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60,000 Fortress Gun Safes Recalled After Child’s Death

A person using the fingerprint feature on a safe

More than 60,000 biometric gun safes are being recalled over concerns that they can allow unauthorized access, federal officials said, citing a lawsuit that alleges a 12-year-old boy died from a firearm he got from a breached safe.

According to a CNN news report, the gun safes, which use body-specific information to grant access – were manufactured by Fortress Safe. They are being recalled after at least 39 reports of the safes being accessed without the correct fingerprints, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Details of the Recall

Brand names for the gun safes include Fortress, Cabela’s, Gettysburg, and Legend Range & Field. The CPSC said in a statement that even if consumers believe they have properly programmed the biometric feature, the defective safes may still remain in the default to open mode, which can allow unauthorized users, including children, to access the safe and remove dangerous contents, including firearms.

Consumers who have these gun safes at home are asked to stop using the biometric feature on recalled safes, remove the batteries, and rely on the key for recalled safes used to store guns, the commission said. Fortress Safe has also posted a tutorial on YouTube explaining how to disable the biometric feature.

A recall form can be obtained by going to the company’s website to request a free replacement. The recall includes safes purchased from January 2019 through October 2023 at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Scheel’s, Sportsman’s Guide, Optics Planet, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gander, Rural King, and Lowe’s, as well as on Amazon and eBay, according to the commission.

Child Accidental Gun Deaths

Child accidental gun deaths are a tragic and preventable issue in the United States. However, they occur with alarming frequency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from 2019, there were 175 unintentional firearm-related deaths among children aged 0-14 in the United States. These incidents primarily affect young children. The majority of child accidental gun deaths involve children under the age of 5, who may encounter firearms without understanding the danger.

The incidence of child accidental gun deaths varies by state, with some states experiencing higher rates due to differences in gun ownership and storage practices. One common thread in these statistics is that the vast majority of child accidental gun deaths are preventable through responsible firearm storage, education, and awareness.

Research published in June in the scientific journal Injury Epidemiology, looked at cases over nearly 10 years in which children under 15 accidentally killed themselves or another child with a gun. Most of the shootings occurred at the victim’s home, where in eight out of 10 cases, the gun belonged to an older relative. Over 40% of the time, these unintentional deaths happened among children ages 2 to 4, the researchers found.

Why Gun Safes Are Important

Gun safes play a crucial role in promoting safety and responsible firearm ownership. Their importance can be understood from various perspectives:

Firearm safety: Gun safes are essential for keeping firearms secure and out of reach from unauthorized users, particularly children, and those who should not have access to them. This significantly reduces the risk of accidents and incidents involving unattended firearms.

Theft prevention: Gun safes provide protection against theft. Storing firearms in a secure safe can deter burglars and prevent stolen firearms from entering the illegal market, contributing to public safety.

Legal compliance: In many states, laws and regulations mandate the safe storage of firearms. Complying with these laws is not only a legal requirement but also a responsible way to prevent the potential misuse of firearms.

Preventing unauthorized use: Safes can prevent unauthorized access to firearms by individuals who may be suffering from mental health issues or are otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms.

Protection of valuables: Many gun safes are built to safeguard not only firearms but also other valuable items like important documents, jewelry, and electronic equipment from theft and fire damage.

Child safety: Gun safes can save lives by ensuring that curious children do not accidentally discover and mishandle firearms. This is a critical aspect of responsible gun ownership.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Defective Gun Safe?

Product manufacturers have a responsibility to produce items that are safe for consumers. When a defective product fails to work as it is supposed or promised to work and causes injuries or losses as a result, the product manufacturer, distributor, retailer, and other parties involved in the chain of distribution could potentially be held liable for those damages.

Liability for defective gun safes falls under product liability laws, and it can involve various parties depending on the circumstances:

  • The manufacturer: The primary liability often rests with the manufacturer of the gun safe. If the safe has a design or manufacturing defect that makes it unsafe or ineffective in securing firearms, the manufacturer can be held liable for any damages resulting from the defect.
  • The retailer: In some cases, the retailer who sold the defective gun safe may share liability, especially if they were aware of the defect or provided misleading information to the customer regarding the safe’s security features.
  • The distributor: If a distributor was involved in the supply chain and the defect occurred during distribution, they may also be liable for the defect.

In cases where the defect results in harm, the injured party may have a legal claim based on negligence. This would require demonstrating that the manufacturer, retailer, or distributor acted negligently in some way, leading to the defective product reaching the market. An experienced product defect lawyer will be able to help victims and their families seek justice and compensation for their damages and losses.



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