By Reuters Wire
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a blow to the firearms industry, rejecting Remington Arms Co’s bid to escape a lawsuit by families of victims aiming to hold the gun maker liable for its marketing of the semi-automatic style rifle used in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre that killed 20 children and six adults.
The justices turned away Remington’s appeal of a ruling by Connecticut’s top court to let the lawsuit proceed despite a federal law that broadly shields firearms manufacturers from liability when their weapons are used in crimes. The lawsuit will move forward at a time of high passions in the United States over the issue of gun control.
The family members of nine people slain and one survivor of the Sandy Hook massacre filed the lawsuit in 2014. Remington was backed in the case by a number of gun rights groups and lobbying organizations including the powerful National Rifle Association, which is closely aligned with Republicans including President Donald Trump. The NRA called the lawsuit “company-killing.”
The Supreme Court has refused to shield a major arms manufacturer from potential liability in the Sandy Hook shooting. The justices' action allows a lawsuit filed by parents of Sandy Hook victims to move forward at the state level. https://t.co/jwHFBLOfo3
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 12, 2019
The Dec. 14, 2012 rampage was carried out by a 20-year-old gunman named Adam Lanza, who shot his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and fired on the first-graders and adult staff before fatally shooting himself as police closed in
The plaintiffs have argued that Remington bears some of the blame for the Sandy Hook tragedy. They said the Bushmaster AR-15 gun that Lanza used had been illegally marketed by the company to civilians as a combat weapon for waging war and killing human beings.
The plaintiffs said that Connecticut’s consumer protection law forbids advertising that promotes violent, criminal behavior and yet even though these rifles have become the “weapon of choice for mass shooters” Remington’s ads “continued to exploit the fantasy of an all-conquering lone gunman.” One of them, they noted, stated, “Forces of opposition, bow down.”
Reuters contributed to this report.