When a car malfunctions and hurts its driver or a restaurant serves tainted food, injured consumers have the ability to sue the company for the damage it caused. This opportunity is an important part of consumers’ right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It also deters businesses from selling anything that could jeopardize public safety.
However, guns seem to be in a class of their own; the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms. In fact, guns are the only product that the Bill of Rights treats as an important part of life, which makes them unique from cars and food. As a result, lawmakers created a policy that protects gun makers from the majority of liability lawsuits when someone is hurt or killed.
Could guns be safer?
While most products on the market must be as safe as possible for the general public, guns are a dangerous product by definition. Manufacturers design them to kill living beings as part of lawful hunting or lawful self defense. However, there many cases of accidents that harm New Mexico residents, including children who somehow access a gun.
As reported in the New York Times, research points to the potential for safer gun products. Almost half of accidental gun fatalities might have never happened if the gun contained a safety feature. Although gun manufacturers can’t control the actions of owners who use their gun for crime, safety features are a factor within their control.
What is the government doing about these accidents?
Some members of Congress believe that consumers should have the right to sue gun makers for contributing to their injuries. Therefore, they are proposing to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which would allow these lawsuits to become possible.
Manufacturers have a responsibility to maximize the security of customers and the people around them. Negligence while creating any product, including guns, can cause tragic accidents. While it isn’t certain whether the law will change and gun makers will lose their immunity, the choice to sue after an injury is essential to hold manufacturers accountable for safety.