LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments in the case of a Route 91 Harvest festival victim, ruling that gun manufacturers and distributors are not responsible for the actions of the shooter.
The estate of Carrie Parsons sued, alleging that the manufacturers of the AR-15 assault rifle knew the weapon could be easily modified — effectively converted into an automatic weapon with the use of a bump stock. That claim, as well as protections in Nevada law for gun manufacturers, were the main issues in the lawsuit.
The AR-15 was one of many weapons used in the attack that left Parsons and 57 others dead at the country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip the night of Oct. 1, 2017. The deaths of two additional victims have been attributed to the shooting, bringing the death toll to 60.
Justice Kristina Pickering, writing the unanimous decision of the court, said Nevada law’s protections for gun makers stand because the deaths were not the result of a manufacturing defect.
Colt, the company that makes the AR-15, was sued along with more than a dozen other defendants.
“We hold that NRS 41.131 provides the gun companies immunity from the wrongful death and negligence per se claims asserted against them under Nevada law in this case,” Pickering wrote in Thursday’s ruling.
“We in no way underestimate the profound public policy issues presented or the horrific tragedy the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting inflicted. But this is an area the Legislature has occupied extensively,” Pickering wrote.
“If civil liability is to be imposed against firearm manufacturers and distributors in the position of the gun companies in this case, that decision is for the Legislature, not this court,” she wrote.
“We urge the Legislature to act if it did not mean to provide immunity in situations like this one. But as written, NRS 41.131 declares a legislative policy that the Parsonses cannot proceed with these claims under Nevada law,” Pickering wrote.