Sandy Hook Parents Win Major Court Victory Over Gunmakers
Sandy Hook Parents Win Major Court Victory Over Gunmakers
Court Rules Sandy Hook Victim Families Can Sue Manufacturer That Made Rifle Used In Shooting
16 March, 2019, 22:49
The ruling sends the case back to the lower court.
In a landmark ruling on Thursday, Connecticut's top court has given a go-ahead to the lawsuit by the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, which blames the manufacturer of the AR-15 style rifle used in the massacre.
The plaintiffs alleged that Remington unlawfully promoted the rifle to young, civilian men as a weapon with awesome power and ideal for combat.
The suit claims the company marketed and promoted the gun for civilians to use to carry out "offensive, military combat missions against their perceived enemies", and CT law bars ads that promote or encourage violent behaviour, the court said in its 71-page ruling. "The families' goal has always been to shed light on Remington's calculated and profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users".
WikipediaToday the Connecticut Supreme Courtrevived a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the rifle used in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the company that distributed the gun, and the store that sold it to the perpetrator's mother.
The majority of the high court agreed with most of the lower court's ruling and dismissed most of the lawsuit's allegations, but allowed a wrongful marketing claim to proceed.
The families of nine of the victims and one survivor have said the manufacturer, along with a gun wholesaler and local retailer, are partially responsible for the carnage at the Newtown, Connecticut, school because they marketed the weapon based on its militaristic appeal.
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Justices are split on the question as the court is scheduled to release majority and dissenting opinions Thursday.
Authorities say Adam Lanzamurdered his mom at home, then shot and killed 20 children and six adults at the school using an AR-15-style rifle called a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S. Several groups, ranging from the NRA to emergency room doctors, submitted briefs to the court.
Robert J. Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of NY at Cortland and an expert on guns and the Second Amendment, said the CT ruling runs counter to the 2005 federal law.
An initial suit against Remington was thrown out in 2016 and an appeal by the families was taken to the state's highest court previous year.
"The likelihood they'll succeed is small", he said.
Still, allowing the lawsuit to move forward means that there will be an opportunity for discovery that would unearth company documents that could be embarrassing for Remington.
The Sandy Hook families had focused on a portion of their argument against Remington on "negligent entrustment", essentially saying that the company sold guns to civilians knowing they are unsafe outside of certain institutions like the military.
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