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Victims of Danforth shooting file class-action lawsuit against gunmaker

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Dec 17th, 2019

Victims of a mass shooting in Toronto have filed a class-action lawsuit against U.S. gunmaker Smith & Wesson, alleging the company was negligent for failing to include “smart gun” technology in the handgun that was used in the attack.

A statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court on behalf of several victims of the shooting on Toronto’s Danforth Ave. in July 2018 alleges Smith & Wesson was aware of the semi-automatic pistol, which was previously reported stolen from a Saskatchewan dealer, was “ultra hazardous.”

It alleges the company was aware guns without systems to prohibit their use by people other than their authorized owners posed a likelihood of harm to the public because it made an agreement with the US government in 2000 to incorporate the technology into new gun designs, but then introduced the type of gun used in the attack in 2005.

The statement of claim contains allegations which have not yet been tested in court.

Smith & Wesson did not immediately respond when asked for comment by The Canadian Press.

The shooting in July 2018 left two dead and 13 injured. The shooter killed himself.

“It was reasonably foreseeable that the Defendant’s handgun products, like the handgun used in the Danforth Shooting, would in the hands of unauthorized users cause substantial harm to, or kill innocent third parties,” the statement of claim says.

“Statistics published by Canadian and United States authorities show a high rate of illegal handgun diversion and use of illegally diverted handguns to harm innocent third parties like Class members.”

The statement notes that while U.S. Congress passed legislation in 2005 that shields gun manufacturers and sellers from litigation resulting from unlawful or unauthorized misuse of a firearm, it says Canada has no such laws.

It says it will ask the court to certify three classes for the action: those shot and injured, or killed; other injured; and family members.

The claim seeks $50 million in general damages and $100 million in punitive damages.

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