June 17, 2019
New England Latest News | Marijuana Sales | Bangor Metro | Paul LePage | Today's Paper

Newtown shooting families can sue Remington, Connecticut high court says

Jessica Hill | AP
Jessica Hill | AP
Firearms training unit Detective Barbara J. Mattson of the Connecticut State Police holds a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the same make and model used by Adam Lanza in the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting, during a hearing at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut, Jan. 28, 2013. A divided Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Thursday gun maker Remington can be sued over how it marketed the Bushmaster rifle used in the massacre.

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, Connecticut.

The groundbreaking decision overturned a lower-court ruling barring the lawsuit, which was brought by the estates of nine victims killed by Adam Lanza, who was armed with the high-powered rifle during his assault on the school. Bushmaster is owned by Remington.

The families argued, among other things, that the rifle’s manufacturer and distributor negligently allowed and encouraged civilians to use a weapon suitable only for military and law enforcement use.

The firearms company had convinced a lower court that a federal law enacted in 2005 limited the liability of firearms manufacturers and dealers, essentially pre-empting wrongful death suits in state and federal courts.

The Connecticut high court disagreed. It also said the suit, which seeks unspecified damages for each death, could go forward under that state’s Unfair Trade Practices Law.

Twenty first-grade children and six adults were killed and two others wounded in the attack on Dec. 14, 2012. The Bushmaster that Lanza used had been sold to his mother, according to court documents.

“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. “Plaintiffs seek nothing more and nothing less than accountability” for Bushmaster’s choice to “continue profiting” from selling and marketing the weapon for civilian use, the suit said.

 



Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

You may also like