Victims of a 2018 shooting in Toronto, Ontario, are suing Smith and Wesson, the company that manufactured the shooter’s gun. Their claim is that S&W didn’t incorporate smart technology that could have prevented the shooting.
On July 22, 2018, a shooter opened fire on a restaurant and killed a 10-year old girl and an 18-year old woman. Thirteen others were also injured in the attack. The Guardian reports that the man’s handgun had been stolen from a gun dealer in Saskatchewan, two provinces and at least 1,500 miles away. There were at least 24 handguns stolen that day, according to Global News.
Shooter Was Mentally Ill
Global News reports in an anonymous interview with a former teacher that the shooter aspired to kill someone.
“Ten years ago when he was in my class, and I asked him what does he want to do he said to me, ‘Oh I want to kill someone’ and I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Why? What did they do to you?’ he said, ‘Oh nothing, I just feel it would be really cool to kill somebody. [sic]'”
The police had investigated him 3 times in the past regarding his mental health. His own family released a statement saying he had been ill for a long time.
“We are utterly devastated by the incomprehensible news that our son was responsible for the senseless violence and loss of life that took place on the Danforth,” the family said. “While we did our best to seek help for him throughout his life of struggle and pain, we could never imagine that this would be his devastating and destructive end.” He killed himself during a shootout with the police.
Brother Was A Drug Trafficker With Guns
The shooter’s older brother has been arrested for drug trafficking, according to Global News. He was arrested in Saskatchewan, the same province where the handgun was reportedly stolen. At the time of the shooting, the older brother was in a coma following a drug overdose in Toronto. When paramedics responded to save him, they alerted the police about a suspicious substance in the house.
The police found 42 kilograms (92 pounds) of the extremely potent carfentanil. They also found 33 guns and charged his roommate with 337 firearm-related offenses.
It was easy for the shooter to acquire a firearm to commit the shooting.
But It’s S&W’s Fault
Despite the shooter’s mental illness and easy access to firearms, the class action suit against Smith & Wesson claims it’s the manufacturer’s fault for not making their firearms safer. They say the problem is that S&W didn’t incorporate smart-gun technology that would keep the shooter from firing the stolen pistol.
In a video interview, the plaintiffs argue that firearms without smart-gun tech are like cars from the ’70s that lack seat belts and safety glass. They believe that their lawsuit will ultimately force gun companies to embrace smart-gun technology.
But it’s more like forcing all automobiles to be equipped with interlock devices that prevent users from driving while under the influence. Unfortunately though, whether its interlock devices or personalized firearms, the tech isn’t foolproof.
There are numerous workarounds that allow those with criminal intent to circumvent the block. For example, a drunk could have a sober buddy blow into his car’s breathalyzer to get it started. And, one can easily hack a smart gun with a magnet, as GunsAmerica previously reported.
Point is, crime is a people problem– not a product problem. The perp who killed those patrons at a restaurant in Toronto is responsible for the act, not the gun nor its manufacturer.