Sandy Hook Sues Remington Arms Co.

On Nov. 12, the Supreme Court denied Remington Arms Co.’s request to block a lawsuit filed by the families of victims of the Sandy Hook School Massacre. 

Remington, the company who manufactured the Bushmaster XM15-E2S (more commonly known as an AR-15) rifle used in the shooting that killed 26 people (including 20 first graders), said the case, “presents a nationally important question” about gun laws in the United States. 

It is especially poignant concerning the interpretation of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which granted gun manufacturers and dealers broad immunity against prosecution of crimes committed with their products.

The lawsuit was first filed by ten Sandy Hook families (nine of which lost a family member in the shooting) in December of 2014, claiming that the Bushmaster XM15-E2S should not have been sold to the public, due to its status as a military-style weapon. 

This, according to the families, violates Connecticut’s unfair trade practices law, as Remington, “knowingly marketed and promoted the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle for use in assaults against human beings.”

The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act has a notable exception allowing for this case to go forward because the act allows lawsuits against a gun-maker or seller when they knowingly violate state or federal laws governing how a product is sold or marketed. Back in March of 2019, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the Sandy Hook families can sue Remington for marketing a military-style weapon to civilians.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to take up Remington’s appeal, it will go return back down to a lower court in Connecticut.

In 2016, Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan died in the Sandy Hook Massacre, said the gunman chose the AR-15 style gun “because he knew it would kill as many people as possible as fast as possible.”

This statement holds truth to it, since in filings with the Supreme Court, Remington promotional advertisements were cited as marketing “‘military-proven performance’ for a ‘mission-adaptable shooter’ in need of the ‘ultimate combat weapons system.’”

Mt. Hebron sophomore Ethan Doan believes that while Remington was selling the gun, they should in no way be sued for its use in the Sandy Hook Massacre. 

Doan said that, “the evidence shown against (Remington) was simply an attempt to promote their product, not them promoting any kind of mass violence.”

There was another advertisement from Remington cited in Supreme Court filings by the Sandy Hook families for the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle that stated, “Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered.”

Mt. Hebron sophomore Jeremy Roberts-Kleban disagrees with the sentiment shared by Doan, saying “Remington specifically market (the Bushmaster) as a weapon to be used against another human being. Therefore, they are at fault.” 

Roberts-Kleban went on to say, “Gun manufacturers, and especially gun sellers, should be at fault if a crime is committed with their weapons.”

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