A child gazes from a school bus as it passes by the St.
The maker of the semi-automatic assault rifle that was used in the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 can potentially be held liable for the 26 killings the gun was used to commit, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Remington is being sued by the relatives of nine victims who were murdered in the massacre, and by one survivor.
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. A report was released November 25, 2013 by Connecticut State Attorney Stephen Sedensky III summarizing the Newtown school shooting that left 20 children and six women dead inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The lawsuit has reignited the debate on whether gunman Adam Lanza's obsession with violent video games was a major contributing factor in his decision to go on a shooting rampage in real life.
The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, has provided the U.S. firearms industry an nearly impenetrable defence against lawsuits by victims of mass shootings and gun violence, broadly shielding Remington and others such as American Outdoor Brands Corp, Sturm Ruger & Co and Vista Outdoor Inc from liability stemming from such incidents.
The families argued that the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the weapon negligently entrusted to civilian consumers an assault rifle that is suitable for use only by military and law enforcement personnel and violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) through the sale or wrongful marketing of the rifle.
"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", Powers said. The majority said that while most of the lawsuit's claims were barred by the federal law, Remington could still be sued for alleged wrongful marketing under CT law. He shot his mother to death in their Newtown home beforehand, and killed himself as police arrived at the school.
Gun control advocates are touting the ruling as providing a possible roadmap for victims of other mass shootings to circumvent the long-criticized federal law, which has blocked lawsuits over other mass shootings. "Today's decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal", Mr Koskoff said.
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. 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.
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.