Family of Las Vegas mass shooting victim sues gun makers
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The family of a woman killed by a gunman raining down gunfire from a Las Vegas high-rise hotel suite filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against eight gun makers and three dealers arguing their weapons are designed in a way that could be easily modified to fire like automatic weapons.
The lawsuit, which targets Colt and seven other gun manufacturers, along with gun shops in Nevada and Utah, is the latest case to challenge a federal law shielding gun manufacturers from liability. It charges that gun makers marketed the ability of the AR-15-style weapons to be easily modified to mimic machine guns and fire continuously, violating both a state and federal ban on automatic weapons.
The family of 31-year-old Carrie Parsons, of Seattle, argues in the lawsuit that the firearms are “thinly disguised” machine guns that the manufacturers knew could be easily modified, even without the use of a “bump stock,” an attachment used by the Las Vegas gunman that allowed him to fire in rapid succession, killing 58 people and injuring more than 800 others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The Trump administration banned bump stocks this year, making it illegal to possess them under the same federal laws that prohibit machine guns.
The lawsuit charges the manufacturers showed a “reckless lack of regard for public safety” by advertising the firearms “as military weapons and signaling the weapon’s ability to be simply modified.” The lawsuit alleges there are dozens of videos online showing people how to install bump stocks on their AR-15 style rifles.
“It was only a question of when - not if - a gunman would take advantage of the ease of modifying AR-15s to fire automatically in order to substantially increase the body count during a mass shooting,” the lawsuit states. “Having created the conditions that made a mass shooting with a modified AR-15 inevitable, Defendant Manufacturers continued conducting business as usual.”
Courts have typically rejected lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers in other high-profile shooting attacks, citing a 2005 federal law that shields gun makers from liability in most cases when their products are used in crimes.
Neither Colt nor any of the other manufacturers immediately responded to requests for comment from The Associated Press.