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Counterpoint: Remington answers legal attacks.

(Editor's note: The January issue of SI featured an article in "Industry News" regarding pending litigation against Remington Arms and the Model 700. At Shooting Industry's invitation, Remington now presents a counterpoint to that article to give gun dealers a look at this issue through the eyes of the manufacturer.)

In its January issue, Shooting Industry magazine presented an article entitled "Lawyer's Newsletter Addresses Remington 700 Safety Problem," in one column on page nine. It is the view of the Remington Arms Company, Inc., that this article may have left the reader with mistaken impressions as to the safety of the company's products. The following information is intended to provide the reader with a more accurate synopsis of the situation, especially because product safety has been and continues to be one of the most important components of product manufacturing at Remington.

The text of the article primarily quotes from the "Firearms Litigation Newsletter." In actuality, the quoted material is from the Fall 1992 issue of the "Firearms Litigation Reporter," the official publication of the Firearms Litigation Clearinghouse, Washington, D.C., which is a project of the Educational Fund To End Handgun Violence.

The statements made in the Firearms Litigation Reporter are from a presentation made by Mr. Richard Miller, a plaintiff's lawyer, at the "Firearms litigation in the 90's" seminar. Mr. Miller has represented plaintiffs in various lawsuits against Remington, involving various firearms products and issues, including lawsuits which allege the accidental firing of the Remington Model 700 and Model 600 series centerfire bolt action rifles.

The statements made by Mr. Miller are, at best, grossly misleading and many are simply not true. In summary, Mr. Miller states that the Model 600 and the Model 700 rifles will fire on movement of the safety due to the design of the trigger mechanism. In support of his allegations, Mr. Miller criticizes the trigger connector, cites carefully selected portions of the text from the patent of Mike Walker on the fire controls, and states that Remington has known and has admitted that this design is defective but has not recalled the Model 700.

In truth, the trigger mechanisms of the Remington Model 700 and Model 600 rifles, while different, are both based on a fire control system that is safe and reliable, as proven by almost 3 million rifles produced and used in the field for over the past 30 years. Virtually any firearm ever produced, by any manufacturer, can be made to fire without a direct pull on the trigger if the firing mechanism is altered in some way. And, although Remington has examined rifles returned from the field that would accidentally discharge under some circumstances, it has always been due to alteration of the trigger mechanism, broken parts, or abuse, such as rust or an accumulation of improper lubricant.

In no case, has Remington ever seen a Model 600 or Model 700 rifle, properly used and reasonably cared for in the field, that would accidentally fire.

In 1979, Remington did recall all Model 600 series rifles and XP-100 pistols made prior to 1975 (those without the serial number prefix "A") for the replacement of the trigger assemblies, due in part to a deviation from factory specifications. Although the Model 700 trigger mechanism is somewhat similar to the Model 600 mechanism, there was no such deviation from specifications in the Model 700; and it was not recalled.

Remington does not believe and strongly denies that the design of the Model 600 or Model 700 series rifles is defective. As with any manufacturer today, Remington is faced with product liability lawsuits. These lawsuits are usually filed because there has been an accident which resulted in injury or death. There is, unfortunately, no firearms design that is immune to alteration or abuse. And there is no firearm that can prevent accidents caused by unsafe gun handling.

It is hoped that the information presented in the article will help the reader to get a more accurate view of information presented in this magazine's initial article in January of this year. Remington remains completely committed to manufacturing the best products available in this industry -- and safety is a major part of that effort.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Industry News; Remington Arms Company Inc.
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:May 1, 1993
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