OMAHA, Nebraska. In the aftermath of the deadly gun shooting in Florida, lawmakers, activists, and even the students affected have been asking for common sense laws that would prevent people from accessing deadly assault rifles. Families affected by gun violence, from violence in Las Vegas to violence in Florida, have limited options when it comes to seeking personal injury damages to cover their medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. After the Las Vegas, shooting, for example, about half-a-dozen lawsuits were filed by families and victims, according to Business Insider. Yet, noticeably absent from the lawsuits are gun makers themselves.
Under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, it is very hard to hold gun makers and sellers legally liable for damage done by a gun. While it is still possible to sue a gun maker or a seller if the seller knew the gun would be used for a crime, the law puts a great burden on the victim and family to prove that the gun was sold with the intention to kill.
Most advocates of gun reform don’t want to curtail the public’s ability to purchase and own handguns. The current conversation is focused on bump stocks and on AR-15 weapons, in particular. A radiologist writing for the Atlantic explained why AR-15 wounds are different. A handgun injury usually results in a wound that follows the progress of the bullet through the body. If the bullet misses a crucial organ or blood vessel, then the person may have a good chance to survive if doctors can stop the bleeding. Wounds from an AR-15 are much more different. The speed of the bullet leaving the gun is much faster than a typical handgun. The bullet essentially pulverizes any tissue that crosses its path. Worse, it doesn’t just destroy tissue in the path of the bullet, but the impact radiates outward. A direct hit to any organ can destroy the whole organ completely. The radiologist wrote that patients arrived at the hospital, but doctors could do nothing to help them because there was simply no organ to repair.
Some families believe that AR-15 manufacturers should be held legally accountable for injuries victims sustain. Others believe that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act should be repealed. Doing so would hold gun sellers to high standards when they vet potential gun buyers. Others believe that companies selling AR-15s should not be allowed to market such a dangerous and deadly weapon to the general public.
Until the laws change in a meaningful way, many families will have fewer options when it comes to seeking compensation to covering their loved one’s medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. If you or a loved one was hurt due to the negligent, neglectful, or intentional actions of another person, you may have certain rights under the law. For example, if a car was driven recklessly, you can still pursue the driver for compensation. Individuals can also sue the perpetrator of a crime or their families if they permitted a person to gain access to guns when the person shouldn’t have had access. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the personal injury lawyers at Rensch & Rensch Law in Omaha, Nebraska today. Our firm is closely watching how the laws are changing and is here to help victims and families seek damages, when possible. Visit us at https://www.renschandrensch.com/ to learn more.