The Doctrine of Negligent Entrustment

When a shooter walks into a crowded place and wounds anyone in sight, the pain does not end when the physical injuries have healed. Texans who have had this experience or know someone who has can vouch for the reality that the emotional ache can go on and on.

Families from Sandy Hook Elementary School who have endured such suffering are working to make a difference for themselves and others. The New York Times sums up a lawsuit the families have brought against Remington, arguing the firearm producer “erred by entrusting an untrained civilian public with a weapon designed for maximizing fatalities on the battlefield.” 

According to Legal Reader, the doctrine, called “negligent entrustment,” typically applies in cases where drivers have injured others while driving recklessly or without a license. The families who are suing Remington hope the courts will eventually apply the doctrine of negligent entrustment in their case, too.

National Public Radio suggests it is a far stretch for any “lawsuits attempting to hold gun manufacturers liable.” Similar cases “have historically not been successful.”

Similarly, the NPR article argues, it is difficult to hold venues responsible for shootings that happen on their premises. The difficulty is proving owners or managers at a given event were aware of the impending danger but did not acknowledge it and did nothing to prevent it. 

NPR says that is simply very difficult to work around, especially when no one on the premises in any way participated or aided in the commission of the crime.