You teach your child how to properly handle a gun. He grips a gun and places his finger on the trigger. You rest assured knowing that the gun is safe and as long as he or she handles it properly. But, what you don’t realize is that his toy nerf gun has been more thoroughly inspected for safety than the real gun he holds in his hands. The reality is if it’s a real gun, there is no inspection, no government guidelines, no certification to reassure you that the gun your child has been trained to use is safe.
Toy guns can be recalled if they misfire or if there is a complaint, but real guns are not held to the same standard. Guns may be recalled, but it is completely according to the discretion of the manufacturer. They are not required to do so. But it can take only one complaint for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall a toy gun.
The gun industry is the only consumer product that isn’t regulated by the federal government. It’s the only industry that is exempt from all federal safety and health regulations. As a result, there is no federal agency overseeing gun manufacturers and holding manufacturers accountable for the products that they produce. There is no government agency to recall defective guns and ammunition.
So gun owners can only rely on the manufacturers themselves to take responsibility of their own products, to issue recalls and basically police themselves. As a result, many defective guns are not recalled, products are not always properly tested by manufacturers and consumers are not informed properly about faulty guns resulting in even more injuries and deaths from misfirings.
“Cars have crash tests done,” commented Todd Wheeles, attorney with Morris, Haynes, Knowles & Nelson. “But gun owners are left to their own devices.”
There are toy regulations, automobile regulations, virtually every consumer product, except guns, are regulated. Despite the fact that thousands of defective weapons are in the marketplace, there are no government requirements for guns. If the gun misfires or if it is dropped causing it to misfire, there are no repercussions. No one takes responsibility.
Millions of gun owners are unknowingly in possession of a product that contains some type of defect. Guns like any product can be priced to sell and to meet that price, corners can be cut and quality can suffer. Some manufacturers flood the market with cheaply made guns that have not been inspected.
So what can consumers do? Wheeles suggests that consumers do their research.
“There’s a lot of information online,” he said. “Find out which manufacturers test their products. The most important thing is to be familiar with firearms. Go to a range. First time gun owners should get training. Don’t buy a gun that you are afraid of and put it in the drawer. You need proper training, practice loading and unloading. Practice to be proficient. Once you’ve had the training, do the research. There are lots of gun magazines with information.”
Without Federal gun regulations it is up to the gun owner to take responsibility for their gun safety and the safety of their family. And gun safety is more than cleaning, handling and storing your weapons properly. It also means doing your homework, researching which manufacturers have testing for their weapons.
Wheeles also suggested checking out what guns the military use or the police department, because these are products that have been tested and are of high quality. Gun owners must take responsibility to do the work themselves to protect their family and themselves.
If you do have a defective firearm or have sustained an injury from a defective firearm, Morris Haynes may be able to help you.
At Morris Haynes, we specialize in these types of cases and would love the opportunity to consult with you if you think your firearm might have a defect, even if it’s not already on our list of guns with known defects. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for a free consultation.