A gunmaker promised one of its pistols sold in the U.S. “won’t fire unless you want it to” — but a new federal lawsuit argues that’s a lie.
The lives of experienced gun users, who are suing Sig Sauer, Inc., were “upended” by the company’s “dangerously defective pistol,” a complaint filed Nov. 30 in federal court in New Hampshire states.
Twenty plaintiffs named in the lawsuit became gunshot victims when their own Sig Sauer P320 Pistol fired unexpectedly, without the trigger ever being touched, according to the complaint representing the plaintiffs nationwide.
“These men and women were highly trained officers, veterans, and responsible and safety-conscious gun users who put their trust in Sig Sauer, unaware that the gun they used to serve was a danger to themselves and anyone around them,” one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, Robert W. Zimmerman, said in a news release on Dec. 1.
McClatchy News contacted Sig Sauer, which says on its website that it prides itself on selling weapons to global militaries, law enforcement and more, for comment on Dec. 4 and didn’t immediately receive a response.
Sig Sauer spokesperson Samantha Piatt told McClatchy News in a statement on Dec. 5 that the pistol “is designed to fire when the trigger is pulled” and added that “it includes internal safeties that prevent the firearm from discharging without a trigger pull.”
The company denied “allegations that the pistol is prone to discharging without the use of the trigger,” according to The Associated Press.
“There have been over 100 incidents (and likely multiples more) of the Sig Sauer unintentionally discharging when the user believed they did not pull the trigger, many of which have caused severe injury to the users and/or bystanders,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit, which demands a trial by jury, argues the company was aware of prior incidents of the guns going off without the trigger being pulled and cites several examples.
On one occasion, a Pennsylvania state trooper was killed when another trooper’s Sig Sauer pistol fired without him touching the trigger during a safety training in 2015, the complaint states.
The lawsuit called the pistol the “most dangerous pistol for its users sold in the United States market.”
“The only way to stop Sig Sauer from continuing to sell this dangerous weapon is through the courts,” another attorney representing the plaintiffs, Robert J. Mongeluzzi, said in a statement.
Those suing the company are from several states, including Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Washington and more.
Gun goes off in its holster
Many of the plaintiffs suing Sig Sauer were shot and injured by the P320 pistol when it randomly went off in their holsters, according to the complaint.
This includes a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who has had “extensive firearms training” experience, the complaint states.
During a training in Tennessee, her P320 pistol “suddenly and unexpectedly” fired “while in its holster,” causing a bullet to blast into her right hip in December 2020, according to the complaint. This resulted in blood loss, nerve damage, emotional trauma and more.
Another individual who also had prior experience with firearms training, was shot in both legs by his own P320 when it was in the holster on Nov. 7, according to the lawsuit.
At the time, he tossed a small wooden paddle onto a chair where his holstered pistol sat, the complaint states. Then, the paddle “incidentally” touched the pistol and it fired.
A bullet hit his right and left thighs, resulting in physical injuries and trauma, according to the complaint.
On another occasion, a Pasco County sheriff’s deputy in Florida was shot by his holstered pistol while putting on “his duty belt,” the complaint states.
He “never touched” the trigger and “did not intend to fire the gun” when a bullet hit him in the knee, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit goes on to cite several more examples of when plaintiffs were injured by the pistol without pulling the trigger. It seeks to recover damages and relief for the plaintiffs.
Sig Sauer is accused of negligence, a defective weapon design and unfair deceptive marketing practices, according to the complaint
More lawsuits against Sig Sauer on behalf of additional victims are expected to be filed, according to the news release.