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Sandy Hook Parents Try Reinstating Lawsuit Against Remington

— March 3, 2017

The parents of some of the Sandy Hook Massacre’s victims are asking the State Supreme Court to reinstate a lawsuit against Remington, a large firearms manufacturer.

The attorney for the families participating in the litigation, Josh Koskoff, filed a 62-page document outlining their argument. Koskoff and his clients believe Remington knowingly marketed its AR-15 Bushmaster to aggressive young men fascinated with violent video games and the macabre.

Adam Lanza, who carried out the attack on a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, used the Bushmaster to murder twenty children and half a dozen adults.

The AR-15 Bushmaster used by Adam Lanza in the massacre; photo courtesy of Getty Images

The Hartford Courant provided a quote from the document Koskoff filed:

“Remington reached its desired demographic: young men like Adam Lanza. Plaintiffs allege that Adam was a devoted player of first-person shooter games and partial to the AR-15 for committing virtual violence,” the attorney wrote. “He was obsessed with the military and aspired to join the elite Army Rangers unit. But when Adam turned 18 on April 22, 2010, he did not enlist; rather than submit to rigorous mental health screening he almost certainly would have failed – and in any event uninterested in strict military oversight – Adam Lanza chose a simpler path: unfettered access to the Bushmaster.”

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis had ruled in favor of Remington, stating that the manufacturer was immune to the lawsuit by way of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

The families of the Sandy Hook victims had tried to persuade the courts that Remington ran afoul of “negligent entrustment” laws, marketing a high-powered weapon to civilians instead of law enforcement or the military.

Koskoff is hoping a ruling made thirty years ago in Michigan could get an appeals court to reconsider. In 1977, a lawsuit “was allowed to go before a jury ruling that the company entrusted the slingshot to a class of people, in this case children, that made the ultimate accident [a boy being shot in the eye with a pellet] foreseeable.”

Lawyers for the plaintiffs believe Remington’s provision of the AR-15 to civilians fits the bill of a foreseeable tragedy. Forbes notes the families had also sued the distributor who purchased the gun from Remington as well as the dealer who sold it to Adam Lanza’s mother.

Bellis refuted the “negligent entrustment” argument, opining that “to extend the theory of negligent entrustment to the class of nonmilitary, nonpolice citizens – the general public – would imply that the general public lacks the ordinary prudence necessary to handle an object Congress regards as appropriate for sale to the general public.”

“This the court is unwilling to do,” the judge concluded.


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