Society

Judge Dismisses Sandy Hook Lawsuit Against Gunmaker

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Marked Bushmaster version of an AR-15 Assault RifleMarked Bushmaster version of an AR-15 Assault Rifle

A Connecticut judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting against a gun manufacturer.

On Oct. 14, State Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis granted a motion by Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting, to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the families of nine children and adults who were killed and a teacher who survived the December 14, 2012, attack, Fox News reports.

In the lawsuit, the families argued that Remington Arms should be held accountable for the shooting since the company sold a semi-automatic rifle that, as their lawyers said, is too dangerous for public use because it was designed as a military killing machine.

Judge Bellis decided Remington Arms was not responsible for the attack, agreeing with the company’s lawyers that the case should be dismissed under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which Congress passed in 2005 to protect gun manufacturers and distributors from liability if their firearms are used in commission of a criminal act.

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The families’ attorneys tried to use an exception in the law to argue the case -- negligent entrustment -- where litigation is allowed against companies that know their weapons may pose a risk of injury to others.

Judge Bellis did not agree.

“[The] criminal misuse of a weapon [by Adam Lanza means the action] falls squarely within the broad immunity provided by PLCAA," Bellis said, according to CNN.

Lanza, the 20-year-old Sandy Hook shooter, shot and killed 20 children and six adults in the attack. He took his own life as police approached.

The families of the victims are not giving up their fight against Remington Arms.

"While the families are obviously disappointed with the judge's decision, this is not the end of the fight," lawyer Joshua Koskoff, who is representing the families, said. "We will appeal this decision immediately and continue our work to help prevent the next Sandy Hook from happening."

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut took to Twitter on Oct. 14 to express his disappointment with the judge’s decision.

“Disappointed by decision to dismiss the lawsuit brought by #SandyHook families," he tweeted. "#PLCAA denies victims of gun violence their day in court."

Remington Arms did not comment on the dismissal of the lawsuit to CNN, but previously said PLCAA provides it “complete immunity.”

Sources: Fox News, CNN, Chris Murphy/Twitter / Photo credit: Skinhead Sport Biker/Flickr

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