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

Lester Mason
November 14, 2017

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.

On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Newtown, Connecticut school, before turning the gun on himself.

Remington's lawyer, James Vogts, told the CT court that the families' claims, first filed in 2014, are barred by the 2005 law.

"Make people interested in buying your products and I would point out that the advertisements the counsel has referenced were not necessarily directed to a younger demographic", Vogts said. "They marketed the weapon for exactly what it was".

"That's how negligent entrustment works". "Remington may never have known, but they had been courting him for years".

Palmer asked Vogts if he would acknowledge the law must adapt to current times. "We're hearing that the law of negligent entrustment needs to be ignored". That's if a gun manufacturer foresaw that an injury could happen with its product, then the manufacturer could be liable.

The company said it's up to legislators and not juries whether the AR-15 should be sold to the public.

The statute, backed by the National Rifle Association, has helped the industry defeat similar cases, with the Sandy Hook suit perhaps the highest-profile example.


"He idolized the military and Remington advertised the AR-15 as the weapon used by Army Rangers".

"Could you imagine the Ford Motor Company advertising a auto that can run over people?" he asked. "What we have is the conduct of a corporation that thought it was above the law and still thinks its above the law". In court, he argued that people most commonly use this type of rifle for deer hunting.

Assault-style weapons were banned in CT after the Sandy Hook shooting.

Defense attorneys in the case claim that Remington is protected from such lawsuits by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

"Nothing will ever bring back my son, Dylan, or the other lives stolen from us on that terrible day", Nicole Hockley said previous year when the appeal was filed. The families suing include parents of slain children Benjamin Wheeler, Dylan Hockley, Noah Pozner, Daniel Barden and Jesse Lewis; and family members of slain teacher's aide Rachel D'Avino, slain school psychologist Mary Sherlach, slain teachers Victoria Soto and Lauren Rousseau and injured teacher Natalie Hammond.

They say a military-style rifle was marketed to an untrained civilian population. "The manufacturer of the Bushmaster takes no such precautions when unleashing their product into the civilian market".

A lower court judge had ruled that a federal law protects the gun manufacturer from being sued.

If it moves forward, they will go to what's called a discovery phase where they could get access to Remington's emails and documents on their gun marketing strategies.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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