Sharks are always attracted to blood and bottom feeders exist to scavenge the remains.
Today, little more Friday, less than a week after the Las Vegas mass casualty event, the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project in conjunction with Las Vegas class action law firm Eglet Prince plan to file suit in Clark County District Court against Slide Fire Solutions, LP, and other manufacturers and sellers of bump fire stocks. The case is being filed on behalf of everyone who attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert on October 1st. The suit will ask for both compensatory damages for the cost of counseling for emotional distress and for punitive damages.
From the joint press release, in part:
LAS VEGAS – October 10, 2017. A class action lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Clark County Nevada on behalf of victims of the deadliest mass shooting in American history that took place on October 1, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The suit, filed by Las Vegas law firm Eglet Prince and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, is against Slide Fire Solutions, LP and the sellers, manufacturers and marketers of “bump stock” devices which convert semi-automatic weapons to the functional equivalent of a machine gun.
This case is on behalf of all the festival goers who suffered emotional distress as a result of the shooting. The lawsuit asks the defendants to pay for the costs associated with counseling and other treatment for emotional distress. The lawsuit also asks the court to award punitive damages. The lawsuit alleges that such damages are appropriate for defendants who provided a product that turned a semi-automatic gun into the functional equivalent of a machine gun, thereby evading longstanding federal law.
The lawsuit asserts that Slide Fire Solutions, LP was negligent in developing and marketing “bump stocks” to the general public without any reasonable restrictions, thereby subverting federal law that has highly regulated machine guns for over 80 years. According to the Complaint, “this horrific assault would not and could not have occurred, with a conventional handgun, rifle, or shotgun, of the sort used by law-abiding responsible gun owners for hunting or self-defense.” The complaint goes on to allege that the damage caused to the plaintiffs, “resulted from the military-style arsenal that the defendants manufactured, marketed, and sold to the public, without any reasonable measures or safeguards.”
Representing the Plaintiffs are Robert Eglet, Robert Adams, Aaron Ford, and Erica Entsminger of the Eglet Prince law firm, and Jonathan Lowy, of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Brady Campaign & Center Co-Presidents, Kristin Brown and Avery Gardiner, released a statement regarding the impact of this case:
The people who attended the concert have suffered so much already. The physical injuries are staggering, and we know the emotional injuries can be equally severe and long term. Brady has decades of experience supporting the victims of gun violence and has been the only organization in the nation focused on seeking justice for them in the courts.
The announcement was made at a press conference on Tuesday, October 10th at 10:30 am PST by Robert T. Eglet of Eglet Prince and Jonathan Lowy, Vice President, Litigation of the Brady Center. The event was held at the law offices of Eglet Prince 400 South Seventh Street, Suite 400 in Las Vegas.
Beyond the obvious gun control political overtones of this case, Eglet Prince attorney Aaron Ford is also the Majority Leader of the Nevada State Senate. His campaign finance reports don’t indicate any direct contribution from either Michael Bloomberg or Everytown. However, Everytown and their PAC did contribute over $600,000 to the Nevada Democratic Party. The Eglet Prince law firm itself is a big donor to both Democrats and to the trial lawyers’ PAC “Citizens for Justice”.
The question is whether this case can go forward given the Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act. The Firearm Blog covered this in relationship to Gunbroker.com’s decision to not allow any further sales of bump fire stocks on their website. Gunbroker.com asserts that the PLCAA doesn’t cover the stocks. However, James Reeves who is an attorney and who writes for The Firearm Blog asserts the PLCAA does cover bump fire stocks but it is very questionable whether private sellers would be protected.
Is a bump fire stock a firearm product? While the courts will have to make the final determination, I’m going to side with those who hold that it is covered by the PLCAA.
If bump fire stocks are found to be covered by the PLCAA, then this case should either be moved immediately to US District Court or dismissed immediately. One would hope that the US Justice Department would file a motion in Clark County District Court asking that the case be moved to US District Court. Given the infestation of DOJ by the “deep state”, I’m taking a wait and see attitude on that. In the meantime, we need to keep a watch on this and similar lawsuits.
The full 30-page complaint can be found here.
UPDATE: According to stories in both the Las Vegas Sun and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the class action lawsuit was actually filed on Friday, October 7th.
Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign, was quoted saying she does not think the PLCAA applies.
Avery W. Gardiner, co-president of the Brady center and the gun control group’s former chief legal officer, said she doesn’t believe PLCAA will protect bump stock manufacturers. “PLCAA covers firearms and ammunition,” she said. “A bump stock is not a firearm and it is not ammunition. It does not qualify for immunity. I would be surprised if the defendants didn’t try to make a PLCAA argument, but they will not win.” Gardiner cited the 2010 letter sent by the ATF, which specifically states that the bump stock “is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm.”
That is an argument that is being made in the press who don’t know the law but I doubt will be made in court. Under 15 U.S. Code § 7903 (4), a qualified product under the PLCAA includes “a component part of a firearm or ammunition.” It can be reasonably argued that a stock – even a bump fire stock – is a component part of a rifle or carbine. Furthermore, Slide Fire Solutions LP and its founder, Jim Cottle, would qualify as a manufacturer and dealer respectively. Slide Fire Solutions LP holds a 07 manufacturer’s FFL and Mr. Cottle a 01 dealer FFL. Both are protected classes under the PLCAA.