Tort Liability for the Negligent Storage of Firearms

negligent firearms storageAndrew J. McClurg, Armed and Dangerous: Tort Liability for the Negligent Storage of Firearms, 32 Connecticut Law Review 1189-1245 (2000).

Overwhelming evidence shows that high percentages of American gun owners negligently store their firearms, leaving them easily accessible to unauthorized, dangerous users. Public health studies show that millions of guns are kept loaded and unlocked. More than 50 percent of all handguns are stored unlocked. Ammunition is stored unlocked in between 30–40 percent of gun-owning households. Millions of children live in homes with loaded, unlocked firearms.

The author has argued in other articles for safe gun storage laws as a way to reduce accidental shootings, adolescent suicides, and intentional third-party shootings tied to stolen guns. This article makes a case that unsafe firearm storage constitutes an unreasonable risk and is negligent conduct under universally accepted principles of tort law.

1 comment to Tort Liability for the Negligent Storage of Firearms

  • Scott Hedrick

    I’d say that failure to properly secure a gun when it is not under active, authorized use (active, authorized use would be an active sporting event or gun show in which the owner is present and using the gun) should be a felony, and that the owner could be subject to the felony murder rule. Restricting legal gun and magazine types does not improve safety, because, by definition, criminals do not obey the law. However, a safe of the type seen in this video: is not unreasonable. It’s nearly as accessible as a gun in a nightstand drawer and far more secure. The gun is not the problem – it’s people who are the problem, whether a bad guy intent on doing harm or an owner who fails or refuses to properly secure the weapon.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
Learn more...

Funny Law School Stories
For all its terror and tedium, law school can be a hilarious place. Everyone has a funny law school story. What’s your story?

Strange Judicial Opinions
Large collection of oddball and off-the-wall judicial opinions and orders.

Product Warning Labels
A variety of warning labels, some good, some silly and some just really odd. If you come encounter a funny or interesting product warning label, please send it along.

Tortman! Andrew J McClurg
Tortland collects interesting tort cases, warning labels, and photos of potential torts. Raise risk awareness. Play "Spot the Tort."

Weird Patents
Think it’s really hard to get a patent? Think again.

Legal Oddities
From the simply curious to the downright bizarre, a collection of amusing law-related artifacts.

Spot the Tort
Have fun and make the world a safer place. Send in pictures of dangerous conditions you stumble upon (figuratively only, we hope) out there in Tortland.

Legal Education
Collecting any and all amusing tidbits related to legal education.

Harmless Error
McClurg's twisted legal humor column ran for more than four years in the American Bar Association Journal.