A class action settlement involving the safety mechanism on some of Remington’s most popular firearms has officially gone into effect.
CNBC reports that the case’s future was decided when attorneys for the firearms manufacturer declined to pursue a Supreme Court appeal.
The agreement’s finalization means that owners of Model 700 and similar rifles can request free replacements of defective firing mechanisms. The settlement stipulates an 18-month claims period and only covers weapons which had faulty triggers.
About a dozen Remington rifles, including the Model 700, have been implicated in dozens of accidental deaths and hundreds of serious injuries. Critics of the company have claimed that some rifles were capable of firing without any trigger input.
Remington still says its firearms are safe.
Eric D. Holland, lead attorney for the class of plaintiffs, says he encourages anyone who has a qualifying gun to turn it back in to Remington.
“Anyone with one of these guns should take advantage of this opportunity to get the trigger fixed,” Holland said. “I’ve encouraged everyone to put these guns away. Don’t use these guns. Make the claims now.”
Prospective claimants can visit a special website or call 1-800-876-5940 for information on how to file.
Remington, reports CNBC, said it opted to settle in order to avoid protracted and potentially expensive litigation. Declining sales prompted Remington to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2018. UPI.com notes that survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting also sued Remington. They held the company responsible for selling a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle to the now-deceased shooter.
A combination of lawsuits, public pressure and buyout speculation led Remington to claim insolvency.
Remington has since regrouped but retained the settlement terms throughout its bankruptcy proceedings.
Holland said Remington’s insistence that its guns are safe meant seizing the opportunity to secure a fair settlement was imperative.
“Both sides had things to talk about just like in any settlement, but here I believe Remington did the right thing,” he said. “They stepped up and they offer a trigger to anyone who has one of the many, many thousands, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of guns that are still out there. And I encourage people to get those guns fixed.”
The settlement was in part prompted by the death of 9-year old Gus Barber, who was killed in a 2000 hunting accident. The boy’s father, Richard Barber, filed a wrongful death claim against Remington, saying the firearm went off without a trigger ever being pulled.
Barber’s long been historical of the proposed settlement, saying it doesn’t go far enough. Nevertheless, he’s backed Holland in suggesting that Remington owners take their guns in repairs.
“Why should somebody take a chance endangering the lives of their family members and friends, just because it may inconvenience them, that they may have to use a different rifle?” Barber asked.