Savage Arms Accused of Failing to Recall Defective Guns
Certain types of products come with inherent risks and dangers with their use. For example, most types of knives have blades that are sharp enough to cause injury if they’re used carelessly or incorrectly. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that these sorts of products can never be defective. All manufacturers have a responsibility to produce products that aren’t designed in a way that makes them unreasonably dangerous, and that includes products like knives and guns.
Savage Arms, a well-known manufacturer of firearms, was recently sued in a defective product lawsuit over their 10 ML–II muzzleloader rifles. In 2014, Ronald Hansen had gone out hunting using the 10 ML–II rifle, a rifle he had used several times before without issue. But when he went to fire the rifle, the barrel exploded, leaving him with permanent injuries to his hand and ear, as well as burns on his face.
Hansen isn’t the only person to experience such an issue. In his lawsuit, he claims Savage Arms continued to keep the gun on the market despite knowing the barrel was made with a metal that is prone to failing after several uses. His lawsuit is just one of several similar cases the firearm manufacturer has faced over the years. The lawyer representing Hansen has stated that Savage Arms has already faced 45 similar lawsuits over the rifle, some of which date back to 2004. In 2009, Martin Crimp, a metals expert at the University of Michigan, examined one of the firearms and testified that he believed it was metallurgically defective.
The rifle was eventually taken off the market in 2010, but by then, Savage Arms had been manufacturing it for nine years and about 41,000 models of that rifle had been sold. Since 2003, Savage Arms had 300 customers return that particular rifle because of issues like the barrel bulging or splitting. Savage Arms claims that the gun is safe and that the issue has consistently been caused by user error.
In response to the issue, Savage Arms placed a notice on their website warning customers to carefully follow the loading instructions as described in the manual. However, the gun was never officially recalled. Unlike many other types of products, manufacture of firearms are not covered by regulation from the U.S. Consumer Product Commission. This means that unsafe, defective guns can remain on the market unless the manufacturer independently chooses to recall them.
Even though firearm manufacturers can’t be forced to recall defective products, that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from defective product lawsuits. If you’ve been injured by a defective gun, contact a defective product lawyer. Guns and firearms are a unique area of product liability, so it’s best to have someone on your side who truly understands the law.