With all the recent talk about gun control and rights in California, it has brought to light the legal concept of liability. Gun manufacturers are in a unique situation. They sell a product that is designed to kill and harm, so if the product works as intended, it will kill or harm. However, at the same time, the product can be used to kill and harm in an illegal way. National Public Radio explains the complex situation when it comes to the liability of gun manufacturers.
The short answer is that gun manufacturers are liable for the products they make. However, they do have certain legal protections that are not offered commonly in other industries. As any other products sold in any other industry, if a gun is defective and the defect causes injury or death, then the gun manufacturer is liable. If, on the other hand, a person misuses the product and causes death or injury, it is that person that is liable, not the gun manufacturer. This is similar to the manufacturers of knives or cars, both of which can also be used to harm or kill.
The idea of making gun manufacturers responsible for how their product is used can open a whole can of worms for other industries. It could open the door for people to sue other companies, such as knife and car manufacturers, when people use their products and hurt someone else. It is not something that is likely to happen because the law holds people responsible for their own actions. This information is for education and is not legal advice.