Photo courtesy of Heather Ogg.
"There was no question in my mind. I mean, his dad would never do anything to harm him intentionally," Ogg said.
Only afterward, while planning the boy's funeral, did the family begin learning about alleged issues surrounding Remington rifles and about the class-action settlement. As owners of one of the oldest models in question, the settlement would have entitled them to a product voucher worth only $10 plus the gun safety DVD. But Ogg says the mere possibility of a problem would have raised a red flag with the boy's father.
"I know for a fact he would not have taken that gun hunting. He would not have used that gun unless it had been fixed because he was so 'gun safety.' If there was a problem with the gun, he would not have taken it out there risking someone's life," she said.
Spreading the word
With the class action settlement on hold, Remington critics are trying to alert the public about what they see as a life or death situation.
Richard Barber of Montana, whose own son was killed in a hunting accident in 2000, has launched a Facebook page featuring some of the Remington internal documents he uncovered in his long search for answers. Nonetheless, he says he feels a sense of "impending doom" as hunting season begins, knowing that other families are likely to suffer the same fate.
"As sure as the sun is going to come up tomorrow, people are going to be maimed or killed this year," he said.
Barber initially worked as a paid consultant to the plaintiffs' attorneys in the class-action case but says he resigned after it became clear that neither side was interested in getting the truth out. He eventually became an outspoken critic of the settlement, which he calls a "sham," although he is not involved in the appeal.
Barber blames the legal system for the settlement being in limbo.
"The courts seem to be satisfied if money changes hands," he said, rather than finding the truth and punishing the guilty.
Barber also blames plaintiffs' attorneys, who stand to collect $12.5 million in fees once the settlement is finalized.
"The people who are thumping their chest about this settlement had a vested financial interest in this case," he said.
One of those attorneys, Lanier, is urging hunters to pay heed regardless of the settlement.
"This is a safety hazard still, and all hunters should be aware," he said. "I would not use a Remington 700 without having it retrofitted."