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Judge Allows Sandy Hook Parents’ Lawsuit Against Remington To Move Forward

Judge Allows Sandy Hook Parents’ Lawsuit Against Remington To Move Forward

While this is not a final ruling on the case’s legitimacy, the fact that the judge did not dismiss this case outright says a lot about the current political climate.

We all know what happened in Sandy Hook over three years ago. The families, along with their lawyers, have now joined together to sue Remington Arms, Inc., the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15, which was the primary weapon used by the shooter (who I refuse to name) during the massacre.

The AR-15 used in the Sandy Hook massacre. (photo: Getty Images)
The AR-15 used in the Sandy Hook massacre. (photo: Getty Images)
While there is a federal law that specifically deals with gun manufacturers not being held liable for crimes committed, Judge Barbara Bellis seems to think that the case should go forward.

In a major blow to gun companies, a judge in Connecticut on Thursday decided the lawsuit brought by 10 families affected by the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School against the maker of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting will continue.

At issue is the 2005 federal law that provides gun businesses immunity from civil lawsuits, known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), or PLCAA for short. Connecticut State Judge Barbara Bellis on Thursday rejected the gun companies’ motion to dismiss the case.

The families are suing the maker, distributor and seller of the rifle, which the gunman used to slat (sic) first-graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, in less than five minutes on December 14, 2012. They argue the rifle shouldn’t have been entrusted to the general public because it is a military-style assault weapon that is unsuited for civilian use. They say the gun companies knew—or should have known—about the high risks posed by the weapon, including the ability for a shooter to use it to inflict maximum casualties and serious injury.

“We are thrilled that the gun companies’ motion to dismiss was denied. The families look forward to continuing their fight in court,” Josh Koskoff, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, said in a statement.

The families and attorneys for the three gun companies met for a crucial hearing on February 22. The defense lawyers had argued to dismiss the lawsuit, saying their clients are shielded by PLCAA, which prevents gun violence victims from taking legal action against firearms distributors whose weapons are used in crimes and fatal shootings.

While legal experts will continue to wrangle over PLCAA (a law which even Bernie Sanders supports), I do think that eventually, the lawsuit will be dismissed. Leave aside the Pandora’s Box that will be opened if a manufacturer is allowed to be sued for the use or misuse of their product. If Remington’s lawyers are smart, they will simply point out the fact that the gun was not sold to the shooter. It was sold to his mother, and he stole it (his first crime) and then murdered her (his second crime). Therefore, they cannot be held liable for a crime committed if the firearm came into the shooter’s possession during the commission of another felony. While I am not a lawyer, I’m pretty sure that argument is going to be made at some point, whether in pre-trial motions or in a trial itself.

In the end, though, the only people who will win are the lawyers. If they don’t get money, they get notoriety and fame. The families will still not have any more closure than they have now. My sorrow for them is not diminished by my disgust that they are so obviously being used by those with an anti-gun agenda.

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4 Comments
  • GWB says:

    Therefore, they cannot be held liable for a crime committed if the firearm came into the shooter’s possession during the commission of another felony.

    Look at the argument they use:

    They argue the rifle shouldn’t have been entrusted to the general public because it is a military-style assault weapon that is unsuited for civilian use.

    They’re arguing it was a dangerous product. It’s not necessarily defective, but it’s inherently dangerous, and should only be used by certain government managed professionals (military and police).
    Now, courts have already found that the AR-15 is a “normal” weapon, in “common” use. And that will destroy their premise. But the murder and theft actually will be “evidence” for their argument – “See? This is what happens when you put such a powerful out there in the hands of an untrained individual like the shooter’s mother.”

    In the end, though, the only people who will win are the lawyers.

    This is absolutely true. They will make money out of this one way or another. And fame (at least among those sorts of folks).
    Who will NOT win is the American people, the subjects citizens of Connecticut, the families of the slain, nor anyone killed or wounded in the future because of this idiotic belief that gun-free zones will protect anyone.

    • Deanna Fisher says:

      The problem with arguing that the shooter’s mother was untrained, at least as far as I can see, is that she was murdered while asleep in her own bed. It’s going to be a hard hill to climb (not that they won’t try) to say she didn’t secure them properly from another adult within the home. You are completely correct that the AR-15 has been held as a “common” use firearm. I suspect that the judge is enjoying her own 15 minutes of fame at the moment.

      • GWB says:

        The judge is enjoying her role at the pointy end of the spear, leading the charge into the progressive utopia, certainly.

        As to the being “murdered in her bed” – it doesn’t have any relevance in the argument I think they will be making. Unless the shooter broke into a military/police armory to get the weapon, they will argue that NO ONE (except, of course, the gov’t) should have “this sort” of weapon in a domicile or a civilian place of business.
        The argument will fail in any courtroom where logic, the law, the Constitution, and precedent hold sway. (Logic: the rifle is ubiquitous and involved in almost no shootings, as well as being of lesser capability than comparable military weapons; Law: PLCAA, common law, etc, protect the manufacturer of a legal product from liability for a non-defective product; Constitution: 2d Amendment for the win!; Precedent: the court decision saying an AR15 is very much a common gun and is protected.)

  • LB says:

    Sandy Hook PHONY Runs Away on LIVE TV!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm4WwjULRJ0

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