CT high court: Gunmaker Remington may be sued for Sandy Hook shooting

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

The lawsuit argues that such messages would appeal to a troubled young man like Lanza, that they may have influenced him to choose the XM15 from among his mother's guns when he attacked the elementary school, and that the attack would have been less deadly if he had used a different gun.

Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle can be sued and potentially held liable in connection with the 2012 mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Justices wrote in the majority opinion that "it falls to a jury to decide whether the promotional schemes alleged in the present case rise to the level of illegal trade practices and whether fault for the tragedy can be laid at their feet".

The lawsuit alleges that Remington has "for years sold AR-15s in a manner that foreseeably leads to the use of those weapons by unauthorized and unsafe users" by marketing them as weapons used by soldiers in battle. According to the report, a motive behind the shooting by gunman Adam Lanza is still unknown.

In a 4-3 decision, justices reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit against Remington and overturned the ruling of a lower court judge, who said the entire lawsuit was prohibited by the 2005 federal law.

"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.

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Twenty first-grade children and 6 adults were killed and two others wounded in the attack on December 14, 2012. "Today's decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal", said Josh Koskoff, one of the attorneys for the families, in a statement.

"The number of lives lost in those 264 seconds was made possible by the shooter's weapon of choice", the plaintiffs said in their lawsuit. They argue the AR-15-style rifle used by shooter Adam Lanza was designed as a military killing machine and is too risky for the public, but Remington glorified the weapon in marketing it to young people.

In 2016, a lower-court judge dismissed the case in response to a request by Remington, citing a federal statute that protects gun manufacturers and distributors from being implicated if their weapons are used in criminal activity.

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. Several groups, ranging from the National Rifle Association to emergency room doctors, submitted briefs to the court.

Nine of the families originally filed the lawsuit in 2014, and have faced delays as the case was sent from federal to state-level courts and as Remington filed for bankruptcy past year.

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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