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NCJ Number: 92976 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Manufacturers' Liability to Victims of Handgun Crime - A Common-Law Approach
Journal: Fordham Law Review  Volume:51  Dated:(1983)  Pages:771-799
Author(s): H T Iveson
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis concludes that in proper circumstances a finding of liability on manufacturers of handguns used in crime is not only appropriate, but that a failure-to-do-so find may run counter to policies underlying products liability law and afford handgun manufacturers an unwarranted immunity from its application.
Abstract: No court to date has determined that the likelihood of criminal handgun misuse resulting from a manufacturer's unreasonable product design and marketing may provide a basis for finding a breach of its common law duty to provide reasonably safe products. A review of the interrelationship of handgun manufacturers' and dealers' statutory and common law duties suggests that tort law may be an effective means of reducing criminal misuse of handguns. Under general negligence principles, a manufacturer has a duty to design and market products reasonably safe for foreseeable uses. Handgun manufacturers may breach their duty in one of three ways: failing to warn and instruct a handgun dealer or purchaser adequately, negligently entrusting handguns to dealers or shippers, and designing a type of handgun known as the Saturday Night Special. To establish liability, the breach of the manufacturer's duty must be shown to be both the cause in fact and the proximate cause of the injury. The most problematic issue in finding the manufacturer liable is establishing that the design or marketing of the handgun was the proximate cause, since this standard requires that misuse be foreseeable. Strict products liability law applied to handgun manufacturers will result in the costs of injuries being transferred from the victim to the manufacturer and ultimately handgun purchasers. Furthermore, manufacturers will have incentives to reduce handgun misuse by making products that are reasonably safe. The article contains 171 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Common law; Consumer protection; Handguns; Legal liability
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