Families of Sandy Hook Victims, Gunmakers Present Their Arguments to High Court


A lawyer for families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre told judges today that Remington Outdoor Company should be held responsible for marketing the AR15 as a combat weapon - therefore appealing to the likes of Adam Lanza, who used the weapon to shoot and kill 20 young children and six adults at the Newtown, Connecticut, school. He then killed himself.

The plaintiffs say the company broke state law by taking a military weapon and marketing and selling it to the civilian public of CT.

A representative for the court declined to say when it would rule.

The group contends that the gunmaker's disregard for what was likely to happen was equivalent to gun retailers selling weapons to customers who they knew were likely to commit a crime - a scenario that isn't protected by a 2005 federal law shielding gun manufacturers. He said the lawsuit isn't allowed under the federal law.

Defense attorney James Vogts said "the law needs to be applied dispassionately".

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Almost five years after 26 people were gunned down in a CT elementary school, one Sandy Hook father says the victims' families have "not lost one ounce of confidence" in their case and they hope to reinstate their lawsuit against the parent company of the AR-15 used in the attack. But the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed to hear the case a week after the families filed their first appeal.

"But we have not lost one ounce of confidence in the validity of our case", he said.

Koskoff said "Remington may never have known Adam Lanza but they had been courting him for years".

The families said Lanza was part of that demographic and cited media reports saying he previously expressed a desire to join the army.

Koskoff spent much of his time talking about the alleged marketing efforts that he argued enticed Adam Lanza to use the weapon purchased by his mother, Nancy Lanza.

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"That's how negligent entrustment works".

The argument has historically been used where someone lends a auto to a high-risk driver who goes on to cause an accident. "The manufacturer and the sellers of the firearm used that day are not legally responsible for his crimes and harms that he caused".

David Studdert, a Stanford law professor, said on Monday he thought negligent entrustment was a tough argument for the families to make because it has traditionally involved someone having direct knowledge that another person poses a risk.

Plaintiffs' attorney Josh Koskoff said the families want the high court to return the case back to the Bridgeport Superior Court so "the discovery phase of this case can begin and we can start uncovering documents on how this military weapon ended up in civilian hands".

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