South Carolina law provides that in a products liability action involving firearms or ammunition, the determination whether a firearm or ammunition shell is defective in design must not be based on a comparison or weighing of the benefits of the product against the risk of injury, damage, or death posed by its potential to cause that injury, damage, or death when discharged.1
Moreover, in a products liability action brought against a firearm or ammunition manufacturer, importer, distributor, or retailer that alleges a design defect, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove, in addition to any other required elements, that:
- The actual design of the firearm or ammunition was defective, causing it not to function in a manner reasonably expected by an ordinary consumer of firearms or ammunition; and
- Any defective design was the proximate cause of the injury, damage, or death.2
The state also prohibits a nuisance action for noise against a shooting range or the owners, operators, or users of the range, located in the vicinity of that person’s property if the shooting range was established when the person acquired the property, except if there is a substantial change in the use of the range within the last three years.3 A person who acquired property before a shooting range is established in the vicinity may maintain a nuisance action regarding noise against the range if the action is brought within five years after establishment of the range, or three years after a substantial change in use of the range.4 See the South Carolina State Preemption/Local Authority to Regulate section for further information.
See our Immunity Statutes / Manufacturer Litigation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.