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How Defective Products Killed An Iconic Gun Maker?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2018 | Product Liability

Mired in product efficacy issues and lawsuits stemming from the tragic Sandy Hook school shootings, Remington Arms Company, LLC appears destined for bankruptcy protection. Not because of money mismanagement or corporate greed; but because defective products are finally burying the 200-plus-year-old arms manufacturer. When America’s oldest (self-professed) manufacturer making its original products from day one falls on its sword, others should take note.

As any reputable California defective product attorney will profess, recalls can easily bring down manufacturers large or small. Just ask Takata.

“The Back Story”

Merle H. Walker patented the firing mechanism commonly used in Remington firearms (#2,514,981). However, this ‘trigger’ commonly seen on firearms doesn’t actually trigger anything; it’s the ‘connector’ pushed by a trigger return spring under the sear that allows the firing mechanism to be useful. Gunsmiths around the country concur that this connector is an unnecessary addition to an otherwise amazing firearm.

Consumer Reports reviewed and brought attention to, flaws in the Remington Model 700 back in 1968. The most talked-about flaw involved the ‘fire on safe release’ issue stemming from a trigger that failed to return to his regular ‘forward’ position, or fire without warning while in the ‘back’ position. This flaw has the potential to kill innocent people, and in fact, has throughout the years.

Fast-forward 50 years, thousands of complaints and class-action suits later, Remington finds themselves recalling Model 7 and Model 700 rifles manufactured between 2006 and 2014 for – you guessed it – “fire on safe release” problems. An interesting take from one Montana man – who warned of this issue for years – can be read here.

A quick Business 101 for you: defective products known about for 50 years won’t fix themselves.

Defective Products Are Defective Even With Perfect Use

Field & Stream rifles editor David E. Petzal wrote a questionably harsh rebuttal to CNBC’s broadcast of Remington’s unsafe Model 700. In his piece, he recognizes Gus Barber, the son of the Montana man mentioned above accidentally killed by his mother reloading a Model 700 with the muzzle pointed towards the shed which Gus stood behind. It accidentally discharged, and Petzal shuns allegations Remington’s mechanism is to blame.

Any reasonably knowledgeable California defective product attorney will agree that even perfect use of a product doesn’t excuse the fact it was manufactured poorly. Could point the gun in a safe direction have saved Gus’s life? That’s questionable considering Gus probably didn’t see the muzzle pointed at him – he was behind the shed, and the shotgun blast went through the wood and hit him.

Because of the defect, Gus’s mother could’ve accidentally initiated a ‘slam fire’, which is an accidental discharge of a firearm when dropped. It could’ve been loaded and misfired on its own without provocation. Too many variables come into the play to call any rebuttal to a product defect ‘plausible’.

At the end of the day, Gus doesn’t have his life and Remington’s product recall admits some level of responsibility. Connect the dots as you will.

Bankruptcy Still Doesn’t Negate Negligence

50 long years ago, a review magazine (of all things) pointed out this significant flaw. It’s obvious nothing to improve design defect was done, and there are millions of products headed to corporate headquarters to prove it.

When Remington emerges from bankruptcy protection, we can only hope they’ll learn the error of their ways. If they don’t in California, a particularly unforgiving California defective product lawyer will be waiting to hold them accountable for clients their guns harmed.