Firearms industry should bear financial liability for homicides involving handguns

Mar 18, 2008

George Nation, professor of law and business at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., argues in the April issue of the Baylor Law Review that manufacturers of guns should be required to bear vicarious financial liability for the harm suffered by innocent bystanders who have been injured by the criminal use of their products.

"Traditionally, gun manufacturers have escaped responsibility when it comes to the criminal use of their products," says Nation. "The legal system essentially presumes that criminal activity is not to be expected and that manufacturers have no control over the use of their products.”

“But with more than two million handgun-related crimes each year, and some gun advertising clearly aimed at criminal users, this traditional presumption is at odds with reality," he adds.

According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 68% of all murders reported to police in 2006 were committed with a firearm. Statistics from The Center for Disease Control sound a similar warning; the center estimated the number of gun-related homicides in the U.S. to be well over 11,000 in 2005.

High courts continue handing down contradictory rulings on the financial liability of gun manufacturers. Just in the past half year, appellate courts in Indiana and Washington, D.C. have handed down opposite decisions involving the reach of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (2005).

In the case of gun manufacturers, at stake is the future of the $2 billion firearms industry. The Second Amendment has come under particular fire this past year and is the focus of a landmark hearing today at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding gun ownership. The court has weighing the issue of gun control in Heller, which pits those that believe the number of lives lost to gun-related violence is a tragic consequence of lax gun-control laws, versus others who claim an individual Constitutional right to own and bear arms.

Nation also says that some level of criminal use is to be expected due to decisions manufacturers make concerning the design, production, marketing and distribution of their firearms.

Source: Lehigh University

Explore further: Huntington acquires Louis Pasteur's notes on brewing beer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made

6 hours ago

Theoretical physicists at Rice University are living on the edge as they study the astounding properties of graphene. In a new study, they figure out how researchers can fracture graphene nanoribbons to get ...

Infrared imaging technique operates at high temperatures

6 hours ago

From aerial surveillance to cancer detection, mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) radiation has a wide range of applications. And as the uses for high-sensitivity, high-resolution imaging continue to expand, MWIR sources are becoming ...

Recommended for you

Toward a scientific process freed from systemic bias

Jan 26, 2015

Research on how science works - the science of science - can benefit from studying the digital traces generated during the research process, such as peer-reviewed publications. This type of research is crucial for the future ...

User comments : 9

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RrMm
4.7 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2008
What hooey! If I bean some guy with a Craftsman wrench, is he gonna sue Sears?
1bigschwantz
5 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2008
Just another fruitcake liberal ambulance chaser looking for another american industry target.
heathermama
5 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2008
yeah let's penalize all the car
manufacturers too. they're surely
complicit in their cars being used to
carry out crimes. how about the drug
manufacturers for all of the people
abusing drugs? how about the internet?
how about hotels? i am sure plenty of
crimes are carried out at hotels too.
oh i forgot guns are the only objects
that are guilty of killing people all
by themselves. not people. people
don't kill people, only guns do.
sheber
5 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2008
yeah too bad they can't fill a greed for justice instead of money.
SDMike
5 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2008
The gun grabbers are notable for their illogic and false statements. However, this nut has taken disinformation to a new high. "...some gun advertising clearly aimed at criminal users..." Please provide just one example.

"Buy a Glock 9 mm for your next crime. Tests have shown 90% one round kills on filling station attendants."

I saw the ad just yesterday in "Street Gang Gazette".
aufever
5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2008
This exhibits what is wrong with Liberal Logic, they want to remove PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY from the equation. I have been hunting and toting a gun since I was 8, that was 60 years ago and I haven't killed anyone yet.
psychfink
not rated yet Mar 20, 2008
Tell ya what Prof Nation-when you shrinks start handing out checks everytime you release or fail to properly diagnose some loose screw who then kills, maims, molests, or otherwise ruins the life of innocents, then we'll talk. Meantime, take two doggy downers and call Chuck Schumer in the morning.
MELvis
not rated yet Mar 20, 2008
So next will we hold car manufacturers responsible for the illegal use of their "product" when somebody drunk kills an innocent person?

WAY more people die on automobile accidents than gun accidents.
zevkirsh
1 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2008
THIS DOES NOT BELONG ON PHYSORG TAKE THIS OFF. HAS 0 TO DO WITH SCIENCE

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.