High Court rejects challenge to gun law

December 15, 2009 4:35:30 AM PST
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the current gun law. The family of a boy who was shot to death was fighting a law that protects gun makers from lawsuits by shooting victims. But the court refused to hear an appeal from the uncle of a boy accidentally killed by a friend. The suit claimed the gun did not have the proper warnings or safety mechanism.

Family members say they're frustrated and believe there has been no accountability for the shooting death of the 13-year-old. They say the juvenile who shot him was charged but served no time and they believe the manufacturer of the gun should share responsibility. The Supreme Court disagrees.

The 13-year-old victim was visiting a schoolmate at home eight years ago. His friend, also 13, the son of a Cook County sheriff's officer, got hold of his father's service weapon, removed the magazine but failed to realize there was a bullet in the chamber.

"I guess he was trying to take it from him and the kid, thinking it was safe, pulled the trigger and shot him in the stomach," said Hector Adames, victim's uncle.

Josh Adames died from the gunshot. It was devastating for his family who dealt with the murder of Josh's mother several years earlier, also from a gunshot. They filed suit against the handgun manufacturer, Beretta, claiming there should have been a safety disconnect and warning indicator that would have alerted the user of a bullet in the chamber. The case worked its way through the Illinois court system with the Illinois Supreme Court ruling against them. And now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case, they are out of legal options.

"Children are being killed every day, and they put the importance of protecting gun manufacturers over the lives of children," said Adames.

Constitutional law experts disagree. Walter Maksym represents gun owners but says this case was more about operator error than Beretta.

"The fact is that there was a young man who took that gun, pulled the trigger and pointed it and that is the hard reality," said Walter Maksym, constitutional law expert.

Josh Adames was about to enter high school. He planned to play on the basketball team. His death is still an open wound for the family.

"The pain is unexplainable. You can't even put it into words," said Adames.

Josh Adames was living with his uncle Hector at the time he was killed. Hector Adames, Junior says he used to own guns and he's not trying to keep other people from owning guns. But he wants to send a message that gun owners need to keep them locked up and out of reach.


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