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Guns as a Defective Consumer Product

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What is a Defective Consumer Product?

A defective consumer product is a product that has been designed in an unsafe manner either because the product is inherently dangerous or, because of a manufacturing mistake, the product does not work as it was intended.   

Can Guns Be Considered Defective Consumer Products?

There are three important ways in which the gun industry can be held responsible for defective consumer products practices: 

  • Design Flaw : Like most consumer products, a gun is considered defective if it does not work the way it was designed to work.  This is a design flaw, which can result in a number of defects like the gun not firing, or a gun that fires when accidentally dropped.  Gun manufacturers can be held responsible if a gun was used in the way an "ordinary consumer" would use it, but someone was injured as a result of a defect.   
  • Defective Safety Features : A number of consumer safety groups have begun filing lawsuits that claim guns are defective if the manufacturers have not added reasonable and relatively cheap safety features to keep them from being used by people who should not have access to guns, like criminals and children.  Not all these lawsuits have been successful because courts have held that consumers should realize how dangerous a gun is when they buy it.  
  • Negligence in Distribution or Manufacturing : Gun manufacturers may be responsible for how they market and distribute guns under consumer safety laws.  Negligence in distribution or manufacturing refers to a company's failure to exercise reasonable caution when making of selling its product.  With respect to guns, some courts have held gun manufacturers responsible for allowing guns to fall into the hands of certain people, like persons with a criminal history.   

Do I Need an Attorney to Claim a Gun as a Defective Product?

If you have been injured by a gun, you may have a right to recover damages from the gun's manufacturer.  You should speak to an experienced products liability attorney to learn more about your rights and whether you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 03-06-2017 01:42 PM PST

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