On October 16, 2015, Department of Public Safety officers at Syracuse University realized that four unloaded 12 gauge shotguns went missing after being placed in the back of a truck after the officers’ annual certification. Neither DPS nor Syracuse University officials have discovered the whereabouts of the weaponry.
Professor Timothy Lytton commented on the potential tort liability that may stem from the matter. In the Daily Orange’s February 2 article, “Expert: SU May be Liable for Missing DPS Shotguns,” Lytton stated that liability “would depend on whether the guns were properly secured and if someone were injured within close proximity – both in time and distance – to the guns being lost.” He continued to explain that the “more time that elapses and the more hands that the guns go through, the more difficult it would be to establish liability,” adding that “it would ultimately be up to a jury to both determine the proximity and whether carelessness occurred in handling the shotguns.”
Timothy D. Lytton is a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law and a member of the Center for Law, Health & Society. His expertise is in the public policy implications of tort litigation. Lytton is the editor of Suing the Gun Industry: A Battle at the Crossroads of Gun Control and Mass Torts (2005).