How a kid paralyzed by a flawed firearm tried to take it off the market for good

Discuss

60 Responses to “How a kid paralyzed by a flawed firearm tried to take it off the market for good”

  1. unit_1421 says:

    Someone should have called George Soros to be a straw up to half the settlement they were running away from.

  2. CharredBarn says:

    It’s a horrible, sad story. Apparently, though, the accident happened when a 12 year-old who was trying to unload the gun pulled the trigger while it was pointed at the victim. Because the gun required the safety to be disengaged to unload the gun, this was determined to be a defect.

    At least on the face of it, there is ample blame to spread around here, including, possibly the guardians who let these kids fuck around with guns in the first place. They’re guns. They are designed to wound or kill. The idea that, if the safety just was designed better, they would be perfectly safe as playthings for preteens seems… questionable.

  3. Cadfael says:

    read the essay koko. But you’re right. I’d suspect that more children are injured by guns in the USA than in any other country.

    To comment on the article directly, and sorry to spoil the ending, but it’s a real shame that wasn’t a Hollywood style ending. But that’s life. It’s great that Mr. Maxfield has a great group around him and that he’s keeping his head up through all of this over the last howeverlongitsbeen.

    Bryco and Jiminez should be run into the ground, but then, it looks like they’re doing a solid job of that themselves, even if it’s not as soon as it should be.

  4. Too bad he didn’t succeed with at the auction. However, it sounds like the other tactics combined with that have damaged the company (or rather, its replacement) a lot. Bruce Jennings sounds like a completely terrible human being, someone who literally cares more about having more money in his bank account than safety of the little children. I don’t like using the word “evil” casually, but I’m willing to use it here. Bruce Jennings is evil. Bryco Arms and Jimenez arms are good examples of how evil companies can be. I hope that Jennings accidentally kills himself with one of his own products.

  5. seabasstin says:

    There is still no reason why someone should not set up a kickstarter campaign for this, and buy the company outright just to close it?
    or is there?
    or even just to use the money on a campaign to close Jimenez arms or whatever its called now?

  6. Dan says:

    For those interested in the story of how the accident happened there is more info here: http://www.brandonsarms.org/bryco.php

    Basically the firearm requires that the safety be off in order to unload the gun. I’m not sure why the manufacture was found liable though, lots of handguns don’t even have switch safeties like that. Might be a California thing.

    • disillusion says:

      Probably because any half-decent weapon would and should have a safety and shouldn’t require it to be undone to unload the weapon?  When even a good deal of military weapons, which are, you know, used for killing people, have them, I’d think it would be a good idea to put them on a consumer weapon.

      • george57l says:

        “a consumer weapon”
        That’s an oxymoronic phrase I just cannot reconcile in my brain.

        (Even worse than the superficially innocuous oxymoron  “innovative banking”)

    • If you read the article in question which is linked part of the issue was the gun had design flaws, it sometimes jammed when the gun was loaded with the safety on. Rather than fix that issue they made it so that you could not load or unload the chamber without the safety being off.

  7. Get Bent says:

    He (Bruce Jennings) did a PBS “Frontline” interview (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/interviews/jennings.html) He comes off not really so “evil” but just kind of focused on maintaining a business his family all pretty much have been dependent on for something like 35 years.

    He also makes a valid point to the classist nature inherent to access to firearms, even seeming sincere.

    He’s pretty damn forthcoming, if unemotive, when discussing litigation and the then-current collapse of the business.

    • phisrow says:

      People who are “evil” in the cartoonish-mustache-twirling sense of the term are pretty rare in the wild.

      Unfortunately, their less visible counterparts fill in just as well, if not better…

  8. Mister44 says:

    I remember in college, there was this one guy in the dorm who would talk about his “J”. He fancied himself a little gangstery. I finally convinced him to let me see it and saw it was a cute little Jennings .22 and just laughed at him.

    But yeah – these junk guns are a black mark on the industry. I am curious about the particulars of the poor kid’s accident. Whoever had the pistol should have a share of the blame. It is a pretty awesome idea to buy the company. Good for them!

  9. The bankruptcy and subsequent sale of the company happened several years ago. Summarzied from the Wikipedia article and one of the referenced sites – Maxfield was outbid by Paul Jimenez, former
    Bryco plant manager. Jimenez bought the company’s assets for $510,000 in August 2004 and formed Jimenez
    Arms, which is currently operating in Henderson, Nevada.

  10. Ed Ligget. Tuba. says:

    This is what really chaps my ass about the Citizens United case.  They gave the corporations the rights of individuals, but corporations have the extraordinary ability to weasel out of responsibilities that individuals don’t have.

  11. Stonewalker says:

    1.  Always treat guns as if they are loaded.
    2.  Never point the muzzle at anything you don’t want to destroy.  Ever.  See number one.
    3.  Finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
    4.  Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

    Sorry to appear calloused, but what happened was a negligent discharge, not an accidental discharge.  Brandon’s father pulled the trigger and shot him.  The gun did not “go off”.  My father was almost killed this way (long before I was born) and as a result he didn’t ever take safety lightly.  I was punished for even being careless with weak BB guns as a kid.

    Get Bent Said:
    “He also makes a valid point to the classist nature inherent to access to firearms, even seeming sincere.”  This is why cheap guns were outlawed.  Have you ever read about the Black Panthers and gun control in CA?  Here is a great article on the subject by the extremely intellectually honest Law Professor at UCLA, Adam Winkler.  Cheap guns were effective in the hands of poor blacks, at shooting back at the police, who were murdering blacks in Oakland in the mid 60′s.  Cops didn’t like it => cheap guns outlawed.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secret-history-of-guns/8608/1/

    • futnuh says:

      It wasn’t Brandon’s father who shot him. The lawsuit award was halved precisely because it was a negligent discharge. The balance was awarded based on Bryco’s failure to take reasonable steps to address a known defect. Finally, there is documented evidence of this gun discharging without a trigger pull.

      This isn’t an anti-gun campaign.

    • Fnordius says:

      Congratulations for entirely missing the point of the article. The weapon in question was badly designed, period. You can replace “gun” with “jigsaw” or “blender”, and the outcome would be the same: faulty tool design led to unnecessary and undocumented risk.

      • Tim Escobedo says:

        I’m not sure I buy this argument. The gun sounds like it may have been clumsy to operate, though I don’t think necessarily any more dangerous than any other gun, going by the description of the accident. And the jury seems to have decided that the manufacturer needed to bear some responsibility regardless. But the gun’s design isn’t really responsible here. The way the gun was handled is. It’s entirely possible that any gun could have caused such unintentional harm when handled in the way that it was in this case. Particularly a gun without a manual safety. One, the gun was pointed in an unsafe direction, two, the gun was checked for a clear chamber with the user’s finger in the trigger guard. Both of these behaviors are very bad practice, and would get you rebuked at any decent gun range, if not booted, for unsafe handling.

    • I agree with your statements of rules.

      You do appear calloused though, and you also don’t appear to have read the entire article attached. The same gun has a history of discharging while not even being held. In one case, emptying the clip and wounding several people at a gun range. The young man originally stated that he hadn’t touched the trigger and was convinced otherwise by the FBI. This product history suggests that his original statement may not have been false, but all too possible. It also wasn’t his father. His parents weren’t home at the time.
      It’d be refreshing to see you actually get all the facts before your knee jerk reaction and posting.

      • Stonewalker says:

        I did a little looking around, since I couldn’t find who shot who in the original article.  I read a couple things which were apparently untrue.  You’re right, sorry for the knee-jerk. 

  12. Tim Escobedo says:

    As novel as this (old) story seems to be, it appears that this was a case of user error. No safety is foolproof. Pulling the trigger needs to be done with extreme care even when the safety is on. This applies to any gun.

  13. edgarjpublius says:

    ” I’d suspect that more children are injured by guns in the USA than in any other country.”

    Really? Including places like Somalia, Sudan, Gaza, etc.?

    • Grumblefish says:

      What, total? There’s over 180 times as many people in the US as there is in Gaza.

      There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000 (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control).

      Which would mean to match that, about 1 in 22 people in Gaza would have to be shot every single year. Gaza is bad, but surely not that bad.

      • Dan says:

        That’s why we usually do these things per capita. 23,237 accidental non-fatal in the US works out to be about 1 in 13,000. At that rate there would be about 1300 incidents in Gaza per year. 

    • digi_owl says:

      reductio ad absurdum?

  14. Ben Ben says:

    Am i the only one asking myself what that kid was doing with a gun anyway ????

  15. Ben Ben says:

    Maybe having guns in the same house as kids is a bad idea ??? just maybe of course …

  16. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Moderator note: Comments from those who have not bothered to read the linked article or the comment thread will be deleted with prejudice.

    • Jacqvb29 says:

      Thank you! I know it’s several pages but please read before making comments which will make you look ignorant. And be sure to read the last part, it can add some nuance to your life

  17. NickPheas says:

    I am reminded intensely of an old Bloom County.

    Steve Dallas has been trying to get photographs of a drunken Sean Penn, who has beaten him up.

    Does Steve sue Penn, who has good laywers?
    Does he sue Opus, who told him that Penn was drunk in an alley, and so encouraged the whole thing, but has no money?
    Does he sue the camera company who didn’t put a warning label on the camera, has deep pockets and will pay out just to get rid of the suit?

  18. Abe Lincoln says:

    Tragic to be sure.  But none of this would have happened if the kid had followed the 2nd rule of gun safety.  You NEVER point a weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot.  So I know I’m going to get flamed for this b.c my position doesn’t pull on anyone’s heart strings(which, if I may say, is a bad method to use for logical analysis) but the whole thing could have been avoided if the kid hadn’t been pointing the gun at another person in the 1st place.  This exact scenario is why you always follow rule #2 without exception.  So if you want to get in a twist at someone get twisted at the parents.  They’re the ones who neglected to drive the importance of rule #2 home.  And lastly, I don’t recall anything about our “advanced” society that negates the ancient maxim “Caveat Emptor”.  If the gun was such a piece of sh*t why did they have it in the 1st place?  Can you say “due diligence”?   Do you buy a car or chainsaw with investigating it first?  Would you all be complaining so loudly if this kid had been killed/maimed in an auto accident while driving a 2nd hand Yugo?  So I agree that this is tragic.  But I think quite a few of you need to check your brainstem at the door and try using some of those higher functions.   This entire fiasco rests on the fact that the boy was pointing a gun at something he shouldn’t have been pointing it at.  If he had been following proper safety procedures then none of this would ever have happened. 

    • NelC says:

      For a pretender to logical analysis, you’ve taken a very dogmatic position, even to the extent of not bothering to read the article in any depth, or even this thread. The Bryco is a defective design: it has a safety feature that must be disabled in order to load or unload the weapon, and it has a record of discharging without a trigger pull. Regardless of how one feels about guns or children, this should not be acceptable to any rational person. And neither should Bryco avoiding its responsibilities by declaring bankruptcy, auctioning itself off to an employee, then relocating itself to Nevada to avoid having to follow local product safety laws.

      And it’s not as though the article plays on the heartstrings at all. On the contrary, it depicts the injury and the incident that caused it quite clinically. This is not an example of bleeding heart emotionalism, rather a forensic — one might almost say ‘logical’ —examination of the events of the incident and Bryco’s criminal irresponsibility.

    • Mister44 says:

      Again – kid didn’t shoot himself. A babysitter (family friend) shot him from across the room. Bryco was found 35% responsible for the bad design. A lot of things had to go wrong for this to happen and all of them share a part of the responsibility.

      1) Bryco makes a POS gun with a shitty design.

      2) Brandon’s parents bought a POS gun.  If you buy a $10 skil saw from Harbor Freight, don’t be surprised when it flys off and cuts the dog in half.

      3) Brandon’s parents for making the firearm accessible to children.

      4) The 12 year old with Brandon and the babysitter who retrieved the firearm because they heard something out side.

      5) The babysitter/family-friend-live in (how often does that situation not work out, eh?) Larry Morefold was the final lapse in safety. If you look at it mathematically and the millions of angles and the number of “safe” directions he could have pointed the gun, it takes a fucking moron to point it at the couple of “unsafe” places.

      ETA – I am aware there are many good quality firearms that require the safety off to operate and eject the round in the chamber. The venerable Glock requires you to pull the trigger to take it apart. These Bryco guns are small, and not well built. Now, pretty much everyone who has a negligent discharge will swear they didn’t pull the trigger. In some cases they convince themselves 110%. But given this maker’s track record, I am inclined to say the gun failed in some way.

      • VVelox says:

        Price of a firearm does not determine quality of a firearm.

        There are plenty of perfectly affordable firearms that are safe and there are expensive ones that are complete POS.

        For example on the expensive end, the SPAS12 was a great example of a expensive gun that was a POS.

        Where as on the cheap end and safe end, you have the AK, SKS, and Mosin Nagants.

        • Mister44 says:

          Oh I agree, price doesn’t necessarily equal quality. By comparing it to a $10 saw, I am trying to draw a parallel to a tool people might be more familiar with. An ill built tool is often a danger to the user in some way.

          I am not a gun snob – there are a lot of great firearms that are affordable. The Bryco ones being affordable, but far from great. I’d take an old, rusted Webley before a Bryco.

          @VVelox and @boingboing-9dcb876a03f0d77ea3cee5c9f240c5de:disqus In the event of a pistol or rifle “going full auto”, the ATF usually goes after the user, as they must have done something to make it do that on purpose. Sadly, one poor bastard is in prison right now because his gun was misfiring at a range and someone reported him.

      • dculberson says:

        “2) Brandon’s parents bought a POS gun.  If you buy a $10 skil saw from
        Harbor Freight, don’t be surprised when it flys off and cuts the dog in
        half.”

        Actually, I would be VERY surprised if a $10 saw from harbor freight flew off and cut the dog in half.  So surprised, in fact, that I would file complaints and/or a lawsuit against the manufacturer and vendor that sold it to me.  I don’t care what the price is, if it’s got a design flaw that makes it unsafe for operation in any way, it should not be made and sold.  That’s why there are laws regulating consumer products in the United States.

  19. waetherman says:

    It’s an interesting story, but I found the actual article very hard to read – it’s very poorly written, almost to the point that it reads like it was translated by a non-native speaker.

    Too bad the kid wasn’t successful. Taking one of these junk gun makers out of the market could have done a lot of good. Those who didn’t read the article (I don’t blame you) should understand that the gun in this case was defective to the point where accidental discharge was almost certain – an inherently unsafe design. Just like a car that flips going around a corner at 30mph or a diet pill that causes liver failure, manufacturers of these products have to be responsible for the damage they cause so that they take proper care in design and preventing potential accidents.

  20. CSBD says:

    I am kind of torn on this article.  I feel bad for the kid, but I don’t understand all the blame being focused on the gun manufacturer.  Jennings makes crap guns and seems like a crass guy, is he any different than one of the major share holders at McDonalds? Morgan Spurlock kind of proved you can take any argument to an illogical conclusion and have an emotional outpouring of support for something statistically improbable.  

    Back to the Jennings, If the parents were smart enough to get a lawyer to go after this company, how could they not have known how crappy the Jennings gun was.  The only way this is possible is if the parents (or whoever owned it) had no knowledge of guns and decided to buy one at random based on price, take it home, load it and let anyone have access to it.

    Having grown up around firearms, I can not think of one gun shop or dealer within driving distance that would have sold these guns, not because they are particularly dangerous to the user, but because Jennings guns are not known for quality or for reliability on any level (they are the Yugo or Trabant of guns).  

    The only argument I can think of for owning one is that the owner would have to be so poor as to not be able to afford anything of higher quality (like a sock full of rocks).  

    The Black Panther argument about Saturday Night specials is a bit misleading.  The guns referred to by that article and by the laws that prevented them does not apply to the Jennings. Saturday Night Specials were guns of even lower quality that came from Europe and Asia and were even cheaper than the Jennings.  They were not outlawed because of “Black People” getting them, rather their importation was outlawed because they were priced so much lower than domestic gun makers could compete with.  The same thing happened with the Chinese made AK-47s, their importation was outlawed because they were much cheaper than similar firearms made by Ruger and Colt here in the USA   In some cases the Chinese guns were 1/3-1/4 the price. So for reasons of “Safety” their importation was outlawed (not possession and not manufacture of the same thing here)

    I agree that some people would want to blame the gun maker for the issue with the safety, but at what point does it stop?  Should we sue car makers that allow us to drive fast without our seat belts latched?

    I think another reason why this is an issue is that Brandon is still alive.  At any other time in history he would have died and the issue would have gone away.  The level of healthcare we are providing today is amazing and at times sad.  Lives are saved in cases where even a few years ago there would have been nothing that could be done.  Sometimes this leads to very miserable lives (I for one would not want to be saved as with that type of paralysis.  It has also helped our gov keep the numbers of people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan down by keeping them barely alive.

    A dead kid is sad, but a kid in a wheelchair with a Tracheotomy and a breathing tube to control his chair is a poster child.

    I would love to see Jennings/Brycho or whatever they are calling themselves now go out of business for selling garbage, but it seems there is a market for it… and there will be for some time to come. 

    • Thorzdad says:

      ~ Should we sue car makers that allow us to drive fast without our seat belts latched?~

      A more correct analogy with a gun that *requires* the safety be disabled in order to load/unload it would be if the car maker *required* you to unlatch your seat belts in order to drive fast.

      • VVelox says:

        That is a absolutely terrible analogy.

        There is no reason one should not be able to load, unload, or carry a weapon with the safety off or with out a safety at all. Any weapon that can’t be is garbage.

        It is better to treat it as if it does not exist.

  21. Lobster says:

    So much blame to go around.  I’m not going to say a 12-year-old can never handle a weapon responsibly, but the first thing they teach you is to never let the muzzle point at anything you don’t want to kill.  Yeah it’s dumb to have a weapon with a safety that needs to be disengaged for ANYTHING other than actually firing the weapon, but it’s also dumb to point a gun at someone else and dumb to give a gun to a 12-year-old without making sure he knows that.

    If the gun ever goes off without a direct trigger pull then yes, I think it’s safe to say that’s a defect.

  22. NelC says:

    Damn, there is so much failure-to-read-the-article in this thread.

  23. dculberson says:

    For those that can’t be bothered to read the article before commenting, the person unloading the gun claimed they didn’t pull the trigger.  Yes, they were pointing the barrel at someone and shouldn’t have.  But read this, from the article you should have already read, and then *maybe* comment:

    “In 2009 a Florida man and his wife were at a firing range, shooting several weapons they owned, including a Bryco handgun.  It had been given to the man by his step-son, who had bought it from a friend.

    “The Florida man had just fired it and placed it on its side, barrel pointing down range, on the table in front of him.  Moments later the Bryco fired on its own, repeatedly, spinning as it emptied its entire magazine.  The man and his wife were wounded, as was another man at the range.

    “This was not an isolated incident.”

    This is not a gun that should be or have ever been on the market if that is one of its failure modes. Suing the company out of existence seems like a net good for humanity. Too bad the slime out-oozed it.

    • CSBD says:

      If the Bryco fires multiple times like that, and it happens more than in one freak case, then the ATF would shut them down for making and selling machineguns in violation of the 1934 NFA and the 1986 amendment that made it illegal to make and sell new machineguns to non military or law enforcement entities.

      The only time I have seen a weapon go FA without the owner messing with its internal parts is when a lazy dumbass did not clean his gun enough and managed to get enough dirt and grime in his gun that his firing pin was held in the forward position which caused the gun to fire automatically every time the bolt closed. Still technically illegal, but hard to prove intent.

      • VVelox says:

        Uhm… no…

        That would be a complete abuse of the law as such it is not intentional and as such is a absolutely horrific and disgusting suggestion.

        In fact it can happen on any semi-automatic firearm and does not make it a fully automatic firearm. And if the ATF is made aware of a instance, they will do the proper thing and require the person have the firearm restored to a working state.

        There are two ways this can happen.

        The first method is a slam fire. This happens when a the firing pin sticks and slams into the primer on the freshly loaded cartridge, causing the action the then cycle again.

        The second method is when it does not properly disengage, resulting in it firing again. This happens from either wear, poor maintenance, manufacturing defect, or intentional modification.

        The only way for it to be considered a fully automatic firearm is via the second being done intentionally, other wise it is a malfunctioning semiautomatic.

        • CSBD says:

          If you lived in michigan in the 1990s, you would know how the “malfunctioning” SKS “defense” was abused and how the ATF changed their opinion of “malfunctioning” firearms that are not immediately fixed or reported.

          If there was a serious problem with the Jennings firing FA or continuously firing for no reason, the ATF would be all over it.  

          I suspect the owner of the jennings that got shot (along with his wife) did not clean his gun enough or had some unique other issue involved or there would have been more backlash against Jennings for making a gun that just randomly empties its mag for no reason.

        • LILemming says:

          Your final sentence is completely wrong.  A “malfunctioning semiautomatic” is legally a machine gun.  Google “David Olofson” for the sad tale.

        • gandalf23 says:

          The BATF(E) just successfully prosecuted a guy who lent his AR15 to a prospective buyer to shoot.  While the buyer to be was shooting it a part broke and it went full auto then jammed after a few rounds.  The BATF(E)  convicted the guns owner of illegal possession (and maybe transfer) of a machine gun.  Olofson was the guy’s name.  David Olofson.  

  24. BTW:  The famous Glock, which everybody seems to love so much, does NOT have any sort of manual safety.  Pull trigger, boom.  No other external levers or anything.  Does that mean that Glock is responsible before for any accidental deaths?

  25. Lloyd says:

    Other firearms must be set to “FIRE” while unloaded.  My “made by a reputable company” Browning Buckmark must be set to FIRE in order to open the chamber and eject the round.

    The Buckmark is extremely popular and has sold like heck.  It is also more likely to be used by younger shooters since it is a balanced, target 22LR.  My father bough me one when I was 13 and I haven’t shot anyone or myself with it.  Mind you, I didn’t have unbridled access to it until I was older.

    • VVelox says:

      Aye.

      The need to dis-engage the safety to unload it is a horrible argument, especially after a quick search turns up real issues with the weapons they manufactured.

  26. jon_anon says:

    There’s something I don’t understand. Couldn’t he have borrowed any amount of money (up to the $22M he was owed) to make the winning bid, since whatever amount he borrowed to buy the company would have to be returned to him as part of the settlement, and he could pay it back to the lender? I realise it wouldn’t be returned to him instantaneously and he’d owe some interest in the intervening time–but surely not more than he’d make by selling the machinery.

  27. gerbalblaste says:

    So, this accident couldn’t have possibly been the product of a faulty firearm with a documented defect? Clearly the gun manufacturer couldn’t be at fault. After all, all firearms accidents are the users fault.

  28. Nadreck says:

    The anti-manufacturer liability posters don’t generally seem to have a grasp of basic logic or the US legal system.  First and foremost there’s the error of “the excluded middle”.  Because there is some blame, as acknowledged by the court in reducing the award, to be placed on the child the blame placed on the manufacturer magically gets reduced to zero.  There are numbers other than one and zero and also percentages other than 0% and 100%.  I have confirmed this with Top Men in the field of mathematics.  There is no precedent in the US legal system for saying that all punishment related to an incident has to be applied to only one party.  If, in a bank robbery, I just drive the get-away car but didn’t pistol-whip the teller the judge has a little something for me too.

    The liability placed on the gun manufacturer is exactly in line with that placed on every other manufacturer.  As the writer of the article asks – why should gun manufacturers enjoy special exemptions not available to anyone else?  No other consumer goods manufacturer can avoid putting an obvious safety feature in their product, at minimal cost, without incurring liability.  In a world composed of other than ambidextrous, omniscient, athletic geniuses this will, with 100% certainty, cause injuries that couldn’t have occurred if that extra nickel-per-item had been spent.  Any reason why some portion of the ensuing costs can’t be doled out on the basis of that kind of wilful, reckless negligence?  Amongst the costs that these guys skipped out on was that of ever have had an engineer involved in their design process.

    There also seems to be an astounding assumption that the baby-sitter should have had, or could have had, any knowledge of firearms safety at all.  “Should” in the sense of removing 100% of the blame from the manufacturer.  The child in question may not have been planning to ever handle a firearm at any point in the future.  Ah, but then that plan goes out the window when one of your charges walks out of the bedroom with a loaded revolver doesn’t it?  I guess the prudent thing to do would be to say “Well, Little Jimmy, I see you have a loaded firearm there.  As I am not fully qualified to handle such items I must decline to intervene in this situation lest I incur undue liability in the courts of this state.”  In the event, he decided that he, and not the 12-year-old, was the better of the unqualified people in the room to take charge of the weapon.  He was probably right.  He didn’t know a lot of things and didn’t know what he didn’t know.  So what?

    Note also, that he may, or may not have touched the trigger.  Unknown and unknowable at the time was the fact that this family of guns can go full automatic sitting by itself on a tabletop.  There’s also the issue of whether or not he pointed the gun at anyone or if the kid moved in front of where the gun was pointing.  In my studies of 12-year-old boys in emergency situations I have determined that they move around a lot.

    The “unknowable” part also speaks to the point of the “buyer beware” arguments.  In addition to the “excluded middle” problems there is the question of whether such omniscience was possible here.  Was the information that these guns were pieces of crap available without recourse to an army of private detectives and lawyers?  How many millions did the manufacturer spend to suppress any such findings?  Were there lots of gun magazine articles about these guns entitled “Wow, are these things ever shitty!”?  If you don’t think that rich corporations can suppress their dirty laundry I suggest you go down to the local Scientology office and shout out that “L. Ron Hubbard was a jerk!”  You might then get an education in how the cash-register-justice system in the US can be used to shut people up.  Even despite that, the most important legal question (although not the only one – see “excluded middle”) of access to information is “Did the manufacturer know?”  Here they did but didn’t care.

  29. gandalf23 says:

    1911s and GP35s require the externally manipulated frame mounted thumb safety be moved to the fire position to unload or load.  1911s were used by the US military from 1911 till the 1980s, and are still in use by some Marine and special forces units.  It’s one of the most popular pistols in the US.  Pick up a gun related periodical and chances are a 1911 pistol will be on the cover.  Both the Axis and the Allies used the GP35 in WWII, and most of the British Commonwealth adopted it as their sidearm.  I am pretty sure that Canada, the UK, and several other countries still use the GP35.  Frame mounted safeties typically lock up the slide so it can not be manipulated.  I would certainly not characterize that as unsafe, and clearly neither would most of the militaries of the western world. 

    If the firearm used to shoot Brandon fired without the trigger being pulled, either because it was not cleaned and had crap in there built up or something broke, then it should’ve been able to do that in testing afterwards.  Since no mention was made of that in the article I assume it could not be made to fire without manipulating the trigger. 

    The various models and calibers of Glock pistols are perhaps the most popular pistols in the US.  They can be loaded or unloaded while the safety is engaged.  But if the trigger is pulled then they go bang, as the only external, user manipulated safety is on the trigger itself.  Because of this their owner’s manual states they Glocks are not to be inserted into leather holsters as the leather can flop  down between the trigger and trigger guard when inserting the pistol and cause the trigger to be manipulated thus firing one round.  Lots of cops have shot themselves in the ass and leg and foot with Glocks.  Are Glocks unsafe?  I’d say nope.  

    It’s a very sad case.  I am unsure why the jury found the manufacturer so liable, and the gentleman who shot him not as liable.I am not sure why the pawn shop that sold the gun was sued at all nor why they were at all liable.  The article really wasn’t very good.  At least it did not have all the information that I wanted to find out in there.  

    I am unfamiliar with bankruptcy law.  If they were selling off the assets of the company to pay off the creditors, and Brandon was the largest creditor, you’d think there would be some mechanism for him bidding whatever for the assets at auction, then saying “we’ll reduce the debt owed to us by that amount” or heck, “we’ll reduce the amount owed us in entirety, in exchange for those assets.”  

    It’s a shame Soros or the Brady Center or someone like that wasn’t able to pony up a million dollars or so to buy the company for Brandon’s non-profit.  I don’t think you can do a kickstart campaign for anything involving weapons, though.  A friend was going to do one for an art project where he fired paint projectiles from a mortar.  IIRC he needed 3k for the mortar and another 1,000 for the paint and stuff, but it was not allowed since a mortar is a weapon.  

  30. Mister44 says:

    In the article I read, it wasn’t his dad, it was a baby sitter. It is a tragic accident that could have been avoided. The gun is a POS, though. I think they found the maker 35% liable, and that sounds about right to me.

    And not wanting to migrate too far from topic, but -accidental- gun deaths are really pretty low. Statistically a person who owns a pool is more likely to have an accidental death than a person who owns a gun. You’re way more likely to die falling down the stairs, IIRC. I used to have all these figures bookmarked, but I lost them when transferring to the new laptop. I should kill a day and put it together.

    Stay safe!

  31. DewiMorgan says:

    Again: RTFA. Nobody anywhere has said that the firer was not partly at fault for pointing the gun in the wrong direction. Damages were reduced by 50% for that reason.

    However, this is a complex world, and accidents can have multiple causes. In this case, the two factors identified are: shooter negligence and bad design.

    Nobody has said anything to demonstrate that shooter negligence was not a factor, because it almost certainly was. You, in turn, have not said anything to demonstrate that design was not a factor, and cannot; because it almost certainly was.

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