Since the horrific aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead, multiple lawsuits have been filed in response to the injuries and emotional distress that were caused, as an attorney like a personal injury lawyer can attest. However, these lawsuits filed by victims of gunshot and their families are facing several walls impeding their progress of entering the courts. One obstacle includes a 2005 federal statute protecting gun manufacturers and sellers from civil claims.
Among the lawsuits filed, at least two of them have targeted makers of the “bump stock” device. In the United States, it is illegal for an individual to be in possession of an automatic firearm. However, with the use a bump stock device, semi-automatic firearms are able to increase their firing rate to that similar to an automatic rifle. Stephen Paddock, the shooter responsible for the Las Vegas massacre, was found to have used the bump stock device on his weapons when he opened fire on the public from his hotel room. Another lawsuit includes a class-action brought forth by lawyers and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence for restitution from emotional distress.
Unfortunately, one potential obstacle of the victims’ lawsuits is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. This statute is a federal law that protects the rights of gun manufacturers and sellers against civil claims that involve victims of said seller’s guns. According to Georgia State University’s law professor Timothy Lytton “one possible issue is whether a bump stock is a gun component that is covered by the liability shield.”
The Student’s Lawsuit
One of the more prominent lawsuits brought by the victims of the shooting comes from the behalf of Paige Gasper, a college student who was injured after being shot and later trampled over as a result of the gunshot wound. Gasper’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against Mandalay Bay’s owner, MGM Resorts, for being negligent because the resort did not respond quickly enough after an officer was wounded by a gunshot by Paddock when attempting to enter the room. According to some police reports, there was a period of 6 minutes between the officer being shot and Paddock firing bullets into the crowd. Gasper argues that those 6 minutes were too long of a period and that the resort did not react in a reasonable manner. Furthermore, the lawsuit also brings in Live Nation, the organizer for the country music festival that Paddock fired into, claiming that Live Nation was negligent for not preparing enough emergency exits for its patrons.
The argument by MGM resort is that the police report for the timeline on the events before, during and after the shooting are still up for verification. Live Nation in response to their position in the lawsuit expressed their sympathies for the victims of the shooting