Sandy Hook families seek to hold gun maker liable for shooting

Sergio Conner
November 14, 2017

"They marketed the weapon for exactly what it was", Koskoff said in court on Tuesday, adding that Remington even used product placement to get its product in first-person-shooter video games played by Lanza.

Several Sandy Hook families took their case today against a gunmaker to Connecticut's highest court, saying Remington Arms is responsible for the massacre in Newtown.

Gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six educators on December 14, 2012, with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, the same type of firearm used in other mass shootings including at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, earlier this month.

The act, signed by George W. Bush in 2005, largely prohibits lawsuits against gun manufacturers and distributors whose firearms are used in a criminal act. "He idolized the military and Remington advertised the AR-15 as the weapon used by Army Rangers". They also believe the sale of the gun to civilians is negligent because it is primarily "designed for our armed forces and engineered to deliver maximum carnage". Ian Hockley, who lost his 6-year-old son, Dylan, in the shooting, told reporters after the proceeding that families were "running out of patience" over the gun maker's ability to escape liability.

Nine of those children's families argued Bushmaster's parent company, Remington Arms, specifically marketed a military-grade weapon to people who were likely to use it to kill. "We want to see the degree to which they deliberately were trying to ring the bells of users with the characteristics of an Adam Lanza".

Remington's lawyer argued the federal law prohibits the lawsuit.

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The plaintiffs in the case - a survivor and relatives of nine people killed - sued Remington in 2015, citing the negligent entrustment exception and claiming the company violated a CT law against unfair sales and marketing practices. It has met with some success in lawsuits against gun shop owners, but legal experts said it has never been used before to target a manufacturer.

On Tuesday, those families were back in court, asking Connecticut's highest state court to reverse the decision, looking to hold the makers of the AR-15 Bushmaster liable for wrongful death and negligence. The case goes before the court a little more than a week after the latest mass shooting where an assault rifle was used to kill 26 people inside a Texas church.

"They could not care less what happens to their guns once the cash is in the bank, showing an utter disregard for the lives this weapon takes and the families it destroys", Hockley said after the hearing.

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

Connecticut's lower court judge agreed with gun manufacturers that the slingshot case applied to children, so it was different.

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