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: Will rapprochement mean new research collaborations between Cuba and the U.S.?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

People finding their 'waze' to once-hidden streets

3 hours ago

When the people whose houses hug the narrow warren of streets paralleling the busiest urban freeway in America began to see bumper-to-bumper traffic crawling by their homes a year or so ago, they were baffled.

Identity theft victims face months of hassle

3 hours ago

As soon as Mark Kim found out his personal information was compromised in a data breach at Target last year, the 36-year-old tech worker signed up for the retailer's free credit monitoring offer so he would ...

Observers slam 'lackluster' Lima climate deal

3 hours ago

A carbon-curbing deal struck in Lima on Sunday was a watered-down compromise where national intransigence threatened the goal of a pact to save Earth's climate system, green groups said.

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

3 hours ago

Criminals stole personal information from tens of millions of Americans in data breaches this past year. Of those affected, one in three may become victims of identity theft, according to research firm Javelin. ...

New Bond script stolen in Sony hack

3 hours ago

An "early version" of the screenplay for the new James Bond film was the latest victim of a massive hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, its producers said in a statement on their website Sunday.

Ag-tech could change how the world eats

9 hours ago

Investors and entrepreneurs behind some of the world's newest industries have started to put their money and tech talents into farming - the world's oldest industry - with an audacious agenda: to make sure there is enough ...

Recommended for you

Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

Dec 17, 2014

The three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in one of the most famous and elaborate prison breaks in U.S. history could have survived and made it to land, scientists concluded in a recent study.

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.