Remington has agreed to replace triggers on 7.5 million guns as part of a class action lawsuit settlement over rifles that can fire without pulling the trigger.
Most of the guns have a Walker Fire Control trigger assembly, which has been standard on Remington rifles since 1962.
X-Mark Pro triggers sold from May 2006 to April 2014 are also eligible for replacement. They were recalled because gunk left over from manufacturing could cause the rifle to fire unexpectedly, often just as the safety is turned off.
Nine states and D.C. are urging a federal judge to reject the proposal because less than 20,000 people signed up — approximately one-quarter of 1% of the total number of guns that are eligible for repair.
Massachusetts AG Maura Healey wrote that the number of claims was troublingly low for rifles with a potentially deadly safety hazard:
If approved, millions of the 7.5 million firearms that have the capability of firing without a trigger pull would remain unfixed – quite literally loaded guns that might go off accidentally at any time.”
Remington has been aware of the problem for decades. There have been over 2,000 complaints in the last four years alone. You can watch YouTube videos showing how the rifles can fire without pulling the trigger.
Over 75 lawsuits have been filed and dozens of people have died. The most recent case involves a Wisconsin man who was killed by his brother on a hunting trip.
In 1994, after a Texas jury awarded $17 million to a man who lost his foot after a Model 700 rifle misfired, Remington quietly started paying out-of-court settlements. Another $20 million has been paid since then.
Critics say the problem with the Walker Fire Control is an internal component called a “connector.” No other rifle manufacturers use this design. The only purpose of the connector is to make the trigger pull smoother.
The connector is not actually connected to anything. It sits on top of the trigger. Pulling the trigger pushes the connector forward and fires the rifle, but releasing the trigger does not push the connector back.
Here’s the problem: When the connector does not move back, it leaves a gap. Anything in the gap (dirt, rust, manufacturing debris, etc.) could cause the rifle to fire without pulling the trigger.
Remington re-designed the Walker Fire Control without a connector in 2002 and called it the X-Mark Pro, but continued selling both triggers. In April 2014, Remington recalled X-Mark Pro triggers because they could fire unexpectedly due to “excess bonding agent” left over from the manufacturing process.