Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
March 3, 2018

Defective Guns in The US: A Dark Tale With No Recalls

Taurus guns are among the most affordable in the US market. Americans have bought millions of them over the years. Since 2016, the company has been offering refunds for several of its models. The refund or repair offer resulted from a class action settlement. The original plaintiff, Chris Carter, a deputy in the Scott County, Iowa, Sheriff’s Department, claimed his Taurus PT-140 Millennium Pro had fired after falling from his holster during a chase. The complaint mentioned nine other Taurus models that could fire when dropped or bumped due to design flaws, even if the safety was on.

As per the terms of the settlement, Taurus agreed to buy back or repair nearly one million guns in the market. Chris Carter’s Taurus didn’t kill anyone, but it could have. Unfortunately, other Taurus owners were not as lucky as him.

Thomas Brown was in law enforcement for decades. He taught his son about guns and safety from an early age. On December 31st, 2016, when he heard a shot from his son Jarred’s gun, the last thing he thought was that something was amiss. He knew Jarred had taken his Taurus to do some shooting with a friend near his home.

But the gun had fired while in Jarred’s holster, with the safety on. Brown’s son died as a result of the shot. At the time of the incident, the Browns had no idea about Carter’s class action. But they learnt about it soon enough, and proceeded to seek legal counsel. “Jarred knew his way around guns and safety better than I did. He never would have done anything that would have made that gun go off,” Brown has told reporters.

When a company puts a defective car into the market, the vehicles eventually have to be recalled. People who were in accidents caused by defective cars are entitled to compensation. The government doesn’t want defective cars on our roads. The same is not true of guns. Most Americans are unaware of the fact that a defective gun is the single product that cannot be recalled in the U.S.

Neither the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nor the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can order a defective gun recall. If a substandard firearm causes accidents or deaths, it is up to gunmakers to decide whether to ignore the problem or not.

In the United States, we do not only have to worry about 17-year-olds with a history of antisocial behavior being able to buy guns at the drugstore and shooting all their classmates. People who use guns legally and safely are also at risk, when greedy manufacturers put out defective products, and the government has virtually no authority over the matter.

Thomas Brown believed a subscription to the NRA’s official magazine was enough to be in the loop about potentially defective firearms. He was wrong. Both the government and the NRA were aware that Jarred’s Taurus could go off on its own, even with the safety on. Neither did anything, and now Jarred is dead.

Although Taurus basically makes cheap guns that are generally low on the quality scale, the NRA continues to give the company awards. The head of Taurus is good friends with the VP of the NRA. The company has made a fortune by including a free one-year NRA membership with the purchase of its guns.

In a press interview, a spokesperson for Taurus said that no defects had been proven during the class action proceedings. But the company’s CEO actually acknowledged some of the defects in a particular model, during a separate trial which cost the company over a million dollars.

Florida teenagers are demanding stricter gun laws. The store that sold the Parkland shooter his weapon has decided not to carry such products anymore. People are saying, “Never again.” But the simple truth is that gun manufacturers can legally behave like outlaws in America. They can sell defective guns that fire inadvertently, and even the government has no authority to order a recall.

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