What does a gun company do when it has a top selling product with a trigger defect that's causing accidental deaths? Nothing, apparently, for decades.
That's the story of Remington Arms Co.'s Model 700 series rifle, which CNBC reports had a defective firing mechanism since it was invented almost 70 years ago. In fact, in 1989, the company's engineers met with its lawyers to discuss overhauling the mechanism so it wouldn't get jammed by debris, causing it to discharge without the trigger even being pulled.
It would be another 17 years, thousands more complaints and about 100 more lawsuits before Remington would finally put a new fire control for the Model 700 on the market. Many of those lawsuits blamed Remington for serious injuries, as well as multiple deaths.
Secret documents from inside the nation's oldest gun manufacturer show corporate attorneys heavily involved in multiple attempts by Remington engineers to develop a safer rifle. The apparent fear: changing the design would be seen as an admission of guilt.
Oh, yes, forget about preventable deaths—a change might suggest wrongdoing. But a cover up and more deaths—much better. That's the type of thinking that's responsible for at least two dozen accidental deaths and hundreds more injuries caused by the Model 700.
The recent revelations, newly reported by CNBC and forced into the public eye by the legal advocacy group Public Justice, come as Remington seeks to settle a landmark class-action suit that would require the company to replace the triggers on some 7.5 million guns.
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