Remington settlement finalized, trigger replacements in effect

A fan checking out a Remington rifle at the company’s booth during the 2018 NRA convention in Dallas. (Photo: Daniel Terrill/Guns.com)

More than 7.5 million Remington gun owners may want to consider replacing their triggers — on the company’s dime — after plaintiffs in years-long class action lawsuit gave up a protracted legal battle this week.

Critics of the contested settlement told CNBC its up to gun owners to take action over the next 18 months to replace potentially defective triggers.

“Anyone with one of these guns should take advantage of this opportunity to get the trigger fixed,” said Eric D. Holland, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the class action case. “I’ve encouraged everyone to put these guns away. Don’t use these guns. Make the claims now.”

Affected firearms include the Model 700 rifle, bolt-action rifle models Seven, Sportsman 78, 673, 710, 715, 770, 600, 660, 721, 722, 725, and the XP-100 bolt action pistol. Plaintiffs in the case insist a well-known design flaw — dating back to 1948 — causes the guns to fire unexpectedly without pulling the trigger.

Owners can submit a claim online for trigger replacement. For models too old for retrofitting, Remington is offering a voucher worth $10-$12.

The decision comes nearly 15 years to the day that nine-year-old Gus Barber died after his mother’s Remington Model 700 rifle fired as she was unloading it, striking and killing the boy. Gus’s father, Richard Barber, spent more than a decade collecting evidence against the gun maker and even advised plaintiffs in the case before resigning over differences with attorneys.

“I’d like to believe that I have a part in getting to this time and place in history,” he told CNBC. “I would like to believe that 15 years of my painstaking work in my detailed analysis of Remington’s documents, putting the pieces of the puzzle together, made a difference in my son’s memory.”

Court documents show engineers warned Remington of the defective triggers in the 1940s, before the firearms ever hit the production line. Executives later recalled Models 600 and 660 in 1979, but still insisted their firearms were safe.

Their defense, Barber says, is infuriating, though Holland suggests it would be hard to disprove in court -ultimately praising Remington “for doing the right thing.”

“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 offered 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.”

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