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Close targets and lawsuits


Guest Texas Bounty Hunter

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Guest Texas Bounty Hunter

If a club moves their targets closer than SASS recommended distances are they opening

up the club up to a lawsuit if someone is injured by bounce back lead?

As club officers what do you do to protect you and your club from this happening.

This is a serious question and I would appreciate serious answers. Thanks for replying!

Texas Bounty Hunter

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TBH,

 

Close or far away, the liability is the same. Requiring a waiver can help limit liability. Legally, you cannot sign away your rights to sue. But signing something that warns of the potential can limit an award in court. Placing targets closer than recommendations does bring into question why but it is not forbidden.

 

Having poorly maintained targets, being shot with the improper ammunition, is more of a risk than target placement.

 

It is also why our clubs are very anal about visitors and their wearing eye and ear protection. Generaally they may not understand the risk.

 

Most cowboy shooters understand the risk and generally are not looking to sue. There are very few, if any, SASS members that have not been hit with lead splatter.

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Declare that all shooters must attend the safety meeting before the match.

State at the safety meeting, that if you feel the targets are too close to safely shoot, you have the right to back-up.

Now the shooters can be responsible for their own actions!!

 

 

Now the next question is, if the shooter declines to back up and the RO is injured, is the shooter liable?

 

It never ends.

 

Don’t recall any lawsuits in 15 years of SASS participation!!

 

BH

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I started Cowboy Shooting in 1985 and have been hit with lead splatter at every match in 26 years. Just sayin'

 

Big Jake

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Yup. I've gotten splattered at every match I've been to and not once thought of suing. Thats pretty crappy to want to sue somebody over that. I make it a point to always wear my eye protection and make sure they wrap around all the way. If I do have to take my eyes off to clean them or wipe sweat away and someones shooting I turn my back to the action. Just saying, it only takes one little piece of lead to ruin your whole day and maybe one of your eyes.

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I think we need one of our resident lawyers here to answer this'n.

 

I don't even play one on TV.

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To paraphrase a line from Big Jake, if someone is injured, your fault, my fault, anybody's fault, you are open to a lawsuit.

Carry insurance, have signed waivers and understand that you still might end up in court. When I ran matches on a regular basis, I always breathed a sigh of relief when the last shot was fired.

 

Cheers,

BJT

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Targets in good condition and set up correctly should provide the best protection that you can get. Many clubs use poor targets and or poor target stands. I know that top notch targets and stands are VERY expensive, but it is the cost of doing business. Better to have 6 stages of first class targets than to have 10 stages of SCRAP! THAT, IMO, has more potential of "Liability" than anything else.

 

Snakebite

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If a club moves their targets closer than SASS recommended distances are they opening

up the club up to a lawsuit if someone is injured by bounce back lead?

As club officers what do you do to protect you and your club from this happening.

This is a serious question and I would appreciate serious answers. Thanks for replying!

Texas Bounty Hunter

 

I am no lawyer, but as I understand it, the best way for a club to protect it's self, members and officers from lawsuits is to become incorporated and form an LLC. If sued, the only thing they can get is the clubs assists - not the shareholder's.

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I am no lawyer, but as I understand it, the best way for a club to protect it's self, members and officers from lawsuits is to become incorporated and form an LLC. If sued, the only thing they can get is the clubs assists - not the shareholder's.

I am not an attorney either but have seen it done for several different kinds of high risk organizations on attorney recommendations. Then having an adequate insurance policy so the insurance company pays any legal bills. As far as targets go, distance does not prevent splatter, but properly designed targets set up properly does the trick. I have been hit with splatter many times from targets set a lot further than SASS recommended distances. Most of the splatter I get hit with at matches comes from shotgun targets set well over minimum SASS recommended distances.

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Just an idea, what about pursuing "inherent risk" policies as we do for equine professionals here in Missouri and other states as well? There are certain "inherent risks" involved with horseback riding and equine sports, thus the equine professional is afforded extra protection against lawsuits. Unless the person initiating the lawsuit can prove intentional negligence, there is no basis for the suit. Common sense would tell the lawmakers that the same applies to shooting and shooting sports, but then lawmakers are seldom accused of possessing any common sense.

 

Just a thought.

 

Bodine

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I started Cowboy Shooting in 1985 and have been hit with lead splatter at every match in 26 years. Just sayin'

 

Big Jake

Whew!

 

Are you serious? I've been hit many times in my meagre 12 years. :rolleyes: But if I'd been hit at "every match in 26 years," I'd be having some second thoughts about the sport. :unsure:

 

Anyone else out there have this bad of an experience with splatter? I certainly haven't. My experience is way less than 1/4 of the matches.

 

Regards,

 

Allie "who doesn't suffer pain well and would remember" Mo :ph34r:

 

PS I have "can't spellitis." ;)

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As happens so often, Snakebite nailed it. The best plan is to have no injuries. The best way to do that is good targets and stands.

 

I have attended Steel Challenge matches with FMJ bullets at +1000 fps on 7 yard steel with NO SPLATTER. Targets and stands were the reason.

 

Very Best Regards,

BJT

 

Targets in good condition and set up correctly should provide the best protection that you can get. Many clubs use poor targets and or poor target stands. I know that top notch targets and stands are VERY expensive, but it is the cost of doing business. Better to have 6 stages of first class targets than to have 10 stages of SCRAP! THAT, IMO, has more potential of "Liability" than anything else.

 

Snakebite

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Speaking of folks that are so often correct........

 

And may I add that not only are good Targets and Stands important but also the type ground they sit on.

 

 

..........Widder

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If you are wearing safety glasses and the targets are set up correctly I have never seen an injury that didn't require more than a band - aid.......I say toughen up or stay home....but please don't ruin things for the rest of us.

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The second worst injury I have seen was from a rifle shot on an adjacent bay. A full bullet hit a lady in the head and knocked her senseless. Distance was not the issue. Target design and placement was.

 

The next worse required a lead fragament to be pulled from a cheek with tweezers. Shotgun shot hit rocky ground.

 

The very worst was from a very bad target stand and my son still carries the lead in his cheek.

 

This deserves attention but the issue is not distance and much more target/stand design and the ground the splatter hits.

 

Regards,

BJT

 

If you are wearing safety glasses and the targets are set up correctly I have never seen an injury that didn't require more than a band - aid.......I say toughen up or stay home....but please don't ruin things for the rest of us.

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You wanted a lawyer's response so here it is

 

Negligence is the basis for most of the lawsuits that we are talking about. Negligence, from a legal stand point is the breach of a duty that is the proximate/legal/actual cause of an injury that results in damages of some type. It is often described as the failure to do what a reasonable person/entity would do in the same circumstances. This can be an action or a failure to act.

 

Anyone can be the subject of a lawsuit, warranted or not. Any lawsuit must be defended, no matter how weak the basis of the claim.

 

So, my personal general recommendations are, (which is not legal advice since I am not licensed everywhere)

 

1) The club should be incorporated. The incorporation must be done properly, and the corporate form chosen will dictate the requirements of officers, meetings minutes etc. If the club is not organized properly or the requirements are not maintained (along with all proper records) then there is the risk in the event of a lawsuit that all members of the club could be found to have personal legal responsibility in the event of a judgment.

 

2) Targets and props should be maintained and in good condition at all times.

 

3) A Notice/waiver that acknowledges that the sport has inherent risks and that such risk are accepted, and that further agrees that the shooter will not participate in any stage that the shooter feels is unreasonably dangerous, nor intentionally violate any safety rule, nor allow such violation when witnessed to go unreported. There is more that should go in this document, but if it gets to long is becomes less effective.

 

4) Prior to each stage, a posse should be asked to review the stage instructions, the props and the target placement. If any shooter sees a potential problem it should be discussed and determined if it is in fact an actual issue to be resolved, or if the individual raising the question is wrong, or unreasonable. If any shooter still believes the stage to be unsafe, they should not shoot that stage. The review of stages prior to large matches should also be done by a group of experienced shooters, looking for flaws or potential problems and a record of the inspection should be maintained by the club.

 

5) The range should have insurance and any requirements that the insurance policy puts on the club should be followed to the letter. The club's insurance application must be correct in all respects to insure that coverage is not subsequently denied.

 

6) The club should retain an attorney locally to review all documents and other issues and should get the recommendations of that attorney in writing and follow them. Attorney's carry malpractice insurance and if you are following their advice and you get sued, it adds a layer of protection. There is a warning here-you need to find an attorney that is sympathetic and understanding of the shooting sports-otherwise you will get a bunch of stupid restrictions that don't offer protection.

 

Nothing I have said is new. If your club operates like other clubs in the area, then you are probably on the right track. When your club does something significantly different, you need to look to the reasonableness of the action to make sure you stay protected. This is off the top of my head. I believe it to be reasonably accurate, but it most certainly is incomplete.

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I started Cowboy Shooting in 1985 and have been hit with lead splatter at every match in 26 years. Just sayin'

 

Big Jake

 

Yup - I get splatter most everytime too - usually very little....have had a chunk of lead wiz me a time or two. Guess that's why we wear protective glasses...

 

Figure it's par for the course.

 

GG ~ :FlagAm:

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A shooter lost an eye some years ago to a shotgun pellet that ricocheted and entered through the corner of his protective glasses. There is real risk.

 

I have been hit by a lot of spatter at some matches and none at others. It can be made worse by bad target placement and poor targets, but it is unlikely that it can ever be totally eliminated.

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I can't think of anything to add to what J. Mark Flint said. I've been hit by lead splatter already. Once as an observer, which gave me a small cut on the forehead, and the second while a member of the posse, when it somehow found its way inside my shirt and got me to hop a little. I gave that one back to the rightful owner with my thanks. :lol:

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At a shoot not far from here I was timing a GENT.On his second shot I caught a chunk rite between the eyes.By the time he finished the stage I had blood dripping out of my beard.I never even thougt about suing Rex M Rugers for shooting them fully loaded & stuffed BLACK POWDER loads. Largo

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Jake and Gunner,

 

If you are getting hit by splatter every time you shoot, the folks who set up the match need to do some mitigation. It might be helpful for them to read Calamity Jane's Splatter Report. Or, suggest they talk to or review ranges with a better splatter record. Most folks "live and learn" from their mistakes.

 

J. Mark is right, it would be the exception to never get hit. However, in my experience, your experience is not the norm and needs action.

 

Regards,

 

Allie Mo

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I'll give you another lawyer's opinion. No matter what you do, not matter what efforts you make to keep everything safe. Someone can still sue you. They can sue you because the sun came up and ruined their day. They can sue you because they don't like you. Can they win is the real question. If you do all of the things J. Mark Flint suggested and they sue their chance of getting a judgment should be slim, unless you get an anti-gun jury or judge. Then it wouldn't make any difference what you did. You should post Fint's answer for your range officers to read before every match. And keep your insurance current. I have been hit hard enough to break the skin several times, but I would never make a claim against a club. Not because I think the "waivers" prohibit it but because I believe I have accepted the risk by going to the shoot. I worry much more about someone making a really stupid mistake, someone else getting really hurt, and suing not the club, but the careless individual. I don't think the things listed to protect clubs would protect an individual for negligence. And I doubt the insurance would cover negligence by third parties. Shooting is inherently dangerous and we need to always keep safety first.

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Jake and Gunner,

 

If you are getting hit by splatter every time you shoot, the folks who set up the match need to do some mitigation. It might be helpful for them to read Calamity Jane's Splatter Report. Or, suggest they talk to or review ranges with a better splatter record. Most folks "live and learn" from their mistakes.

 

J. Mark is right, it would be the exception to never get hit. However, in my experience, your experience is not the norm and needs action.

 

Regards,

 

Allie Mo

 

Thanks Allie Mo. I'll have them look at that web site. I never remember not getting hit by splatter, so I said I always do. Thought it was part of being out there and shooting. Never thought much of it, it happens to everyone at matches. Just sayin'

 

Big Jake

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I know a shooter that got hit in the wrist from splatter. He had to have surgery to remove the piece. He didn't sue. I believe shooter position in relation to targets being shot is important. I have noticed, at ranges without berms, splatter travelling a couple stages down the line before hitting someone. Normally this is from shooting at the target from an angle and target condition.

 

Some things to ease splatter:

 

Hard ground - Put sand traps in front of targets. This takes some work but then you can reclaim the used lead easily. Then the club could sell the lead or the rights to reclaim the lead and pay for the expense.

 

Try not to have a shooter shooting wide sweeps, which cause wide angles.

 

Like already mentioned target condition. Using cheap steel will cause alot of splatter because it dimples fast. This is probably the biggest cause of splatter besides angle of bullet hitting target.

 

Shotgun targets cause alot of splatter usually because of the carriage it sit on. Logs can be place to cover absorb shot that would hit the carriage and bounce around.

 

I wish every club would take splatter seriously and go the extra mile to control all they can. Controlling 100% of splatter is virtually impossible but 98% + should be the goal.

 

Just my two bits,

 

Blue Wolf

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I yam bullet proof. Stuff bounces off me and hits other people.

 

Some of them are wimps and whine about it. I have been sued eleventy six times by people claiming I caused their injuries. Har! Judge Judy has ruled in my favor every time!

Onct a round bounced off me, a gun cart, a porta potty, and hit a Canada Goose flying over the range. Fish and Wildlife tried to put me away for that but they wre unable to git my DNA ofn the bullet.

 

Time for my meds now.

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Can I sue myself?

The worst hits I have ever taken have been from my own guns and targets either due to poor target placement, worn out targets or my own dumb fault. Ear and eye protection is a must. Always no excuses accepted.

Bowling pins shot with a shotgun shoot back!!

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Jake and Gunner,

 

If you are getting hit by splatter every time you shoot, the folks who set up the match need to do some mitigation. It might be helpful for them to read Calamity Jane's Splatter Report. Or, suggest they talk to or review ranges with a better splatter record. Most folks "live and learn" from their mistakes.

 

J. Mark is right, it would be the exception to never get hit. However, in my experience, your experience is not the norm and needs action.

 

Regards,

 

Allie Mo

WOW! Great resource, A-mo... thanks!

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I yam bullet proof. Stuff bounces off me and hits other people.

 

Some of them are wimps and whine about it. I have been sued eleventy six times by people claiming I caused their injuries. Har! Judge Judy has ruled in my favor every time!

Onct a round bounced off me, a gun cart, a porta potty, and hit a Canada Goose flying over the range. Fish and Wildlife tried to put me away for that but they wre unable to git my DNA ofn the bullet.

 

Time for my meds now.

 

I'm callin' Nancy Grace to come investigate you. :wacko:

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Great question:

 

A trip through the official SASS shooter's guide reveals:

 

There are no absolute rules, but we suggest

the following distances, by firearm, if using a target approximately 16" X 16":

Revolver – 7 to 10 yards Shotgun – 8 to 16 yards Rifle – 13 to 50 yards

 

Just to share - The Texas Ten Horns has an internal process where the stages are reviewed by two Board Members before the match. One for sure is the Range Safety Officer (RSO) and the other is either the TG or another Board member all of whom are at least ROII. In fact, the past few matches we've even solicited input from a SASS RO "Black Pin". And further to our respect for safety, our RSO inspects the range one last time before the match begins and if we need to make adjustments we do so.

 

We've been working on a Club Operations and Procedures manual (showing fairly detailed roles and responsibilities) to ensure that we have consistency across all matches.

 

Traveller

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I'll give you another lawyer's opinion. No matter what you do, not matter what efforts you make to keep everything safe. Someone can still sue you. They can sue you because the sun came up and ruined their day. They can sue you because they don't like you. Can they win is the real question. If you do all of the things J. Mark Flint suggested and they sue their chance of getting a judgment should be slim, unless you get an anti-gun jury or judge. Then it wouldn't make any difference what you did. You should post Fint's answer for your range officers to read before every match. And keep your insurance current. I have been hit hard enough to break the skin several times, but I would never make a claim against a club. Not because I think the "waivers" prohibit it but because I believe I have accepted the risk by going to the shoot. I worry much more about someone making a really stupid mistake, someone else getting really hurt, and suing not the club, but the careless individual. I don't think the things listed to protect clubs would protect an individual for negligence. And I doubt the insurance would cover negligence by third parties. Shooting is inherently dangerous and we need to always keep safety first.

 

Thanks for the praise, but I think it is a bit much. My opinion is neither exhaustive, nor even thoroughly considered. You make a good point about individual liability, but I suppose in life if one wants to do something, they have to accept the risks.

 

If a suit is brought by a shooter, they have a high hurdle to prove, but it might be accomplished. Having the club incorporation in order is critical if this happens.

 

That is why I think a cabinet full of pre shoot inspection reports is a good idea.

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