Published: Fri, March 15, 2019

Court rules Remington can be sued over Newtown shooting

Court rules Remington can be sued over Newtown shooting

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.

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 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. According to the report, a motive behind the shooting by gunman Adam Lanza is still unknown.

In a 4-3 ruling widely expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Connecticut's highest court found the lawsuit could proceed based on a state law protecting consumers against fraudulent marketing.

"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.

The 2005 "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act", protects "civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others", which the defense has argued protects the gun manufacturer from being sued. He shot his mother to death in their Newtown home beforehand, and killed himself as police arrived at the school. "Today's decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal", [attorney Josh] Koskoff added [in a statement].

Families of Sandy Hook shooting victims can sue gunmaker Remington over 2012 attack, court says

"That lethality, combined with the ease with which criminals and mentally unstable individuals can acquire an AR-15, has made the rifle the weapon of choice for mass shootings, including school shootings", the decision says.

The company may be guilty of making unlawful marketing claims, the court ruled, due to its promotion of a military-grade weapon for hunting and "recreational" use by civilians; its use of images of combat when selling the AR-15; and its use of slogans like "Consider your man card reissued".

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.

Military-style rifles have been used in many other mass shootings, including in Las Vegas in October 2017 when 58 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

Remington has invoked the 2005 law in arguing that the case should be dismissed. Several groups, ranging from the National Rifle Association to emergency room doctors, submitted briefs to the court.

Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, filed for bankruptcy reorganization last year amid years of slumping sales and legal and financial pressure over the Sandy Hook school massacre.


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