Mark and Patricia McCloskey have become icons on the right. They provided a stark visual for many of just what the stakes are with the recent unrest in many of our cities. After all, the mob showed up in their front yard and they were prepared to defend themselves.
Can’t blame them for that.
However, it seems that The Trace wants everyone to know that these two new symbols of gun rights activism are really vile anti-gunners or something. After all, they sued a gun manufacturer out of existence!
The McCloskeys — now embracing their role as mascots for the gun-rights movement — will speak during the opening night of the Republican National Convention on August 24.
But their new profile ignores a significant chapter in their professional histories: The couple, who for decades ran a personal injury law practice in Missouri, litigated numerous cases against prominent gun manufacturers and contributed to the downfall of what was once America’s largest handgun maker. In fact, the handgun Patricia McCloskey brandished on June 28 appears to have been an exhibit used in one of those cases.
In several cases in state and federal courts, Mark McCloskey represented plaintiffs who had been injured by handguns manufactured by Bryco Arms, a gunmaker that became notorious in the late 1990s and early 2000s for producing low-quality pistols derided as “junk guns” by gun-rights and gun-control activists alike. Bryco’s products had a reputation for being used in crimes — and having design defects that lead to unintentional discharges.
One case, Chronister v. Bryco, ended in a judgment of more than $350,000 in 2001 after Mark McCloskey successfully argued that the company was liable for a defective design that caused one of its handguns to misfire in a man’s hand with the chamber open. The explosion left the plaintiff in the case with shrapnel in his face, hearing loss, tinnitus and temporary blindness.
While many of us take issue with some of the lawsuits we see leveled at gun manufacturers, almost no one would take issue with the case cited by The Trace.
You see, that lawsuit stemmed from a faulty design. Shooters were being injured by the guns, so a lawsuit was certainly warranted. What we get worked up about are lawsuits that try to blame gun companies for things that are beyond their control, such as suing them for the actions carried out by third parties using those companies’ firearms.
That’s not what this case is about, though.
Absolutely no one faults a lawsuit following an injury that resulted from faulty designing or manufacturing. So what if it killed Bryco? While Bryco made cheap guns that allowed low-income individuals to arm themselves, that doesn’t help if they get injured trying to use the things.
The Trace is bringing that up in hopes that it will cause alienation of the McCloskeys by the gun community and the right as a whole. However, it also shows that these supposed specialists in gun politics don’t even understand this side of the aisle well enough to get that there’s a difference between the lawsuit the McCloskeys won and, say, the lawsuit against Remington where they’re being blamed for Newtown due to their marketing materials.
In the process, they’re trying to also label the McCloskeys and us as hypocrites. Instead, they just make themselves look like idiots.