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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Families Consider Suing Magazine Manufacturer After Ohio Mass Shooting


Mass shooting victims in Ohio are considering a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a 100-round magazine that was used in the attack. According to a lawyer familiar with the case, the 100-round magazines are only useful for two things: War and mass shootings. Nonetheless, lawsuits against gun and gun component manufacturers tend not to go anywhere. The manufacturers have broad-scale immunity from lawsuits in which their products were used to injure other people. The company is accused of negligence, negligent entrustment, and public nuisance.

Will this lawsuit be successful? 

Gun manufacturers have broad immunity against civil lawsuits. However, there are some exceptions that permit some lawsuits to move forward. As an example, if a gun vendor knowingly entrusts a dangerous felon with a weapon, the gun vendor can be sued by a victim of a gun crime committed with that gun. Knowingly selling a gun in violation of federal law is considered negligence per se. Other lawsuits involving product liability or defectively working guns are still permitted to move forward.

In this case, the injured victims and the estates of the deceased are suing the manufacturer of a 100-round magazine used in the mass shooting. Nine people died in the shooting while 17 others suffered injuries.

While the gun manufacturer owes a duty of care to their own customers to ensure that the guns and gun-related products they produce are not defective or unsafe, they do not owe a duty of care to third parties who are injured because their gun has been used to break the law. Since the gun manufacturer did not break the law themselves, the lawsuit will likely be dismissed.

In some cases, however, it’s worth the effort of filing the lawsuit as a challenge to already-existing law. In this case, the law is the PLCAA (Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act). The law protects the gun manufacturers so long as they follow the terms of the PLCAA. Several Constitutional challenges have been made against the PLCAA without a single one of them ever being successful. So, the likelihood that this is the case that breaks through and flips the script is quite low.

Specific challenges to the PLCAA involved identical claims to the ones the plaintiffs are making against the manufacturer of the 100-round magazine. Specifically, they are claiming relief under the public nuisance doctrine. So, it’s the same strategy that has backfired in the past. While drawing media attention to a serious problem is usually a good thing, the divide on guns and gun rights is such a controversial wedge issue, that media attention may not do any good for the plaintiffs.

Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney 

If you’ve been injured due to a defective product or any other form of negligence, call the Tampa personal injury attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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