AD's and ND's covering defects by blaming shooters?

AD's and ND's covering defects by blaming shooters?

This is a discussion on AD's and ND's covering defects by blaming shooters? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Has anyone else noticed how when there is a claim of accidental discharge of a weapon all blame is put on the shooter? Then after ...

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Thread: AD's and ND's covering defects by blaming shooters?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    AD's and ND's covering defects by blaming shooters?

    Has anyone else noticed how when there is a claim of accidental discharge of a weapon all blame is put on the shooter? Then after assigning blame we act as though the problem is solved?

    If your weapon does go off due to a defect in manufacturing wouldn't you think the maker was at fault for the discharge? How does blaming the person holding the weapon fix the problem? Isn't that just sweeping the problem under the rug?

    Example: There was a famous rifle maker a number of years ago that made a rifle who some claimed could discharge a round without pulling the trigger. There were a few fatalities as a result. The debate then quickly divided into two camps.

    First camp said it could not have happened absolving the maker of all blame.
    Second camp said if the person holding the rifle had observed all safety rules no one would have been hurt. These people by saying that seem to imply that the gun maker is absolved of all responsibility because the shooter should have been more careful.
    Please tell me how either argument does anything to fix the problem of a possibly defective product? In our desire to protect our rights to bear arms are we opening ourselves and others to needless harm?

    I own one of the rifles I mentioned. It did go off without pulling the trigger. It was pointed in a safe direction so no harm was done, other than to my shorts. Are those who putting all blame on the shooter saying there is no need to fix the weapon? That the maker has no responsibility? I ask that because that is what they seem to be saying when someone is injured.

    Michael


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    Senior Member Array bbqgrill's Avatar
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    I think there has to be a specific pattern before we can make any assumption of manufactures culpability; notably, the same holds true with automobiles. As soon as reputable manufacturesrs identify product issues they take steps to correct the deficiency. For instance, I bought an early production Ruger P85 that had a recall for a problem with the decocking lever, in the mail today (seriously) I recieved a recall for my 2010 F-150.
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    For one, if all of the safety rules were being followed (most importantly the "don't point the firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy" rule) then no one would get hurt (as evidenced by your own "scare"). So, yes, even in those TRUE accidental discharge moments there is still some blame to be put on the shooter for not observing that one rule and allowing the firearm to be pointed in an unsafe direction.

    The only absolution I could give to the shooter would be if, per chance, the firearm were dropped or fell and fired and the bullet struck someone.. He wasn't holding the firearm and therefore had no control over where it was pointed and no modern firearm should fire when dropped.

    Second, true accidental discharges DO happen but they are very rare and, yes, blame or at least an inquisition should be put on the manufacturer in those instances. For instance, if the breach of a firearm explodes upon being fired with factory ammunition and no fault of the shooter then perhaps it's time to investigate what was wrong with the breach that things did not operate as they were supposed to.

    Now, if that breach failure was caused by a squib load that was missed or hand-loaded ammo that was not properly made then we have more to investigate and it's not entirely the manufacturers fault.

    There are manufacturers who take immediate responsibility for their firearms' failures. Ruger being such a company when they put out their two recalls for the SR9 and the LCP when it was discovered they could fire when dropped. If someone were to report here that they had an SR9 that they dropped and it fired and indicated that they had not sent it back to be retrofitted with the new trigger assembly then it is still the owner's fault for not fixing the known problem. If Ruger had never done the recall and he dropped it and it fired then, yes, blame would be on Ruger.

    On the other hand there are companies that do try to hide the faults in their firearms and have gone to the mattresses with owners trying to blame them for faults that ARE the manufacturers. Of course people are skeptical because, for the most part, modern firearms are safe and DO only fire when the trigger is manipulated and people are people (meaning they are generally liars) and try to blame the manufacturer for a mistake or careless moment that they had. Some are even devious enough to try to make a lawsuit out of it.. a sort of "get rich quick" thing.

    In this area guns and cars are very much alike. There will always be mechanical failures and there will always be stupid people doing stupid things... when people get hurt it is sometimes VERY hard to tell who is REALLY to blame.

    If you fail to check your breaks for 20 years and they fail and you crash into a school buss and kill two kids with your car whose fault is it really? The manufacturers or your own?

    If you never clean your gun and don't check to see the rust building up in the barrel and shoot it and it explodes in your face whose fault is it really? The manufacturers or your own?

    On the other hand.. If you are careful and responsible and observant of safety rules and your firearm does something it shouldn't then there is no reason why you should have to take blame upon yourself.

    For instance: I had a Kimber where you could rack the slide with the thumb safety on. That was NOT my fault.. it was a fault of the firearm. It would not fire but the slide shouldn't be able to move. So, I had the firearm fixed.

    Most manufacturer defects are "small" like that. They won't hurt anyone and the manufacturer will fix them quickly. But every once in a while there is a true accident that is big and it because a big question of who really made the ultimate mistake... the shooter or the manufacturer... and sometimes only God knows the truth.

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    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlr1m View Post
    Has anyone else noticed how when there is a claim of accidental discharge of a weapon all blame is put on the shooter? Then after assigning blame we act as though the problem is solved?

    If your weapon does go off due to a defect in manufacturing wouldn't you think the maker was at fault for the discharge? How does blaming the person holding the weapon fix the problem? Isn't that just sweeping the problem under the rug?
    Why? Because the majority of accidents and all negligent discharges are caused by the shooter. The issue usually involves said shooter having their finger on the trigger when it shouldn't be. Like lima said following the rule to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction would prevent the negligent discharge from hurting anyone.

    Modern designs for pistols using passive safeties such as firing pin block prevent the pistol from firing unless the trigger is pulled. Even if a firearm discharges for no apparent reason I would still put my money on operator error.

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razor02097 View Post
    Why? Because the majority of accidents and all negligent discharges are caused by the shooter. The issue usually involves said shooter having their finger on the trigger when it shouldn't be. Like lima said following the rule to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction would prevent the negligent discharge from hurting anyone.

    Modern designs for pistols using passive safeties such as firing pin block prevent the pistol from firing unless the trigger is pulled. Even if a firearm discharges for no apparent reason I would still put my money on operator error.

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    My problem comes from those who believe that safe firearms handling is the total fix to overcome a manufacturing or design defect. I do agree that nearly all accidental discharges are probably operator error but to use that to cover up defects is not in our best interest.

    Believe me I am not one to needlessly blame the maker. I come from the old days when if your gun went off when it was dropped it was your fault for not properly securing it. There was a reason my folks taught me to always have the hammer resting on an empty chamber in my single action revolver. Nor am I talking about slam fires which in most cases are ammo related.
    Some rifles with floating firing pins are prone to slamfires. They are completely safe when used as designed with proper ammo.

    What I am talking about is when there is an actual defect involved. Not someone testing the safety by applying 50 lbs of pressure to the trigger. Or dropping it on its hammer to test the hammer block.

    I believe it is wrong to claim, as so many do, that if the operator had observed all safety rules the accident would not have happened. In my opinion the accident happened as soon as the gun discharged. The fact that you did or did not hit anyone does not change that.

    Michael

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    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    Again the massive majority of accidents is caused by operator error. That is the reason the operator gets blamed.

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    My problem comes from those who believe that safe firearms handling is the total fix to overcome a manufacturing or design defect.
    Are there any such people? This has the whiff of a strawman rant to it.

    The AD/NDs we've normally seen are guys cleaning their guns or messing around with them and pulling the trigger and shooting their own damn stupid selves. Accounts of defective guns are exceedingly rare.

    In fact, in my time on my state board, this one, and High Road, I don't think I've yet once read about a gun that was mechanically defective in some way that led to an unintended discharge. Such things probably happen, but they are not frequent events drawing hordes of blind raving Internet trolls who lambaste the unlucky owner.

    That doesn't happen.

    And there is no evidence of some massive cadre of persons who seek to defend the manufactures of defective firearms. The consensus opinion, I would posit, is that every owner should assiduously follow the rules of safe handling. Doing so helps to protect you and others from injury even in the case of a defective gun.

    In almost every case where someone is accidently/negligently shot, the barrel of the weapon was pointed in an unsafe direction. Regardless of manufacturer culpability, this is something that the user has total control over. And, in any discussion of a firearm mishap, I for one am less interested in "blame" than I am in trying to figure out how the accident could have been prevented and what valuable lessons can be learned from the operator's misfortune.
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    Senior Member Array SFury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlr1m View Post
    My problem comes from those who believe that safe firearms handling is the total fix to overcome a manufacturing or design defect. I do agree that nearly all accidental discharges are probably operator error but to use that to cover up defects is not in our best interest.

    Believe me I am not one to needlessly blame the maker. I come from the old days when if your gun went off when it was dropped it was your fault for not properly securing it. There was a reason my folks taught me to always have the hammer resting on an empty chamber in my single action revolver. Nor am I talking about slam fires which in most cases are ammo related.
    Some rifles with floating firing pins are prone to slamfires. They are completely safe when used as designed with proper ammo.

    What I am talking about is when there is an actual defect involved. Not someone testing the safety by applying 50 lbs of pressure to the trigger. Or dropping it on its hammer to test the hammer block.

    I believe it is wrong to claim, as so many do, that if the operator had observed all safety rules the accident would not have happened. In my opinion the accident happened as soon as the gun discharged. The fact that you did or did not hit anyone does not change that.

    Michael
    The amount of times I've seen an actual defect cause a problem vs people being stupid is so overwhelmingly lopsided towards people being careless I have to have evidence proving the manufacturer is at fault. At least with the bigger name manufacturers that typically don't have serious safety issues that is.

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFury View Post
    The amount of times I've seen an actual defect cause a problem vs people being stupid is so overwhelmingly lopsided towards people being careless I have to have evidence proving the manufacturer is at fault. At least with the bigger name manufacturers that typically don't have serious safety issues that is.
    Agreed. I have the same belief. I am only referring to true defects in the design or manufacturing.

    Michael

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shockwave View Post
    Are there any such people? This has the whiff of a strawman rant to it.

    The AD/NDs we've normally seen are guys cleaning their guns or messing around with them and pulling the trigger and shooting their own damn stupid selves. Accounts of defective guns are exceedingly rare.

    In fact, in my time on my state board, this one, and High Road, I don't think I've yet once read about a gun that was mechanically defective in some way that led to an unintended discharge. Such things probably happen, but they are not frequent events drawing hordes of blind raving Internet trolls who lambaste the unlucky owner.

    That doesn't happen.

    And there is no evidence of some massive cadre of persons who seek to defend the manufactures of defective firearms. The consensus opinion, I would posit, is that every owner should assiduously follow the rules of safe handling. Doing so helps to protect you and others from injury even in the case of a defective gun.

    In almost every case where someone is accidently/negligently shot, the barrel of the weapon was pointed in an unsafe direction. Regardless of manufacturer culpability, this is something that the user has total control over. And, in any discussion of a firearm mishap, I for one am less interested in "blame" than I am in trying to figure out how the accident could have been prevented and what valuable lessons can be learned from the operator's misfortune.
    There have been numerous threads through the years about the Remington 700's AD's. Maybe it was on the old THR i'm not sure. I do agree with you that the emphasis should be on preventing the problem which is why I decided to open this discussion.

    Michael

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I had a true AD from a 1911 RIA 45 compact,it was accidently dropped from approximately 3 feet onto a tiled concrete bathroom floor,the firing pin spring from the factory failed to stop the firing pin from striking the primer and the gun discharged with the manual and grip safety engaged,I sent the Importers a message and I replaced the FP spring with a Wolff X-strong spring.

    It's very likely there were several factors involved,number one pistol was pulled from holster by shirt being caught,possibility of a soft primer that only required a light hit,gun hit perfectly square on muzzle end on surface with no give
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    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    Like anything else it is a gray area. Yes if it is a rifle and it is one shot one time the muzzle should be in a safe direction and yes they can slam fire or AD. But there are times that it is purely the manufacturer at fault Example:
    1. I am walking along and my CC discharges and puts a hole in my foot because the firing pin has a problem.
    2. You have a semi go full auto on you (when your not ready that can be a hard thing to control)
    3. Police officer has a suspect at bay with his gun drawn, His gun AD's with no finger on the trigger due to a manufacturing problem and the suspect is shot after he has stopped posing a threat.
    Yes we should try and always point the muzzle in a safe direction, but not all AD's and ND's are the shooters fault.
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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    I had a true AD from a 1911 RIA 45 compact,it was accidently dropped from approximately 3 feet onto a tiled concrete bathroom floor,the firing pin spring from the factory failed to stop the firing pin from striking the primer and the gun discharged with the manual and grip safety engaged,I sent the Importers a message and I replaced the FP spring with a Wolff X-strong spring.

    It's very likely there were several factors involved,number one pistol was pulled from holster by shirt being caught,possibility of a soft primer that only required a light hit,gun hit perfectly square on muzzle end on surface with no give
    As I mentioned in an earlier I would not consider this a defect of the handgun. If I drop a firearm I actually expect it to go off. I have had loaded rifles fall over and not got off. While I was greatly relieved It would not have surprised me if they had.

    Michael

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    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    I had a true AD from a 1911 RIA 45 compact,it was accidently dropped from approximately 3 feet onto a tiled concrete bathroom floor,the firing pin spring from the factory failed to stop the firing pin from striking the primer and the gun discharged with the manual and grip safety engaged,I sent the Importers a message and I replaced the FP spring with a Wolff X-strong spring.

    It's very likely there were several factors involved,number one pistol was pulled from holster by shirt being caught,possibility of a soft primer that only required a light hit,gun hit perfectly square on muzzle end on surface with no give
    I remember when you wrote about this. It gave me nightmares! I have done it without mine firing but as the gun falls that 3 feet (which I swear takes 45minutes in slow motion) It is the worst feeling in a world.
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    VIP Member Array rammerjammer's Avatar
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    My scariest gun experience has to be my Ruger MKIII going off at the range. I started a thread about it last year when it happended, but in short...

    I followed the 4 rules so no one was injured, but...

    The gun fired on its own accord. There was a failure in the sear and when I pulled the bolt back to chamber the first round, it slamfired and shot off 5 or 6 rounds (can't quite remember at the moment) in one loud sounding burp of full automtatic fire. My finger was off the trigger and my buddy who watched me the whole time can also confirm this. Then the pistol was so jammed up that after dropping the magazine and checking to make sure it was unloaded, it got put away for the day.

    It was sent back in to Ruger and it was fixed but that was a mechanical failure. No one was hurt because of the my following the four rules. The gun still malfunctioned but no real harm was done because the four rules were followed stringently.

    That is not to say that in other incidents can't involve guns going off on their own, but most of the time it is operator error.
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