CT high court allows Sandy Hook lawsuit against rifle maker

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A CT court ruled Thursday that Remington Outdoor Company can be sued over the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to The Stamford Advocate.

The families of nine victims and a survivor of the massacre had brought the lawsuit, arguing that Remington should be held accountable.

A divided Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled gun-maker Remington can be sued over how it marketed the Bushmaster rifle used to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. He then committed suicide.

But what makes the suit particularly noteworthy is whom it targets: Remington Outdoor Co., the maker of the rifle that was used in the tragic shooting. "Today's decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal", Mr Koskoff said.

In a 4-3 ruling, the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court's earlier decision that Remington, the maker of the AR-15 Bushmaster, should not be considered automatically immune from liability and lawsuits when their product is used in a crime.

"The families' goal has always been to shed light on Remington's calculated and profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users, all at the expense of Americans' safety", Koskoff said Thursday.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm industry's trade association, agreed with the dissenters, saying the ruling was "at odds with all other state and federal appellate courts that have interpreted the scope of the exception".

[The Sandy Hook attacker] carried out this massacre using a Bushmaster XM15-E2S semiautomatic rifle that was allegedly manufactured, distributed, and ultimately sold to [his] mother by the various defendants in this case.

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Leading gun control advocates such as Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign applauded the ruling.

Lawyers for the gunmaker argued that there was no way for Remington to assess the shooter, and therefore no way they could have known what the gun would be used for.

The court, echoing claims by the families, emphasized the lethality of the AR-15 style rifle, saying that it is created to "deliver maximum carnage with extreme efficiency".

"In allowing the marketing argument to go forward, the justices wrote that their interpretation of the federal statute does not give gun companies free reign to use "truly unethical and irresponsible marketing practices.".

In a 5-4 vote, the USA state's Supreme Court said the lawsuit could proceed on the basis of state consumer protection laws.

An initial suit against Remington was thrown out in 2016 and an appeal by the families was taken to the state's highest court past year. Adam Lanza, the gunman, used the Bushmaster gun at the center of this case.

The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, has so far shielded the USA firearms industry from lawsuits by victims of gun violence, including major players such as Remington, Sturm Ruger and Co and Vista Outdoor Inc from bearing any liability. Several groups, ranging from the NRA to emergency room doctors, submitted briefs to the court.

Still, allowing the lawsuit to move forward means that there will be an opportunity for discovery that would unearth company documents that could be embarrassing for Remington.