a much different view of the company that creates the bump stocks than the villainous impression available in some news reports.
Rationale behind Sales Bump-stocks at the Heart of the Argument
Supporters of the Defendants believe Slide Fire Solutions sold Bump-stocks as aids for shootists with hand, arm and gripping difficulties. However, the plaintiffs accuse Slide Fire Solutions of “misleadingly marketing its bump stocks as intended to aid people with limited hand mobility…” The plaintiffs contend that this advertisement was a ruse, “allowing them to sell the product under federal law.”
Fruthermore, the lawsuit states that the “company acted with fraud, oppression and malice toward plaintiffs and showed an intention and willingness to injure people.”
The lawsuit is up against some very tough precedents. Many believe it will fail in spite of its good intentions to attain mental health treatment for the plaintiffs.
Timothy D. Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University and the author of the book, Suing The Gun Industry stated, “No plaintiff has ever obtained an unreversed jury verdict in a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer for an injury arising out of criminal use of a weapon.”
Much like the defensive argument in the small town of Moran, he added, “The argument is that the industry’s not responsible for gun violence — criminals are responsible.”
Topic Take-away for Lawsuits and Bump-stocks
No matter which side you are you favor in the Bump-stock debate, Metts Legal emphasizes that the American people have a place to settle grievances. We have the right to press suit against companies who might be negligent or misrepresent their products. We have a safe place to fight for justice. Our courts allow us redress wrongs done through the carelessness of people or companies.
It does not matter which side of a lawsuit we endorse, our laws re-inforce our right to have our opinions. It is possible some landmark decisions will result from lawsuits such as this one. At Metts Law, we see our legal system constantly defending your right to speak out and seek restitiution if someone hurts you or your loved one with their negligence or carelessness.