Is Remington Avoiding Responsibility for Gun Defect?
The gun maker is in the hot seat with class-action lawsuit.
A 60 Minutes program that aired on February 19, 2017 held gun maker Remington to the coals. Correspondent Lesley Stahl did an expose on a sad incident in which a 15-year-old man from Mississippi, Zac Stringer, loaded his Remington 700 rifle with the stated intention of scaring his younger brother, Justin, 11. The gun went off, and Justin was shot in the head and killed. Zac, understandably scared himself, put the rifle between Justin’s legs, to make it look like suicide.
The gun was blamed for going off by itself. Zac has insisted since the incident that the gun went off without his finger on the trigger. This malfunction was blamed on the manufacturer, which is now recalling the rifles. According to CBS News, the gun’s trigger mechanism, called the X Mark Pro, has since been recalled by the company because it can inadvertently discharge. Remington has received hundreds of complaints that rifles with this trigger produced between 2006 and April 2014 have fired without the trigger pulled. This information was not public during Zac’s trial. Zac was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was recently released after serving about hald that time. He is now 20 years old.
Zac’s father testified against his son during the trial, but he has now said he believes his son is innocent. Roger, Stringer, the father, is pushing to have his son’s conviction reversed and wants Remington held responsible. The company has downplayed the problems, 60 Minutes says, and that at the time of Justin’s shooting, they had received some 200 complaints about that trigger mechanism. The 60 Minutes story referred to an incident a few months later in which a teenage girl was accidentally shot and killed by someone who claims they never pulled the trigger. An earlier trigger mechanism called the Walker also faced about 150 lawsuits. Remington has never admitted wrongdoing. The 60 Minutes broadcast says that the company considered a recall for the Walker but never did. You can read the transcript of the episode on CBS’s website.
Image from CBS News