Move to Fire: A Family’s Tragedy, a Lone Attorney, and a Teenager’s Victory over a Corrupt Gunmaker

Michael W. Harkins. Story and Pictures, $14 trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-0-9965672-0-6
Harkins crafts a taut legal drama reminiscent of Jonathan Harr’s A Civil Action in this story of a heroic lawyer’s quest for justice for the victim of a defective firearm. Brandon Max was seven years old and living in Northern California with his mother and stepfather when in 1994 a bullet struck and paralyzed him. The firearm that caused the life-altering injury was a Bryco Model 38, which had a design defect: the safety needed to be disengaged before its chamber could be checked to see whether it contained any ammunition. Brandon’s parents’ initial attempt to sue the manufacturer went nowhere, but they get a second chance in 1999 when Brandon’s stepfather, Clint Stansberry, seeks out solo law practitioner Richard Ruggieri. After learning about the family tragedy, Ruggieri launches a seemingly quixotic lawsuit against the manufacturers of the weapon, an effort that lasts well over a decade and is complicated by the manufacturers’ efforts to evade responsibility by filing for bankruptcy. Harkins’s understated recounting makes a powerful argument that the government should have the authority to recall defective firearms. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 02/15/2016
Release date: 11/01/2015
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