Las Vegas, NV, 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.
Since 1986, the National Firearms Act ("NFA") has heavily regulated the sale of fully automatic guns, a.k.a. "machine guns," so they are not readily available to the US public. "Bump stocks" enable generally available semi-automatic firearms to simulate machine guns by greatly increasing their rate of fire. Based on reports, in the October 1 Las Vegas mass shooting, the number of lives lost and people injured and emotionally traumatized in 11 minutes -- a mere 660 seconds in which bullets hailed down upon them -- resulted from the shooter using "bump stock" devices. Numerous bump stock devices were found in the killer's hotel room.
Bump stock devices were created by Slide Fire Solutions, LP. In 2010 letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms Explosives, ("ATF") Slide Fire wrote that the bump stocks were intended to assist "persons whose hands have limited mobility." However, Slide Fire's inventor of the bump stock, in a 2016 interview with AmmoLand, Jeremiah Cottle stated later, that the bump stock was geared toward "people like me, who love full auto." The complaint alleges that plaintiffs are unaware of bump stocks actually being marketed or sold only to people whose hands had limited mobility. The complaint alleges that Slide Fire grossed more than $10 million in sales of bump stocks in 2010. According to Cottle, a semi-automatic rifle may cost between $800 and $1,200, while a fully automatic model can run more than $15,000. It was also asserted in marketing materials that the bump stock allows semi-automatic rifle to mimic the fire rate of a fully automatic rifle for a fraction of the price and without the legal paperwork. Slide Fire marketed its bump stock as a military-grade accessory for civilians, and sold for $100 to $400, depending on the model. Slide Fire has since suspended new orders on its website and disabled its "locate a dealer" section. Also, some retailers have stopped selling bump stock products after the shootings.
The members of the class action suit are seeking equitable relief in the form of a court supervised program for psychological monitoring for all the Class Members at the expense of the Defendants. Equitable medical testing will provide medical monitoring, testing and evaluation that would have been unnecessary had the Defendants not been negligent and conducted this reckless behavior.
A COMPLETE COPY OF THE COMPLAINT AVAILABLE AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE – INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.