Woman Sues Texas Gun Range for Hearing Loss. I SAID . . .

[HTML1]

Defensive medicine? How about defensive defensive gun training? While it’s not likely that lawsuits will drive up the price of running a gun range—business insurance isn’t particularly pricey for the firearms folk at the moment—it’s not inconceivable. And it won’t be for lack of ambulance chasing. To wit: “Upon learning of the women’s unfamiliarity with firearms, an Arms Room employee handed [Mary Buchan and an unnamed friend] a loaded weapon with the safety on and headphones and pointed the costumers toward the firing range,” setexasrecord.com reports . . .

“Buchan had her pair of headphones over her ears as she and her friend entered the gallery. The women then found their assigned place but the noise of shots fired in the neighboring lane kept increasing. According to the suit, the plaintiff “could feel the vibration of each shot ringing through her ears more than the shot before.”

Increasing noise? Sounds increasingly incredible to me. Moving on . . .

“The plaintiff reached atop her head for the headphones to push them inward against her face in an attempt to muffle the loudness of the weapon being fired,” it states.

“The plaintiff’s attempts to dampen the noise were not successful at all, which surprised the plaintiff.”

Ten minutes passed before the women exited the range.

They returned the gun to an attendant at the front counter and expressed that “the noise level inside the range was just too much.”

Buchan alleges the ringing in her ears remained days after her visit, adding she “was having an extremely difficult time hearing the world around her.”

“As a result of her trip to the gun range, the plaintiff sustained permanent hearing loss from the excessive noise level of the gun shots within the concrete walls,” the suit says.

The plaintiff later discovered that the ear muffs used at the gun range are electronic and have a volume control that must be turned down before any loud noises commenced.

I feel Ms. Buchan pain. My local range has a pair of smaller ranges whose db levels I simply can’t tolerate—even with my range-standard double ear protection. I know it’s not a legal concept or anything, but I reckon pain is mother nature’s way of saying something should be avoided (unless your last name is De Sade) or evaded as soon as possible. So . . . I don’t shoot at the aforementioned sub-ranges.

If Buchan’s story’s true, and methinks there are a few crucial details missing from this account, shame on the range for not supervising a newbie. But would I make a federal case out of it? Nope. Personal responsibility and all that. Then again, I’m not a lawyer. I only shoot with one on a regular basis. Note: I said “with.”

comments

  1. avatar Ralph says:

    I’ve heard rumors that guns are loud. True or false?

    1. avatar Michael says:

      And coffee is hot

      1. avatar Leo Atrox says:

        Good one!

        Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants

        It may be hot, but that doesn’t mean that the one who gave it to you doesn’t have liability for your stupidity.

  2. avatar Robert Farago says:

    Hearsay!

  3. avatar Rick Boatright says:

    I’ve never seen a pair of active earmuffs that didn’t passively dampen sound. The electronic gate just turns off the outside microphones. Few active sets — and certainly non that I can think that a range would be loaning out — have active noise suppression in addition to the passive control, and even those have passive correction. I.E., the idea that pressing the headphones closer to her head didn’t help is bogus.

    As a matter of fact, there’s little about this story that doesn’t chime my bogosity meter.
    * Most electronic headsets don’t work that way.
    * Under no circumstances would it get louder.
    * Even headsets with active noise suppression circuitry (as opposed to 80 DB cutoffs) provide substantial passive hearing protection.

    I suspect that once the lawyer for the range documents the brand and specs of the headset in question, and that it provides XXX dB of passive protection, that the suit goes away.

  4. avatar JSIII says:

    A lot of women don’t realize to be effective you need to put your hair up then the cups of the ear muffs over the ears, not over your hair which is covering your ears. I would hazard a guess that the woman in this case did not properly use her hearing protection; combined with someone else at the range shooting something “big and loud”.

  5. avatar slowermonkey says:

    They should figure out some way to make the firearms quieter. Of course if there was a way to do it the gov should make it very dificult and expensive to do.

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      …with mountains of paperwork.

      1. avatar M&P 9 L says:

        I wouldnt call 1 Form4 “a mountain of paperwork”….

    2. avatar Sebudei says:

      They’re called silencers, and they were virtually outlawed in 1934. Remarkably, they are difficult and expensive to acquire, and not legal in all areas.

      1. avatar Patrick Carrube says:

        haha… uh, I think you didn’t “hear” the sarcasm above…

  6. avatar Van says:

    The loudest thing I’ve ever heard is a Meatloaf concert. I brought earplugs with me and could understand his singing better with them in.

    On topic, I double up my hearing protection at the range. I’ve never had a problem.

  7. avatar Tom says:

    My Wife has Tinitus and she is in a support group. One guy that talked to her about Tinitus was a Marine Major who had loud ringing in his ears due to shooting guns. It affected him so bad that his wife left him and he later committed suicide.
    Wear your ear muffs!

  8. avatar Jeff says:

    Assumption of risk & contributory negligence – case over.

  9. avatar Frank says:

    I’ve been to gun ranges where they provided eyes and ears. I always asked about the muffs and how to keep the noise out. Also I knew it would be load. This suit is tantamount to the fool how spilled their coffee on their lap and sued McDonald’s for the coffee being hot. It is load at gun ranges indoor or outdoor.

    1. avatar devheart says:

      You should watch the documentary about tort reform called Hot Coffee. The original case that sparked the whole thing was a senior citizen who spilled the coffee on her lap and suffered near fatal 3rd degree burns to her thighs and pelvic region and had to have skin grafts. I’m pretty sure 180-190 degree coffee is more than simply a case of oops I spilled slightly hot coffee and it annoyed me so I’m suing.

      1. avatar Kevin Highland says:

        My Bunn Coffee maker @ home generates fresh coffee at 189F. I would expect commercial coffee makers to do the same. I expect a cup of coffee I purchase to be scalding hot.

        I’m not addressing who was at fault regarding the coffee spill in question. Just if spilled a cup of coffee in my lap that I made at home I would expect to have some serious burns.

      2. avatar jkp says:

        @devheart: Quite right. I get tired of hearing people ignorant of the facts offering snide comments about that hot coffee case. The Wikipedia does a decent job of summarizing the case.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald%27s_Restaurants

        In the present case, if this woman was a novice, communicated that fact to the people who ran the range, reasonably relied on their instructions and equipment, and sustained hearing damage as a result, it sounds like a fair case to me.

        @Robert Farago: The woman was not ‘making a federal case’ out of anything. She is suing in the Galveston County Court.

      3. avatar Totenglocke says:

        “The original case that sparked the whole thing was a senior citizen who spilled the coffee on her lap and suffered near fatal 3rd degree burns to her thighs and pelvic region and had to have skin grafts.”

        They claimed that she did, but I’ve seen photos from her own lawyers site regarding the case PLUS had boiling coffee spilled on me, and there’s no way in hell she had third degree burns. Second degree is likely, but not third.

        Besides, anyone who’s ever drank coffee knows that it’s more than hot enough to burn when it’s freshly poured – only a total moron would put it between their legs to hold it.

  10. avatar GS650G says:

    Nothing in life which is your own fault, and nothing that a lawyer can’t help with. Why be a victim of your circumstances and decisions? It’s always someone to blame!

  11. avatar Accur81 says:

    “Sounds” to me that her wallet is hurting more than her ears…

  12. avatar Levi B says:

    If something is so loud your ears hurt and you stick around for 10 minutes, you are what we call a moron.

  13. avatar Rueben says:

    I learned the hardway standing next to a 454 with no muffs. There’s no reason to sue there’s no monetary value on something like this

  14. avatar Rueben j says:

    I learned the hardway standing next to a 454 with no muffs. There’s no reason to sue there’s no monetary value on something like this. My ears still work without batteries being noise canceling

  15. avatar NCG says:

    I have sensitive ears. I work with power tools all day (and the electric guitar in the basement, way back when), and my ears said “enough” years ago. I used to have truly exceptional hearing (the junior high school nurse thought I was lying when I took the test, and gave it to me twice). Now I say “huh?” on a regular basis. I always wear hearing protection when working or shooting, often double with plugs and muffs, and it does the trick. I’ve been pretty close to people shooting .50 BMG with brakes, and I could actually feel the concusion in my body, but my ears were fine. Just use the damn protection correctly. That said, the range could have done better, and she may have a case.

  16. avatar TXPanhandler says:

    The range in question is where I renewed my CHL & have shot many times in recent months. I’m not a member. I don’t know anyone who is an owner or works at the business. Nor do I know anyone else that shoots at that location on a regular basis.

  17. avatar TXPanhandler says:

    What I do know is that all my trips to the range in question, eyes & ears were required and available for rent if necessary. There was also a range officer on range at all times with an active interest in assisting shooters with limited or moderate experience.

  18. avatar Vincit Veritas says:

    I prefer those two smaller pistol only ranges (as long as I want to shoot 10 yards or less). Much better lighting and fewer people to potentially muzzle and shoot me. I don’t find it excessively loud with doubled-up hearing, especially since there’s nothing bigger than a .45 in there.

  19. avatar 1freeman1951 says:

    My BS meter pegged clear through the roof on this one. Rick has pretty much covered all the bases for why this is nothing more than a scam except about the permanent hearing loss after only 10 minutes exposure. That amount of time might result in hearing difficulty for a couple of days at most but NOT permanent damage especially if she was wearing protection even if improperly. Speaking from experience, it would take sustained exposure of several hours a day over several days time to accomplish permanent loss.
    On the lighter side, this statement could explain it all:
    “The plaintiff reached atop her head for the headphones to push them inward against her face in an attempt to muffle the loudness of the weapon being fired,”
    Her friend should have told her they go over her ears, not her face, then none of this would have happened.
    Must be a blonde….
    Dang it, don’t anyone tell my wife about that, her being a blonde and all cause I might end up in the doghouse and I really enjoy snuggling next to her at night 😉

  20. avatar Jwhite says:

    “The plaintiff later discovered that the ear muffs used at the gun range are electronic and have a volume control that must be turned down before any loud noises commenced.”

    *cough* Bullshi* *cough*

    I have had a couple pairs now and I’ve never heard of electronic gunmuffs (mind you she said HEADPHONES) that didn’t passively adjust the volume. Ever. The fact she stayed for 10 minutes is like saying “I stuck my hand in a shark tank and was surprised I wasn’t bit. So I waited an extra 9 minutes before I decided I had had enough.”

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email