The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is suing bump stock manufacturers for the “emotional” and “psychological harm” resulting from the October 1 Las Vegas attack.
The Vegas attacker, Stephen Paddock, used bump stock devices criminally on some of his guns when he illegally opened fire on concert goers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
According to Politico magazine, the Brady Campaign has joined with Eglet Prince Law Firm to seek damages for “emotional or psychological harm.” Their “suit alleges that Slide Fire (among other, as-yet-unnamed defendants) recklessly and indiscriminately marketed and sold [bump stocks] to the public, despite the predictable outcome of a tragedy like the Vegas shooting, and in deliberate disregard for the spirit of longstanding laws banning fully automatic weapons.”
A couple of observations must be made. First, the suit faces the hurdle of surviving the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (2005). That Act protects manufacturers who make legal firearms that are sold legally. It was cited by Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis when she dismissed the suit Sandy Hook Elementary School families brought against Bushmaster firearms.
The Brady Campaign and Englet Prince are trying to get around the PLCAA by claiming that bump stocks are not firearms and therefore not protected. But there is precedent for rejecting lawsuits for firearms accessories and ammunition retailers too, and that will be the uphill battle for Brady & Co.
Here is the danger: if a suit against bump stock manufacturers succeeds, making lawful manufacturers liable for the criminal use of their products due to “emotional or psychological harm,” then it is a short step to suing “high-capacity” magazine makers for the same.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.