HARTFORD, CT – The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a petition from the maker of the gun used in the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting.
The court rejected an appeal from Remington Arms, the National Rifle Association, 10 states, and nearly two dozen members of Congress about how it marketed the Bushmaster assault rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting.
As such, the families of the nine victims and one survivor now are allowed to pursue their claims in a Connecticut court.
“The families are grateful that the Supreme Court upheld precedent and denied Remington’s latest attempt to avoid accountability,” Josh Koskoff of Koskoff, Koskoff, and Bieder, said in an emailed statement. “We are ready to resume discovery and proceed towards trial in order to shed light on Remington’s profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users at the expense of Americans’ safety.”
The families and survivor claim that the gun maker violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act when they knowingly marketed and promoted the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle for use in assaults against human beings. The plaintiffs allege that the illegal marketing “caused their injuries, which arise from the terror, pain and suffering, and death of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.”
Remington petitioned the justices for a reversal after the Connecticut Supreme Court advanced the underlying suit in March.
“The families deserve their day in court, and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act affords them that right,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said. “The AR-15 is a weapon of war designed to inflict maximum lethality and should never have been marketed to civilians. Connecticut’s consumer laws were designed to protect against these kinds of harmful commercial activities. These families have suffered unimaginable trauma and heartbreak, and it is my sincere hope that this case provides a measure of justice.”
While families of the 20 first graders and six educators killed at Sandy Hook say that Remington marketed XM15-E2S weapons to civilians for criminal purposes, Remington said in its court filings that its conduct is shielded by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005.
Congress passed the law to “ensure that firearms — so central to American society that the Founders safeguarded their ownership and use in the Bill of Rights — would be regulated only through the democratic process rather than the vagaries of litigation,” Remington argued in its August petition for certiorari.
“For years, gun manufacturers have been allowed to operate with near-blanket immunity – producing weapons of war and marketing them to the masses with zero accountability,” U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in a statement. “This critical victory reinforces the need for Congress to pass legislation repealing the gun industry’s sweetheart immunity deal and unlocking the doors to justice for all victims of gun violence.”
Calls and emails to attorneys representing Remington Arms were not returned.