For Ken Price, there’s nothing he wouldn’t do to make sure no other family has to endure what those victimized on the Danforth last year had to.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” he said of the mass shooting that killed two people and wounded 13 others, including his daughter Samantha. “It should never happen again.”
And that is the heart and soul behind the decision of some of the victims of the July 22, 2018 attack to file a $150-million lawsuit against gunmaker Smith & Wesson,
Along with Price and his daughter Samantha Price, Claire Smith, and Patrick and Jane McLeod and their daughter Skye McLeod are all named as plaintiffs in the suit that would include all the families of the slain and wounded should damages be awarded.
Price understands no amount of money will bring back Julianna Kozis, 10, or Reese Fallon, 18. Or heal the wounds of those who survived being shot by a .40-calibre semi-automatic Smith & Wesson handgun.
But, he said, what could come out of it is change.
“The handgun was negligently designed and manufactured in that Smith & Wesson failed to incorporate authorized user (smart gun) technology,” states the suit. “Smart gun technology is a personalized firearm safety measure that prevents unauthorized users, like the gunman who used the stolen handgun in the Danforth shooting, from firing the weapon.”
The allegation is that Smith & Wesson had the technology to do this but did not integrate it into production.
Had the company done so, said Price, the shooter would not have been able to operate the gun since it was stolen and he was not the owner.
It could one day mean that no illegal gun could be used in any crime by someone who doesn’t have the code or fingerprint to activate it.
“The defendant owed a duty to the (plaintiffs) to ensure that any handguns it made available on the Canadian market were designed and manufactured to implement technology that would prevent unauthorized users from causing the very type of harm and injury suffered,” states the claim.
Now, you will notice the lawsuit focuses on the gun and not the person who pulled the trigger. Price said they are well aware that it was Faisal Hussain who fired the gun and that he was also responsible.
His point is that if promised technology had have been implemented by the manufacturer, Hussain would not have been able to utilize the weapon in the first place.
As Price reminds, the physical, emotional and psychological damages caused by this crime to the families of the slain girls and those who were wounded are catastrophic. They suffer the pain every day.
In his family’s case, his “brave” daughter survived and was able to go off to university as planned and have a chance at her life.
But for the Kozis and Fallon families, their daughters are dead.
“It hurts,” Price told the Sun in an interview. “It hurts those who survived and it hurts the whole community.”
He hopes the lawsuit brings about some change in the approach to guns.
Lawyer Edward Prutschi told Newstalk 1010’s John Moore on Tuesday that while it will be an uphill battle to win the case in court, it could spark discussion about smart gun technology.
My feeling is it’s a conversation worth having. Why not tailor every gun to be operated only by the person who owns it and is licensed to use it?
It’s like that with cellphones and computers and many other things. Perhaps technology could be a way going forward to take the guns away from criminals while not stifling the rights of legal and law-abiding gun owners.
That — or a substantial payout to the victims — will not change what happened on the Danforth in 2018. But it would mean the deaths and wounds that came out of that day led to something that so far no government or police force has been able to accomplish.
“We want to protect others from going through something like this,” said Price.
And that, in the names of those who paid the ultimate cost, is a noble pursuit.