WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- U.S. gun maker Kahr Arms will pay nearly $600,000 to settle a lawsuit in a fatal shooting involving a gun a worker took from its factory, the Brady Center said.
The non-profit Washington gun control lobbying group said in a release Tuesday the settlement is the largest damages payment ever by a gun manufacturer accused of negligence leading to the criminal use of a gun.
The Brady Center said it brought the case on behalf of families of a father of two daughters who was killed and another man who was wounded with a 9mm handgun taken from the Blauvelt, N.Y., company's factory in Worcester, Mass., by a drug-addicted employee.
"This settlement sends a strong signal to gun manufacturers nationwide that they will pay the consequences for their misconduct if they operate without regard for public safety," said Daniel Vice, senior attorney of the Brady Center's Legal Action Project. "There is much more that gun companies can and must do to prevent the supply of guns to criminals."
The family of Danny Guzman, who was killed Dec. 24, 1999, with the Kahr gun, alleged the company negligently operated its manufacturing plant without security or inventory controls and failed to screen its employees for drug addiction or criminal background.
The suit in Worcester Superior Court, which also was brought on behalf of Armando Maisonet, who was wounded in the shooting that killed Guzman, alleged the gun was taken by Kahr employee Mark Cronin, who was hired despite a record of drug addiction, alcohol abuse, theft and violence. The suit said Cronin stated he could take guns from the factory at will before they had serial numbers stamped on them, and that Worcester police Capt. Paul F. Campbell said Kahr's record keeping was so "shoddy" that weapons could be removed without detection.
Prior to the settlement, Kahr Arms had moved to dismiss the case, arguing it was shielded by the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act."
The Brady Center said Kahr Arms' chief executive officer is Kook Jin Moon, a son of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who founded the Unification Church and also founded News World Communications Inc., which owns United Press International.