The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that families of the victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can sue the gunmaker that manufactured the rifle used in the massacre, The New York Times reports.
The state’s high court voted 4-3 to overturn a lower court ruling and allow a lawsuit on behalf of Sandy Hook families holding gunmaker Remington liable for the deaths to proceed. A lower court previously ruled that gunmakers were shielded from liability when their firearms were used to commit crimes. The high court agreed with much of the lower court's opinion but allowed the lawsuit to proceed on claims that the company's marketing tactics may make them liable for the crimes their weapons were used to commit.
Plaintiffs accuse Remington of selling a weapon -- an AR-15-style Bushmaster -- that is too dangerous for civilians to use and “glorified it through aggressive marketing, which made it attractive to the 20-year-old Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza,” Vice News reported.
“Consider your man card reissued,” said one of their ad slogans for the weapon.
“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,” attorney Joshua Koskoff said in a statement Thursday. “Today’s decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal.”
Sandy Hook case could set new precedent for gunmakers:
The case could deal a huge blow to gunmakers as it may set a precedent by holding manufacturers liable for the crimes their weapons are used to commit.
“The case has the potential to bring seismic shifts to the world of gun rights and gun control, as it could set a precedent whereby gun manufacturers will be held liable in the aftermath of mass shootings. In the past, lawsuits brought by victims’ family members against gunmakers have been dismissed by courts that cited the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” Vice News reported.
“This is not the end,” Stanford law professor Nora Freeman Engstrom told The Times. “Any path for plaintiffs will be long and strewn with obstacles. But this opinion suggests there may well be a road, which before was unclear.”