Court Revives Sandy Hook Shooting Lawsuit Against Gun Manufacturer Remington

Evarado Alatorre
Marcha 15, 2019

Rose of Lima Catholic church while mourners gathered for a funeral service for shooting victim Jessica Rekos, 6, on December 18, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.

The attack just before Christmas left 20 school children and six staffers dead. Children at Sandy Hook Elementary will attend a school in a neighboring town until authorities decide whether or not to reopen their school.

The decision says that the families may pursue one of their specific claims in the case: that Remington, the manufacturer of Bushmaster's version of the AR-15 rifle used during the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, knowingly marketed the gun for use by people to "carry out offensive, military style combat missions against their perceived enemies".

A Connecticut State Police officer holds up a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, the same make and model of gun used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook School shooting at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., Jan. 28, 2013.

Families of schoolchildren gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre can sue Remington Outdoor Co, a United States court has ruled. According to the report, a motive behind the shooting by gunman Adam Lanza is still unknown.

The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, has provided the United States firearms industry an nearly impenetrable defense against lawsuits by victims of mass shootings and gun violence, broadly shielding Remington and others such as American Outdoor Brands Corp, Sturm Ruger & Co and Vista Outdoor Inc from liability.

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.

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"The regulation of advertising that threatens the public's health, safety, and morals has always been considered a core exercise of the states' police powers", wrote Justice Richard Powers.

Timothy Lytton, Georgia State University law professor and author of a book on gun litigation, said the decision was a setback for gun makers, which have been shielded from liability in mass shootings.

The lawsuit alleged that Remington and the other two defendants are culpable because they knowingly marketed a military grade weapon that is "grossly unsuited" for civilian use yet had become the gun most used in mass shootings. "Today's decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal", said Josh Koskoff, one of the attorneys for the families, in a statement.

It also sets a precedent that could lead to more lawsuits against manufacturers whose guns are used in mass shootings.

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 US history, which inflamed outrage among gun control advocates who demanded lawmakers work to prevent mass shooting. The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun rights lobby, did not immediately comment.

A lower court judge had dismissed the lawsuit filed by Hockley and other parents, citing a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from liability when their products are used in crimes.

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