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November 19, 2017

Sandy Hook families' suit against gunmaker heads to Connecticut Supreme Court


Sandy Hook families’ suit against gunmaker heads to Connecticut Supreme Court

HARTFORD, Conn. —The 10 families trying to hold the nation’s oldest gunmaker liable for the…



The 10 families trying to hold the nation’s oldest gunmaker liable for the worst crime in Connecticut history will make their best argument Tuesday in the state’s highest court.

The families’ date in state Supreme Court in Hartford will be brief – perhaps no more than an hour.

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But the arguments made by their lead attorney, Josh Koskoff, and the lead attorney for Remington – the maker of the AR-15-style rifle used in the 2012 massacre of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School – could have far-reaching effects.

Although the families’ wrongful death lawsuit against the gunmaker has been seen as less of a landmark case since it was thrown out of court in 2016 and more of a long shot now that it is under appeal, the lawsuit continues to attract national attention because of its potential to change the way firearms are made and marketed.

The families charge that Remington is liable for their losses even though federal law protects the industry from most claims when firearms are misused. The reason: that the company negligently entrusted the rifle to civilian buyers by ignoring the risk that it would be misused, the families argue.

At stake for the firearms industry is preserving its Second Amendment protections and preventing what attorneys see as an attempt to impose gun control through the courts.

Remington lead attorney Jonathan Whitcomb argues that the company manufactured a legal rifle that was distributed legally and sold legally to Nancy Lanza in 2010.

Two years later, Nancy Lanza’s troubled 20-year-old son killed her, took that rifle from an unlocked closet, shot his way into the locked Newtown and killed 20 first-graders and six educators.

In this Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, white roses with the faces of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are attached to a telephone pole near the school in Newtown, Conn.

AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File

In this Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, white roses with the faces of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are attached to a telephone pole near the school in Newtown, Conn. 

Remington’s argument prevailed in Superior Court in 2016. Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that although the 1995 federal law giving the gun industry broad immunity against liability claims when firearms are misused has a “negligent entrustment” exemption, the families had not made a decisive case for it.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the families’ appeal earlier this year.

The appeal will be heard by a panel of seven justices.

“Each side will have about thirty minutes for oral arguments,” said Paul Hartan, chief administrative officer of state Supreme Court. “Each side will have a chance to state their case and answer questions from the justices.”


Source: Sandy Hook families’ suit against gunmaker heads to Connecticut Supreme Court

Sandy Hook families’ suit against gunmaker heads to Connecticut Supreme Court


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