Published November 12, 2019 by Mark Sherman and Dave Collins (The Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Tuesday that a survivor and relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can pursue their lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used to kill 26 people.
The justices rejected an appeal from Remington Arms, which argued it should be shielded by a 2005 federal law preventing most lawsuits against firearms manufacturers when their products are used in crimes.
The case is being watched by gun control advocates, gun rights supporters and gun manufacturers across the country because it has the potential to provide a roadmap for victims of other mass shootings to circumvent the federal law and sue the makers of firearms.
The court’s order allows the lawsuit filed in Connecticut state court by a survivor and relatives of nine victims who died at the Newtown, Connecticut, school on Dec. 14, 2012, to go forward.
The lawsuit says the Madison, North Carolina-based company should never have sold a weapon as dangerous as the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle to the general public. It also alleges Remington targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games. Opponents of the suit contend that gunman Adam Lanza alone is responsible for killing 20 first graders and six educators. He was 20 years old.
“I support the Second Amendment and the right to own firearms and guns, but on the other hand there’s reckless advertising and marketing,” said Neil Heslin, whose son, Jesse Lewis, died in the shooting. “There should be accountability and responsibility for that.”
The families’ lawyer, Joshua Koskoff, said the next step will be the discovery phase in which Remington will be compelled to disclose certain internal company documents.
“The families are just universally happy with this result,” he said. “They have wanted nothing more out of this case than to shed light on the conduct of the manufacturer of the weapon that was the source of taking the lives of their loved ones.”
Messages seeking comment were left with lawyers for Remington Arms on Tuesday.
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