It’s every responsible gun owner’s worst nightmare: a weapon firing without someone pulling the trigger. It seems unfathomable, yet this has been occurring with a popular Remington rifle for years, according to a federal lawsuit in Missouri.
There may be as many as 7.5 million Remington 700 series rifles in America prone to this danger, according to attorneys handling the case. The 700 series is the world’s most popular bolt-action rifle. Remarkably, the government cannot legally recall firearms for a product defect due to the protections afforded by the Second Amendment.
News accounts tell heart-breaking stories, such as a rifle that unexpectedly fired through a window, striking and killing a 16-year-old girl as she stood in her grandmother’s yard across the street. The owner of the Remington, a former Marine, knew how to safely handle a weapon. But there are no safety practices that can account for a gun that fires on its own.
Recall Expected Soon in Remington 700 Trigger Lawsuit
Internal Remington documents indicate the company first became aware of this danger more than 40 years ago. As lawsuits mounted over the years, the company consistently blamed the incidents on user error, while at the same time trying to fix the problem internally without acknowledging guilt. Incidents continued to mount when the company replaced the original trigger with the current one, the X-Mark Pro, in 2006. One man even claimed his gun fired unexpectedly on three separate occasions.
The current federal case has placed a new spotlight on this danger. Attorneys have negotiated a settlement in which Remington will replace the trigger in any Remington 700 series rifle. The settlement is currently awaiting court approval.
The lawsuits will not repair families who have lost a loved one, but they will likely save lives by preventing future incidents. The legal argument hinges on basic principles: While all guns carry a level of risk, gun owners should be able to expect that their weapons will not suddenly fire without being triggered. Likewise, a gun manufacturer has an obligation to fix deadly problems like these as soon as they become aware of them — not years later.