The families of nine Sandy Hook victims on Tuesday reached a $73 million settlement with Remington, the maker of the AR-15-style rifle used in the school shooting, The New York Times reports.
The agreement marks the largest payout by a gun manufacturer in a mass shooting and could pose a threat to the firearms industry after the victims’ families worked around a federal law shielding manufacturers from liability by arguing that the company’s marketing violated Connecticut’s consumer laws.
The families argued that Remington promoted sales to troubled men like the one who carried out the massacre.
“These nine families have shared a single goal from the very beginning: to do whatever they could to help prevent the next Sandy Hook,” said Josh Koskoff, the lead lawyer for the families. “It is hard to imagine an outcome that better accomplishes that goal.”
Documents to be released:
As part of the settlement, Remington also agreed to release thousands of internal company documents, including plans for how to market the weapon used in the shooting.
The financial settlement will be paid by insurance companies that represented Remington, which is in bankruptcy.
Gun industry officials argued that the company “effectively no longer exists,” and the decision to settle “was not made by a member of the firearms industry.”
“This settlement orchestrated by insurance companies has no impact on the strength and efficacy” of federal law, Mark Oliva, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in a statement, arguing that the company “would have prevailed if this case proceeded to trial.”
Though federal law shields gun manufacturers, Connecticut law allows lawsuits against gunmakers.
New York has adopted a similar measure and California has introduced a similar bill.
New Jersey and other states have also discussed similar legislation.
“This is an important win for victims of gun violence and the movement to hold the gun industry accountable,” said Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel for Brady. “It sends a powerful message to these executives — even with your special protections, you can and will be held accountable for gun violence.”