A Texas attorney retained by the family of one of the 49 victims of the Islamic terrorist attack at Pulse nightclub will attempt to claim that semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull) firearms are more deadly than machine guns as he attempts to sue the manufacturers of the firearms used in the attack:
Let’s go over his fantastical claims point-by-point:
In the wake of the horrific massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Bob Hilliard, Founding Partner at Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales, LLP, has announced that he has been asked to represent the family of a victim of the Orlando shooting. Mr. Hilliard intends to file a lawsuit against Sig Sauer, Inc. and Glock Inc., the gun makers that manufacture and market the military-style weapons used by shooter O___ M___* in what is believed to be the deadliest mass slaughter in U.S. history.
Mr. Hilliard may want to invest in a history book, because as horrible as the terrorist attack was, it doesn’t even rate in the top ten massacres in our nation’s history. The Oklahoma City Bomber killed 168 in 1995, and wounded more than 680 other people. The “Red Summer” race riots of 1919 killed hundreds and wounded thousands, with somewhere between 100-250 killed near Elaine, Arkansas alone. The Greenwood Massacre in Tulsa two years later saw up to 300 killed and 800 wounded. This isn’t even the deadliest Islamic terrorist attack in the United States this century.
Hilliard then goes on to briefly mention the life of his client before making some truly absurd claims.
SIG SAUER MARKETS ITS MCX AS “THE FIRST TRUE MISSION-ADAPTABLE WEAPON SYSTEM”
Sig Sauer commercially released the MCX assault rifle in 2015.
Sig Sauer aggressively marketed its weapon as the next generation AR-15 assault rifle “Eclipsing everything that has come before it”. In its 2015 catalog, the company boasts that it offers “battle tested experience to engineer the world’s toughest most devastatingly accurate pistols and rifles.” By design, Sig Sauer’s MCX enables the shooter to spray a large number of bullets over a broad killing zone, without the need to aim at each specific target, with detachable ammunition magazines that can hold as many as 100 rounds. Most experts agree semiautomatic weapons are arguably more lethal than the automatic weapons used by the military because semiautomatic fire is more accurate.
Hilliard claims that the MCX is designed to “spray a large number of bullets over a broad killing zone, without the need to aim at each specific target.”
Hilliard then lifts VPC’s absurd claim that semi-automatic firearms are “arguably more deadly than military versions, because most experts agree that semiautomatic fire is more accurate” verbatim. He directly contradicts himself from one line to the next, but isn’t educated enough about what he’s talking about to know the difference.
He then turns his attention to Glock.
GLOCK ADMITS ITS GUN IS “DESIGNED FOR PROFESSIONALS.”
The Pulse killer also used a Glock 17 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Glock boasts that its semiautomatic pistols are “used in more than 50 elite military units worldwide.” http://30th.glock.com Glock specifically designed the Glock 17 9mm for use by the Austrian military, yet aggressively marketed it for use in American civil society. Glock admits that the gun is “designed for professionals” and is “just what you need in high-pressure situations.”https://us.glock.com/products/model/g17 That message reached the Pulse killer, who used it just as Glock intended.
To date we have not heard of any evidence released by police which suggests that the Islamic terrorist fired his handgun at any point during the three-hour massacre. He either has information no one else does, or he’s grandstanding. I’m willing to place my bet on the latter.
Please note that Glocks are functionally no different than any other semi-automatic pistol sold in the United States.
Hillaird’s “press ready” quotes are simply sad.
“Our country banned assault rifles for years and years. Since the ban expired in 2004 innocent citizens of our country, young and old, have become and will continue to be victims of slaughter. No one is immune from being cut down by the same type of military-style weapon that was once illegal in the US. Millions of Americans want assault weapons banned outright—57 percent currently support a federal bill to do so.
If Hilliard had done his legal homework—he clearly hasn’t—he’d know that actual, selective-fire assault rifles have not been manufactured for precisely 30 years, since President Reagan signed the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) into law in 1986.
If Hilliard had done his legal homework—and again, he clearly hasn’t—he would know that the “assault weapons ban” in the 1994 crime bill singed by Bill Clinton banned the names of some firearms, and some cosmetic features of others.
The image above clearly shows Hilliard’s idiocy. The rifle on top is a ban-era AR-15 variant, manufactured and sold by any number of manufacturers throughout the life of the 1994-2004 law. The AR-15 on bottom was manufactured both before and after that time period. The difference between them is minimal: a flash hider, bayonet lug, and multi-position stock.
Both rifles were legal to own, sell, possess, and shoot during the so-called “ban,” as were the millions of standard capacity magazines sold. They were never illegal.
And it gets more aching wrong from there.
The National Firearms Act of 1934 protected Americans by regulating the machine gun. A 1934 machine gun is no match for a 2015 Sig Sauer MCX, yet the MCX and similar military-style weapons are now used for mass slaughter in our elementary schools, our colleges, our churches, our restaurants our theaters and our nightspots. The MCX is perfectly and intentionally designed to quickly kill masses, and in that regard, the shooter gets exactly what he paid for.”
Hilliard doesn’t seem to grasp that machine guns are still legal to own, and that there nearly a half-million of them in civilian hands, with almost 176,000 of them available to citizens who have a clear background and live in one of the free states. His assertion that one of these machine guns is “no match” for the MCX is merely another amusing display of his lack of knowledge of the subject.
“As we now mourn the senseless act of violence perpetrated against the LGBTQ and Latino communities, many of them killed by the Sig Sauer MCX and a Glock semiautomatic pistol, which fired off multiple shots in seconds and ultimately claimed 49 young lives and injured 51 others, our nation must act to ensure that the heartbreak and devastation will not ever occur again.
The past has already borne sad witness to the assault rifle slaughter of our children in Newtown. We must forge ahead, honoring their memory by carving out a safer future by holding manufacturers to account for their product designs and marketing – just as we as a society hold all other manufacturers to account for their products and marketing.”
Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter. Hilliard is attempting to do an end-run around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) by making the same “negative entrustment” argument as the huckster suing Remington over the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Hilliard is hoping that he’ll find a judge that will do an end-run around PLCAA and allow Sig Sauer, Glock, and other gun companies for marketing firearms that they don’t like.
And yet, he blathers on.
“As long as these weapons are specifically designed to shoot dozens of rounds in seconds, then it simply becomes a matter of luck and timing. If your luck runs out and you or your family are in the same place at the same time where these military weapons are being used, then innocent lives are lost and families grieve, end of conversation.
Then, after those who never believed that they would die from military weapons are put to rest in quiet cemeteries in towns across this country, the same scene follows that has sadly been accepted as part of our nation’s fabric: the families of the victims come together with those that may one day be victims and in a collective voice of protest insist on common sense change. Yet, year after year, tragedy after tragedy, these grieving voices of reason are shouted down, drowned out by the politicians paid by the gun industry and its association, the NRA. The response is never nuanced: ‘2nd amendment! 2nd amendment!’ Then the cycle is repeated.”
“More than half of mass shooters in the United States used assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, guaranteeing the highest kill rate in the shortest period. Yet, manufacturers have not yet been held to account for their design and marketing decisions.”
Again, selective-fire military assault rifles have been outlawed for civilian manufacture since May of 1986.
Hillaird’s claim that “More than half of mass shooters in the United States used assault weapons and high-capacity magazines” is, as you probably suspected, a bald-faced lie. Common handguns using standard-capacity magazines are by far the most common firearm used in rapid mass murders.
“Gun manufacturers annually sell more than $15 billion in arms and ammunition. We will rely on the judicial system to begin to treat Big Slaughter no differently than any other U.S. industry. The law is that if you intentionally build and sell an unreasonably dangerous product for profit you can be sued and must answer to a jury for the damages caused by that product. This is the bedrock of our judicial system, applying to every manufacturer of any product made. Guns are not, and should not be, any exception. The idea that Big Slaughter could be above the law is mind numbing.”
“Big Slaughter” is really falling down on the job. The violent crime rate in the United States keeps plummeting to levels not seen in generations, as do firearms accidents, and rifles of all kinds were used for criminal homicides in just 248 cases in 2014, in a nation of more than 322 million.
“Our constitution guarantees to every citizen a right to a civil jury trial for redress of wrongs. The gun industry refuses to police itself, preferring to rely on the protection of the politicians it pays and the association it funds. The innocent lives lost over decades have not yet and will not ever persuade them to demand safe gun legislation. American sons and daughters, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, all die, and Big Slaughter continues to sell these weapons. We intend to insist on all citizens’ constitutional right to their day in court against the industry.”
Mr. Hilliard doesn’t seem to grasp—and I suspect that he simply doesn’t care—that the firearms he’s whining about are the most popular sold in the United States among men and women of all ages because they accurate, low-recoiling, and endlessly customizable for a wide range of users and uses. These so-called “military-style” firearms (every firearm action type is “military style,” just from differing eras) are used for more than a half-dozen different kind of competitive target shooting, informal target shooting (plinking), training, hunting every kind of small and large game animal in North America, and home and personal defense.
I strongly suspect that Mr. Hilliard doesn’t give a damn about Miguel Angel Honorato, his family, or the other 48 people murdered by an Islamic terrorist, but is instead hoping that he open up an entire industry to frivolous lawsuits that will make him rich.
In the end, it’s almost always about money and power.
* Bearing Arms does not name mass or spree killers.