Can shooting victims sue the gun manufacturer?

Preface; this is not intended to be a debate on the issue of gun control, just a matter of intellectual curiosity.

It occured to me today that we live in a litiguous society where, when one falls victim to personal injury as the result of an appliance or product, it is a matter of course that the maker of that product is sued for damages, to varying degrees of success. It’s a matter beyond dispute that many people are injured or killed each year as a result of gun violence, often criminal in nature. Has anyone ever tried to sue a gun manufacturer for damages resulting from injury suffered from one of their weapons, and if so, what was the result?

Not in most states. I believe gun manufacturers were granted immunity in many states from such law suits.

Now, if you are at the range, and the gun blows up in your face, I don’t believe the manufacturer has been immunized from product liability suits.

Yes, people have definitely tried to do it, and succeeded. One of the victims of such a lawsuit was Bryco Arms, an extremely high-end manufacturer of custom tactical handguns.

I, and a lot of other enthusiasts of high-quality, innovative handguns, cried when Bryco went under.

This is lengthy subject to go into with a long history and many different state laws to influence under what circumstances gun manufacturers can be sued. The short answer is that they can and have been sued in some states in the recent past but it isn’t very common. Guns are generally very reliable machines that work in the way they were intended so the lawsuits typically need to be greater in scope than just being a tool used in an accidental death, murder, or suicide.

The article below is long but I linked directly to a case in Pennsylvania in the 1990’s that sought damages from gun manufacturers as being part of a conspiracy of sorts in terms of deceptive marketing and sales. It was a controversial case however and not common or typical.

The article is a little out of date and biased in favor of the gun industry but it is thorough so you can read it if you want a comprehensive answer.

The most successful suits have for the most part been issues of product safety and reliability- guns that lacked features to prevent accidental discharge for example. The gun control crowd did try to expand the limits of liability by holding gun manufacturers repsonsible for gun murders. As mentioned in the previous post, claiming that gun manufacturers and distributors were servicing a huge market in “straw purchases”. In response, the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” was passed in 2005 to protect manufacturers against such suits.

The Wiki article you linked to, and one of the news articles cited by that article, both indicate that Bryco Arms was actually a leading manufacturer of cheap “Saturday night special” type handguns.

I would guess that Argent Towers is being incredibly facetious. “Ring of Fire” guns are almost all crap.

I haven’t seen it, but the film “Runaway Jury” seems to use the premise. I don’t think it makes sense in context, either.

These types of suits have been banned by federal law since 2005:

As the article said, criminal conduct by gun manufacturers or product defects are still actionable.

Oh, OK. I’m not really a gun person, so I was curious to see what kind of high-end firearms we were talking about here, and then was very confused.

I wonder if you’d have a case if you got shot by an armor-piercing bullet while you happened to be out wearing your Kevlar vest. Since those bullets are manufactured specifically to kill people and for no other reason.

I don’t know if it is possible, but could you squeeze any more misapprehensions into two sentences? Thanks.


Kevlar is not very effective against most rifle rounds, whether “armor piercing” or not, as they are primarily designed against pistol rounds. They require ceramic inserts to protect against larger rounds, and most police and private individuals do not have these. IANAL so can’t comment with a GQ answer about whether a case would be possible, but I don’t see why that matters as it is not a defect inherent in either product.

Who would you sue? The shooter? The firearm manufacturer? The ammunition manufacturer? The manufacturer of the Kevlar vest? Your Sergeant/supervisor who didn’t force you to put the insert in, and then didn’t stand there and watch you do it?

And no, armor-piercing bullets are not made specifically to kill people; they are, in fact, made to penetrate armor. I reckon it’s one of the reasons that they’re known as armor piercing bullets, instead of the SplatBlaster Kill-o-nator InfraDead Murderizers.

If you had said that hollow-points were specifically made to kill people, you would be a hell of a lot closer to the truth.

Poop on a stick, are you just pig-ignorant, pulling liberal PC horsepuckey out of your fundament, or deliberately stating a blatant falsehood in GQ to make a political statement about them “evil guns?”

Err, I meant hollow-point rather than armor-piercing. My bad.

Yeah, right, in the same way that bullets aren’t made to hit targets, they are made to be fired out of guns.

Well this thread is going to get ugly fast.

What calibers do these SplatBlaster Kill-o-nator InfraDead Murderizers come in?

How can you sue someone for manufacturing something that does exactly what it’s designed to do?

Why would there be liability for a product manfacturer whose product worked as designed. I can see liability for gun shop owners if they sold a weapon to someone who was clearly unstable and he then went and killed another person or if a safety failed, but otherwise why.

That would be awesome because nobody would sell guns to ExTank.

Hey. Chill.