Statistics show that 34 million people are injured or killed after using a defective product. In fact, wrongful death resulting from the use of defective products surpasses the fatality caused by heart disease or cancer in people below the age of 37.
The number of annual wrongful deaths caused by a defective product was higher a decade ago. It was only through the concerted efforts of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other likeminded agencies that wrongful deaths subsided. The CPSC, with its ability to recall products, has made manufacturers accountable and responsible for their products.
Recently, a jury found that design defect in a riding lawn mower was responsible for the death of its 88-year-old owner. A connection between the lawnmower gas tank and fuel tank came loose, spraying gasoline onto the hot engine. The defective connection was located under the rider’s seat, which caused the owner to catch fire. The CPSC and the court were instrumental in the recall of the lawnmower, as well as the assurance that future riding lawn mowers were safe for consumers everywhere.
However, the CPSC has failed to demand the same level of accountability from gun makers. Up until now, no single firearm has been recalled, even after a number of models were shown to be defective and posed a clear danger to users.
Guns Are The Only Defective Products The Government Won’t Recall
The Food and Drug Administration continuously issues recalls for unsafe cosmetics, food, and drugs. The CPSC can recall anything from a defective teddy bear to a blender. The Department of Transportation can recall a line of defective cars. But the government can’t force a defective firearm from the market.
The gun manufacturers are the only parties who can do anything about a defective handgun or rifle. Furthermore, gunmakers are not required to implement safety features that would make firearms safer, as it routinely happens in other industries. That might be glim news to a lot of gun owners out there, but there is a speck of hope.
Technology Can Make Guns Safer
A group of dedicated researchers have been working on innovative ways to make guns safer. Using technology, the New Jersey Institute of Technology developed a smart gun grip that only fires when the owner pulls the trigger. The smart grip developed by the NJIT recognizes the owner of the gun 99% of the time.
If such technology was implemented in defective handgun models such as the defective Taurus pistols, the wrongful death numbers would have been minimized. Smart grip systems as well as other innovations the NJIT is working on, such as a mechanism to prevent a gun from firing when the magazine is removed, will save a lot of lives if they are implemented.
Other forms of technology that would make guns safer have been implemented in gun safes and gun locks. Experts frequently argue that to provide a way for choosing the best gun safe made easy, technology must be incorporated in gun safes. By incorporating biometric and RFID technologies in gun safes, it could be made so that it can only be opened by the owner.
However, if these technologies are to be implemented to make guns safer, gun manufacturers must be held accountable to the same standards as other consumer manufacturers. They must be legally obliged to include smart safety features on their weapons.