Court rules Sandy Hook victims' families can sue gunmaker Remington

Wikipedia

Adam Lanza, 20, used a Remington AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, a semi-automatic civilian version of the US military's M-16, to kill 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7, as well as six adult staff members, at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

The plaintiffs in CT include a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in the massacre.

The plaintiffs alleged that Remington promoted the Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle for use against "perceived enemies", an argument a majority of the judges said deserved further scrutiny.

They argue the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza is too risky for the public and Remington glorified the weapon in marketing it to young people, including those with mental illness.

Connecticut Chief Justice Richard Robinson focused much of the dissenting opinion on the intent of Congress to limit gun-makers' liability. They argue the AR-15-style rifle used by shooter Adam Lanza was designed as a military killing machine and is too risky for the public, but Remington glorified the weapon in marketing it to young people. It also concluded that CUPTA lawsuits are not barred by a federal law that generally protects gun suppliers from civil liability for crimes committed with their products.

"Prior to December 14, 2012, assault rifles like the Bushmaster XM15-E2S had been used to kill in department stores and fast food chains, at offices and homecoming parties, on courthouse steps, and in schools", the suit said.

The group Connecticut Against Gun Violence said the state supreme court decision "will force the companies to reveal internal communications that they have fought to keep out of the public eye".

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"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, all at the expense of Americans' safety", the attorney added. "The majority's decision today is at odds with all other state and federal appellate courts that have interpreted the scope of the exception", the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in a statement.

Investigators said he was obsessed with mass shooters.

The families argued, among other things, that the rifle's manufacturer and distributor negligently allowed and encouraged civilians to use a weapon suitable only for military and law enforcement use.

The decision represents a major victory for the families of the 20 first-grade children and six educators who were killed in one of the deadliest mass shootings in USA history, which inflamed outrage among gun control advocates who demanded lawmakers work to prevent mass shooting.

The Connecticut high court issued a 4-3 ruling that reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit against Remington filed by a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in the school massacre.

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.

Since Sandy Hook and subsequent school shootings, most federal efforts at gun control or gun rights expansion have faded and the bulk of firearms legislation has been in state legislatures across the country.

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