Las Vegas Shooting Victims Sue Bump Stock Manufacturer
Three victims of the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 have filed a lawsuit against several companies that manufacture and sell the bump stock devices the shooter used to carry out his crime.
Bloomberg reports that the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Vegas law firm of Eglet Prince have filed suit against bump stock manufacturer Slide Fire Solutions and other unspecified manufacturers and retailers on behalf of Devon Prescott, Brooke Freeman, and Tasaneeporn Upright, seeking damages as well as funds to pay for counseling and treatment for emotional distress. The lawsuit has the potential to become a class action.
Authorities found a dozen bump stocks in the hotel room of shooter Stephen Paddock after he opened fire into the crowd during Jason Aldean's set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1, killing at least 58 people and wounding nearly 500 more before taking his own life in the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Paddock used the bump stock devices to make semi-automatic weapons fire more like automatic weapons.
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According to the lawsuit, "This horrific assault did not occur, could not occur, and would not have occurred with a conventional handgun, rifle, or shotgun, of the sort used by law-abiding responsible gun owners for hunting or self-defense."
Bloomberg reports that the lawsuit may challenge the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which shields gun manufacturers and retailers from legal complaints stemming from crimes committed using their products. That act was cited as the basis for dismissing a lawsuit against Remington after the Newtown school shooting in 2012.
Special Agent Jill A. Snyder from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said in a press conference that bump stocks are not prohibited by current laws because "bump fire stocks, while simulating automatic fire, do not actually alter the firearm to fire automatically, making them legal under current federal law." A wide range of gun control advocates have called for more regulation over bump stocks, with even the NRA coming out and saying it supports that idea. Gun control advocates have decried the NRA's position as a distraction from addressing wider issues related to gun control.
The heart of the case may be whether or not the plaintiffs are able to demonstrate negligence on the part of Slide Fire Solutions, which stated in a letter to the ATF that bump stocks are "intended to assist persons whose hands have limited mobility."
"Plaintiffs are unaware of any measures taken by Slide Fire to ensure that bump stocks would only be sold to persons whose hands had limited mobility, or to even see if persons buying bump stocks who were not limited in mobility had any legitimate reason to buy them," the filing states.
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