NEW YORK. After the deadly and tragic shooting in Las Vegas, many people across the country are asking how we can increase gun safety, stop guns from getting into the wrong hands, and make better gun control laws. According to the New York Times, gun laws in New York City are among some of the strictest in the United States. Gun storage rules are exacting. Yet, even with strict storage laws in place, accidents can happen.
According to the New Republic, in 2014 alone, there were 1,500 accidental shootings. When these accidents result in injury or death, it can be difficult for families and victims to seek justice either through the civil courts or through criminal courts. There are many laws in place that protect gun sellers and manufacturers from negligence when guns are used to kill or when accidents happen. However, when it comes to individual gun owners, victims and families have the right to pursue claims when gun owners are negligent.
Tort laws vary from state to state. Whether you can pursue a claim against a gun owner for an accident that takes place with his or her gun depends largely on where you live. Is leaving a loaded gun in the open an act of negligence? Under New York City’s gun laws, it would be. However, in some states where the gun lobby fights for less regulation, a person might not be found negligent, even if a child got his or her hands on the gun and accidentally shot someone.
However, lawsuits involving accidents with guns tend to be difficult. Some courts are reluctant to hold gun owners liable because they don’t want their rulings to set precedents on gun control. Some of the cases can be complex. For example, is a gun owner liable if his gun is stolen and then used in a crime? Is a gun owner liable if he puts his gun in a place where it can be accessed by someone with a criminal record?
While it is unlikely that gun owners will be held criminally negligent in cases where guns result in deaths, families and victims do have the right to seek compensation from gun owners when their loved ones are hurt in accidents involving improperly stored guns.
Disturbingly, children are involved in shootings more often than we’d like to believe. According to Newsweek, in just a two-year period, approximately 300 children under age 13 were responsible for acts of violence involving guns. There are currently no federal safe storage laws in place.
Until lawmakers take action to protect victims from accidental gun violence, these accidents are likely to continue happening. Antin, Ehrlich, and Epstein, L.L.P. are personal injury lawyers in New York who work hard to protect families who have been affected by another person or party’s negligence. If you have been hurt due to another person’s negligence or neglect, visit our firm at https://aeelaw.com/ to learn more about your rights and legal options.