Largest settlement against gun maker: gun control group

WASHINGTON Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:14pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A firearms maker has agreed to pay $600,000 to the family of a shooting victim in what a gun control group said on Tuesday was a record settlement in such a case.

A company employee with a history of assault and drug addiction stole the gun later used to kill a man, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, whose Legal Action Project in 2002 brought suit against Kahr Arms over the incident.

The settlement on behalf of the deceased Danny Guzman against Kahr Arms is the largest against a gun manufacturer for irresponsible conduct leading to criminal gun violence, the Center said at a news conference on Tuesday. It said the settlement will be paid to Guzman's family.

A Kahr Arms official could not be reached immediately for comment on the case.

The announcement followed a shooting tragedy in Norway last week that left at least 76 people dead.

The Brady Center said the largest settlement involving a firearms maker in the past was its half-million dollar settlement against a manufacturer on behalf of the families of several victims of the Washington, D.C. area snipers in 2004.

"We have had a number of shocking reminders of the killing power of firearms," said acting Brady Center President Dennis Henigan Tuesday.

"That death toll (in Norway) from gun violence on a single day was regarded as a historic event, but that was less than occurs in our country on a single day."

Danny Nicacio, also known as Guzman, was shot and killed on December 24, 1999, with a 9mm handgun taken from a manufacturing plant in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Kahr Arms is based, according to the suit.

The complaint charges, "lack of theft prevention measures or employee background checks," and "careless inventory tracking," amounted to "gross negligence/negligent hiring and supervision" and wrongful death.

The Center's Legal Action Project is attempting to implement a gun control legal strategy parallel to legislative reform, which Henigan said is often thwarted by powerful lobbying interests on behalf of the gun industry in Washington such as the National Rifle Association.

"The central rationale ... is to encourage gun companies to factor in the human cost," he said.

The NRA did not have an immediate comment on the Brady Center announcement.

Kahr Arms had no metal detectors at entrances or exits to the Worcester facility and records show that in five years some 50 firearms disappeared from Kahr Arms plant, the Brady Center said.

Kahr Arms is an "award-winning manufacturer of defensive handguns," according to its website, whose homepage pictures a woman in an formal gown holding a slender handgun with the words "Thin is sexy."

The Brady Center is part of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, "devoted to creating an America free from gun violence," according to its mission statement.

On that Christmas Eve in 1999 Guzman left two daughters ages 3 and 4 years old.

"Now they are teenagers," said Brady Center senior attorney Daniel Vice. "To those little girls, (the settlement is) a small measure of justice."

(Editing by Jerry Norton)

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Comments (4)
krullkk wrote:
It is time now to start sueing the Auto Dealers and manufacturers as well. They need to do background checks on people to make sure that they have no prior alcohol related incidents on there driving record prior to a sale. This alone can save innocent lives and drunk driving will never happen again. Lets face it. We as a Nation do not hold people accountable for there actions. We only look to point the finger at someone who can pay out big paydays. If someone wants to do harm to another, it will happen. Quit trying to take away the libertys of many because of the actions of a few. Punish the few to the extreme and thing will change. Crime here is no the rise because people know that they can get away with it.

Jul 26, 2011 3:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
fearthebeard wrote:
@krullkk

In your first line you state it’s time to start suing auto dealers and manufacturers, yet later you claim that “we only look to point the finger at someone who can pay out big paydays”. Is that not a contradiction? You don’t think an auto manufacturer would be grouped in with those who “pay out big paydays”? You then claim that not selling cars to someone who has been charged with an alcohol related offense will “save innocent lives and drunk driving will never happen again”. Really? I don’t even know where to begin with that comment.

Drunk driving accidents, murders, beatings, rapes etc will always be a part of our society…we are human. Punishing a firearm manufacturer because it’s product was used how it was intended to be used (to take a life) is beyond ridiculous. They don’t make their products with the intent to be used as murder weapons, they make their products so that people like me can use them to defend their families from murderers. Sometimes weapons fall into the wrong hands, and it is tragic, but it is not the fault of the manufacturer.

And for your last line “Crime here is on the rise because people know that they can get away with it”, that is false as well. Crime rates generally fluctuate depending on the health of the economy in a certain area. Did the gunman in the Kahr case get away with it? What does Kahr firearms have to do with the crime rate anyway? Are you really naive enough to think that criminals will have any less access to weapons because a gun manufacturer is sued?

Honestly the more i read your post, the more confused I get. I can’t tell if you’re trolling, very ignorant, or just a huge pussy.

Jul 26, 2011 4:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
fearthebeard wrote:
@krullkk

In your first sentence you state that “It is time now to start suing the auto dealers and manufacturers as well”, then later you claim that “we only look to poing the finger at someone who can pay out big paydays”. Isn’t that a contradiction? Would you not group an auto manufacturer in with those that “can pay out big paydays”? Later you state that by not selling a car to someone with an alcohol related offense on their record it would “save innocent lives and drunk driving will never happen again”. Really? So if someone does not have an alcohol related offense on their record at the time of a care purchase, that guarantees that they’ll never drive drunk? I can’t tell if you’re trolling here, but I hope you are.

As for “we as a nation do not hold people accountable for there (it’s their btw) actions, what does that have to do with a firearm manufacturer being financially responsible for the actions of a person who STOLE a firearm and committed a crime with it? By your logic we should punish the shooter in an extreme manner (which i agree with), but how could you possibly justify punishing the manufacturer? The product performed exactly how it was supposed to (take a life), so what did Kahr do wrong? If you’re some bleeding heart you’ll probably say “what they did wrong was making weapons”, and if that’s the case, then YOU are why crime is on the rise.

Crime rates fluctuate as the economy fluctuates, look it up. One thing that remains constant is that people like you, people that always want to place the blame on a corporation instead of the person who used that corporations products illegaly, are extremely soft. It’s really simple…there will always be murders, rapes, beatings, robberies, drunk driving accidents etc, and criminals will always find ways to acquire weapons to use during their crimes. Guns are meant for people like me to use to protect my family from murderers, robbers, and rapists. When bleeding hearts like you advocate for litigation against companies that make products that protect my family, it just makes me (and all of my fellow armed civilians) buy more guns.

Keep pushing your lib agenda, and we’ll keep preparing.

P.S. Your spelling is atrocious.

Jul 26, 2011 4:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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