On Friday, a judge dealt a devastating blow to families involved in the tragic Sandy Hook shooting of December 2012 when she put an end to their collective lawsuit against gun maker Remington Arms. The survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre sued the gun maker in an attempt to hold Remington responsible for the carnage caused by the gun used in the shooting, a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, that the company made and profited from.
According to the Sandy Hook families, they filed their lawsuit against the gun maker because Remington made and sold what they said was nothing more than a “military killing machine.” According to lawyers for the Sandy Hook families, had the gun maker not sold such a dangerous, semi-automatic weapon, 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza would not have been able to shoot and kill 26 people, including 20 children, that day.
As Fox News reports, the Sandy Hook gun maker lawsuit was filed by the family members of 10 of the people killed at Sandy Hook, as well as a surviving teacher.
State Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ultimately granted a motion filed by Remington Arms to throw out the Sandy Hook lawsuit against the company, citing a federal law that protects gun makers when weapons are used illegally to cause harm. The federal law in question has been disputed for years, with many gun rights opponents believing that it allows gun manufacturers to legally sell guns designed to do nothing other than kill people.
The law that led to the downfall of the Sandy Hook gun maker lawsuit is known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The Act was passed in 2005, and it is intended to protect gun makers, such as Remington, from civil liability when their guns are used to commit crimes — even violent crimes that result in massive loss of life, such as what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary nearly four years ago.
Supporters of the law that doomed (at least for now) the Sandy Hook gun maker lawsuit have said that it was passed by Congress to prevent abuse of the legal system by victims of gun violence and their families. Opponents of the law disagree, criticizing the federal law as being nothing more than “special protection for gun makers,” and some senators are currently working on legislation to repeal the controversial law that shields gun manufacturers from financial responsibility in instance of gun violence.
According to lawyers working for the Sandy Hook family on behalf of their gun maker lawsuit, the Sandy Hook lawsuit should have proceeded. They say that their lawsuit should have fallen into a loophole that allows those victimized by weapons that “are likely to be used in a way that risks injury to others.” According to the Sandy Hook lawyers, the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle was intended to be a “killing machine,” and the gun maker either knew or should have known that the weapon was “likely to be used in a way that risked injury to others.”
Judge Barbara Bellis apparently disagreed with the Sandy Hook families’ lawyers, however, and sided with the gun maker, unceremoniously dismissing the lawsuit against Remington Arms.
The Sandy Hook families’ lawyers, including Joshua Koskoff, have promised to keep fighting and to file an immediate appeal against the judge’s controversial decision to dismiss the lawsuit against the gun maker.
“While the families are obviously disappointed with the judge’s decision, this is not the end of the fight. We will appeal this decision immediately and continue our work to help prevent the next Sandy Hook from happening.”
Neither the gun maker nor their legal team has been willing to comment or issue a statement regarding Friday’s ruling.
While the Sandy Hook lawsuit against the gun maker that manufactured the weapon that was used to massacre so many innocent people was dismissed, the Remington Arms is not the sole defendant in the Sandy Hook families’ case. They are also suing firearms distributor Camfour and the retailer Riverview Gun Sales, whose doors have closed for good in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. Riverview Gun Sales was the location where shooter Adam Lanza’s mother legally purchased the Remington rifle used in the senseless, tragic Sandy Hook murders.
Because the attorneys for the Sandy Hook families have promised to continue their fight and appeal Friday’s decision, it is likely that the gun maker lawsuit will get new life in the days and weeks to come.
[Featured Image by Julio Cortez/AP Images]