Nine families and one survivor lost a lawsuit earlier this year that was filed against gun companies after the tragic Sandy Hook massacre. On Thursday, the Connecticut Supreme Court announced that it would hear an appeal from the families of the victims. The suit is against those who produce and sell AR-15s; the type of gun used in the 2012 shooting. Specifically, the case names Remington Arms, the parent company of Bushmaster Firearms, as a defendant.
The case was dismissed in October, by a judge who ruled that federal law shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products, agreeing with Remington’s argument. The judge cited the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed by Congress in 2005, saying it protects gun makers from such lawsuits.
Attorneys for the victims’ families’ argue the lawsuit was allowed under an exception to the act, but the judge disagreed. The case was appealed in Appellate Court but the state Supreme Court announced Thursday it was transferring the case to its docket and bypassing that step. Nicole Hockley, whose son, Dylan, was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting said, “We are grateful that the Connecticut Supreme Court will hear our case immediately. Our goal is and always has been to help prevent the next Sandy Hook, and today is an important step in that direction.”
Katie Mesner-Hage, a lawyer with Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder said, “This case raises critical questions about reasonableness and accountability in an era where combat rifles are deliberately marketed as weapons of war, no matter how many schools are transformed into battlefields as a result. The Supreme Court is best positioned to decide those questions.”
The suit claimed that the defendants violated Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act by “unethically” marketing and selling the AR-15 to the public when, as they say, it is a really designed to be a military weapon that can “inflict mass carnage.” The suit claims that the gun’s ability to shoot 30 rounds in less than 10 seconds allows for prolonged assaults that can be taken against even those wearing military armor.