Lawsuit Blames Gun Makers, Dealers in Death of Las Vegas Massacre Victim

Parents of a Las Vegas mass shooting victim have filed a lawsuit seeking to hold gun makers and dealers responsible. (Screen snip, YouTube, NBC Today)

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- The parents of a woman killed in the Oct. 1, 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival have filed a lawsuit seeking to hold firearm manufacturers and dealers liable for their daughter’s death, as reported by the New York Times, but an official with a firearms industry organization told Ammoland that, in his opinion, the legal action is frivolous.

Jim and Ann-Marie Parsons, who reside in Washington State, filed their case in District Court in Clark County, Nev., according to CBS News.

Named as defendants in the case are Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC, Colt Defense LLC, Christensen Arms, Daniel Defense, Inc., Patriot Ordnance Factory, FN America, FN Herstal, and several other named companies.

It’s the first lawsuit seeking to blame gun makers and dealers in the attack, launched by a killer identified as Stephen Paddock. He used several semiautomatic rifles fitted with “bump stocks” to kill 58 people and wound more than 420 others in a crowd gathered at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. According to Wikipedia, it was the largest mass shooting ever in the United States, and Paddock’s motive remains unknown. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Bump stocks are after-market devices that replace factory stocks on semi-auto rifles. They can be used to mimic full-auto fire, but the internal mechanism of the firearm isn’t changed. The trigger must be pressed for each successive round to discharge, although the addition of the accessory speeds up that cycle.

Carrie Parsons was 31 years old when the shooting occurred.

According to KIRO News in Seattle, the Parsons’ Seattle-based attorney, Rick Friedman of Friedman Rubin PLLP, “believe the Las Vegas shooter was armed with ‘illegal’ automatic weapons, essentially machine guns, because he used bump stocks to make his AR-15 rifles fire automatically.” The couple is also represented by Reno attorney Matthew L. Sharp, and attorneys Joshua D. Koskoff and Katherine L. Mesner-Hage of Bridgeport, Conn.

But Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel at the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown, Conn., labeled the lawsuit as “frivolous” and “politically motivated.” He described the Las Vegas gunman as “a madman.”

“It’s like suing Ford for somebody putting aftermarket products on a Mustang and driving down the Strip running over people,” he observed. “They are alleging that the rifle misused by this madman was somehow unlawfully sold or defectively designed because he was able to affix an aftermarket bump stock, which at the time ATF said was legal.”

Keane was quoted by the New York Times observing, “I don’t know any right-minded person that would say that’s a valid legal theory.”

What may prevent this lawsuit from succeeding is the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), passed in 2005 to protect firearms manufacturers from liability for the criminal misuse of their lawfully manufactured products. The act was passed, according to its language, “To prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others.”

Keane noted that at the time of the shooting, the bump stock devices had been considered legal products by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. All of the firearms used in the attack were apparently legally purchased, along with the bump stocks that were attached to the guns.

Paddock opened fire from a room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, several hundred yards from the music festival. He fired some 1,100 rounds from a 32nd floor window.
Jim Parsons told KIRO, “All I know is: Assault weapons have no place in this society. Machine gun have no place in this society.”

His wife, Ann-Marie, insisted, “We’re not doing it for the money, and we’re definitely not doing it for the attention because we’re not comfortable with that… We’re doing it because somebody has to do something.”

Other lawsuits have been filed against the hotel and other defendants. This is the first attempt to blame the gun manufacturers.

Keane had this observation: “The litigation wars have re-started.”


About Dave WorkmanDave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.