It’s been the subject of endless investigative reports, the allegedly defective trigger on the Remington 700 rifle. At any moment a judge will decide whether or not to accept the agreement Remington has made with plaintiffs in the case.
This is one of those cases where it’s hard to trust the media, due to the fact that they utterly hate all firearms manufacturers, but there is evidence indicating that some triggers are in fact defective. The scope of the problem is up for debate, but it’s hard to argue that the trigger system at issue is a good one.
Here’s the low-down on the case.
U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith of Kansas City said he’ll decide within 30 days whether to accept the settlement affecting 7.5 million Remington rifles.
Under the settlement, the company has offered to replace the trigger mechanism on most of its popular Model 700 rifles – if the owners ask for the retrofit.
But a Montana man who’s been fighting 16 years for a recall of the rifles, saying the trigger mechanism is defective and that Remington knew about it, has urged the judge to reject the settlement – as have attorneys general from nine states and the District of Columbia.
Richard Barber of Willow Creek, whose 9-year-old son, Gus, was killed in 2000 by a Model 700 rifle that fired without the trigger being pulled, during a family hunting trip, has filed objections to the settlement.
Barber says Remington should not be allowed to continue to say nothing is wrong with the rifles – a statement he says discourages gun owners from getting the defective product fixed.
At a hearing earlier this week, Judge Smith also noted that in the two years since the settlement was announced, only 22,000 rifle owners have filed claims – a claims rate of 0.29 percent.
CNBC reported that Smith said he’s concerned about the “exceedingly small” number of claims, because it seems “inconceivable to me that someone would have a firearm that might injure a loved one and not have it fixed.”
Barber also has said Remington should replace the trigger mechanisms on older Model 600 rifles, instead of offering only a $12.50 voucher for Remington products, as part of the settlement.
If Smith rejects the settlement, the case could go to trial.
Remington agreed to the settlement, but has continued to say publicly that nothing is wrong with its popular Model 700 and other 700-series bolt-action rifles. The settlement also covers some Model 600 rifles, the Seven, the Sportsman 78 and XP-100.
While the media has been using the case to paint the entire firearms industry as evil, it may actually be the case that some triggers are in fact defective.
If this judge rejects the settlement, it’s going to cost Remington a small fortune. However, ironically it may actually benefit the firearms industry if Remington gets hit hard financially over this lawsuit. That’s because gun control advocates would love to use this case to try to push new laws about manufacturer liability. If the existing laws work the way they are supposed to, progressives will have a tough time demanding new laws.