Gunmaker Liability In Sandy Hook Shooting Is Tested Before Connecticut Supreme Court

Gunmaker Liability In Sandy Hook Shooting Is Tested Before Connecticut Supreme Court

Sandy Hook families argued to Connecticut's highest court Tuesday to reinstate their lawsuit against Remington Outdoor Co., the parent company of the manufacturer of the AR-15 military assault weapon used in the December 2012 elementary school massacre in Newtown.

The case centers on a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle made by North Carolina-based Remington and a 2005 federal law that shields gun makers from liability in most cases.

On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, killed 26 people - including 20 first-graders - in the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., after killing his mother at their home.

Following the conclusion Tuesday's arguments, the Connecticut Supreme Court will now decide whether the families of nine of the victims and one survivor can proceed with a trial seeking to hold Remington, along with a gun wholesaler and local retailer, responsible for the carnage based on its marketing.

A lower court judge agreed with the gun maker and dismissed the families' lawsuit in 2016.

"No matter how tragic, no matter how much we wish those children and their teachers were not lost, and their families had not suffered, the law needs to be applied dispassionately", says James Vogts, attorney for Remington Arms.

Lawyers for the family members asked the court to revive the suit that was dismissed past year by Judge Barbara Bellis in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The packed courtroom in Hartford, Connecticut, included numerous victims' family members.

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Ian Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed in his first grade classroom, told reporters outside the courthouse that in the military a weapon of this type is subject to strict rules. "You can't launder negligence through other parties", said Koskoff.

"The weapon he needed for his mission was never in doubt", the families' attorney Josh Koskoff said.

The families said Lanza was part of that demographic and cited media reports saying he previously expressed a desire to join the army.

On the same day as the hearing, at least three people, including the shooter, were killed and two children wounded in a shooting at an elementary school in Northern California. "Your job is to make and sell a product to prevent that from happening".

"That's how negligent entrustment works".

The argument has historically been used where someone lends a vehicle to a high-risk driver who goes on to cause an accident.

But moves to even modestly tighten gun control laws floundered and a lawsuit brought by some families of the victims against the manufacturers of the semi-automatic gun used in the crime was thrown out by a judge previous year.

According to the New York Daily News, if the families are successful in the state Supreme Court, the case will go back to the superior court, where Remington's internal marketing documents will be examined.

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