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Remington Model 700 Rifle Implicated in Two Dozen Deaths, Investigation Find

Oct 21, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

The Remington Model 700 Rifle, one of the world’s most popular firearms, has been associated with 24 deaths and hundreds of injuries, according to an investigative report aired by CNBC.  condition 

A series of lawsuits filed against Remington claim the Model 700 has a dangerous propensity to fire without a trigger pull. Such lawsuits allege that the rifle’s trigger mechanism, known as the “Walker Fire Control,” is defective.

According to documents obtained by CNBC, on at least two occasions, the company considered – and then decided against – a modification of the original trigger design intended to eliminate inadvertent discharges. The company’s own calculations show that one of the fixes considered would have cost a mere 5.5 cents per gun.

For its part, Remington maintains that the deaths and injuries involving the Model 700 have been the result of improper modifications, poor maintenance or unsafe handling. That defense has helped the company win some lawsuits. However, as we’ve reported previously, the company has also paid out about $20 million to settle such lawsuits out-of-court.

One lawsuit, filed on by the family of a 9-year-old Montana boy who died in 2000 when a Remington 700 rifle inadvertently discharged, resulted in a settlement by which Remington agreed to modify certain older 700 rifles for a fee of $20, CNBC said. But the company has never issued a full recall for the firearm.

Apparently, even if the Model 700 is proven beyond a doubt to be defective, there is no way any government agency can force Remington to issue a recall, CNBC said. A federal law, passed in 1976 and upheld repeatedly in court, specifically bars the government from setting safety standards for guns, because of the Second Amendment. As a result, the gun industry is left to police itself.

At least two class action lawsuits currently pending are attempting to force Remington to recall the Model 700.

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