A seven-year-old lawsuit in New York is coming closer to possibly affecting popular firearms manufacturer Hi-Point. The company has claimed exemption from the suit under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, but this exemption was recently turned over by a New York court, allowing lawyers for Daniel Williams to pursue Hi-Point.
The Daniel Williams Case
New Yorker Daniel Williams was shot almost a decade ago, and is now suing the manufacturer of the gun he was shot with-- for being shot. He claims that Beemiller DBA Hi-Point, and their distributor MKS Supply, are culpable for his injuries. His legal team contends that the company sold the guns to a known supplier or straw-dealer that turned around and sold them on the streets of New York State. The dealer wound up buying and illegally reselling no less than 141 of the 180+ Hi-Points they bought legally.
Many feel that the logic of going after Hi-Point is a stretch in the case attempting to lay the blame on the manufacturer. Judge Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, in an interview on the case as a political and senior judicial analyst said that this case could set a dangerous precedent in that it is trying to find culpable a defendant who is so far removed from the actual crime. He asked, "Should General Motors have to pay for every automobile accident because one of their cars ends up in the hands of somebody who is a lousy driver?"
Another red flag in this lawsuit is that it is being paid for not by a local attorney to Williams, but by Washington, D.C.-based Brady Center. The Brady Center, as you may know is the same Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence that helped bring you Handgun Control Inc., the federal Assault Weapons Ban, STOP, and other neat pieces of legislation.
Hi-Point's Take on the matter
An excellent article by Rachel Dissell of the Cleveland Plain Dealer gives a good interview with Tom Deeb, the owner of Hi-Point. In the article Deeb is quoted as saying that "the Brady Center is misguided in targeting his company, he said. More than any other gun manufacturer in the world, Deeb said, he has shown a commitment to keeping his product out of the hands of criminals -- an effort that has been widely recognized by law enforcement officials."
In fact, Deeb personally and Hi-Point in general has been presented with multiple awards from firearms examiner association, law enforcement groups, and others for their assistance with their efforts to investigate crimes. The company regularly offers training to crime scene and forensics personnel to help them identify firearms used in the commission of criminal acts. These are hardly the acts of one who would provide illegal arms to those who would cause mayhem.
Hi-Point pistols are claimed to be used disproportionally in crime. While this may be true, it should also be realized that Hi-Point pistols are the most affordable handgun currently in production on the market. This fact has made Hi-point the number 4 manufacturer in the country in terms of pistols sold according to the ATF. With so many of these inexpensive firearms in the hands of citizens, of course the number of those stolen in burglaries of homes and autos will be disproportionally higher. Furthermore, if you are a straw buyer who was given $150 to buy a firearm for your buddy who can't legally get one, there aren't many options-- thus illustrating the gun's popularity.
This same factor, low price and reliability, also show why the humble Hi-Point the only effective means that those who only have $150 to devote to a firearm to save their family, is so popular. There is nothing in the Second Amendment that says you only have a right to buy an expensive gun.