BBC NEWS Americas Gun firms pay out over US snipers
*Scratch head* my guess is that, sooner or later, gun manufacturers will have such a huge duty of care that the it would be unprofitable to remain in the industry and I can't quite say I'm sorry.
A gun is designed to hurt, maim or kill. Carrying it for protection is oxymoronic. If displayed, then the automatic reaction would be to incapcitate you or your weapon before hand. If conceal then the deterant effect would not be as high. Besides, most of the time, deaths by handguns/civilian assault rifles remain disproportionately between relatives or people with close relations. Hence that part about strangers become similarly moot. And of course, all those accidents at home because of curiousity (and in the case of Columbine High School, a death wish) on the part of children.
Legally though, I wonder if the victims would have won in court. Negligent distribution is a terribly odd case to make. Such a case could only be won if they had sold the weapons to distributors or retailers it knew were not up to, what, safety standards? And prima facie (on the face of the facts) it just seems terribly odd. I mean everyone knows what a weapon is for, it could hardly be the fault of the manufacturers for selling it to them: see Donoghue v Stevenson . Similarly for the distributors, if they had been compliant with state or federal law, then they could hardly be laible either could they? The alternative then would be that guns were fundamentally bad, in which case, that would be against the constitutional right to bear arms.
Ah well, a court case in the Supreme Court would have been interesting...