Lawsuit by Sandy Hook victims against gun manufacturer allowed to move forward

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The Connecticut Supreme Court's decision Thursday to revive a liability lawsuit against the maker of the AR-15 used to kill 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School potentially allows an unprecedented examination of how the gun industry turned a firearm with military origins into the most popular rifle in the USA civilian market.

The ruling could spur similar suits in other states, he added.

'"The majority's decision today is at odds with all other state and federal appellate courts", the group said. An eventual ruling against Remington could establish legal precedent, opening doors for more lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and expose the company's communications about its marketing plans.

Justice Richard Powers, who heard the case in CT, sided with the plaintiffs as he ruled that their allegations are a valid basis for the lawsuit to be returned to a lower court.

The families' lawsuit can now bypass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which Congress passed in 2005, making it impossible for survivors of gun violence to hold manufacturers accountable for selling weapons to shooters.

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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. If that is the case, and in light of the difficulties that the federal courts have faced in attempting to distill a clear rule or guiding principle from the predicate exception, Congress may wish to revisit the issue and clarify its intentions.

The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday said a lawsuit challenging how Remington marketed the rifle used in the December 2012 Newtown school shooting can proceed, overturning a lower court's outright dismissal of the case.

"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", Justice Richard Palmer wrote for the majority.

Nine of the families originally filed the lawsuit in 2014, and have faced delays as the case was sent from federal to state-level courts and as Remington filed for bankruptcy past year. There are consequences. We want our day in court to see why they do this this way, and what needs to change'.

On March 14, 2019, the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed Judge Bellis' decision, ruling the case can go forward based on the marketing strategy employed to the sell the AR-15 at the time Nancy Lanza purchased it.

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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".

At a November 2017 hearing, Koskoff argued that the company targeted people like the Sandy Hook shooter with their marketing, using "images of soldiers in combat" and referring to "missions" where the guns could be used.

Since Sandy Hook and subsequent school shootings, most federal efforts at gun control or gun rights expansion have faded and the bulk of firearms legislation has been in state legislatures across the country.

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.

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