Nine families with loved ones killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting accepted a $73 million settlement from four insurers representing the gun maker Remington Arms.
Remington, which marketed the AR-15 used in the shooting, will also have to disclose thousands of pages of internal company documents, according to attorneys for the nine families.
Five years ago the Connecticut Supreme Court decided to allow the families to pursue their case against Remington Arms based on the marketing of the AR-15 style firearm used by the shooter.
Remington argued that it was immune from the lawsuit because of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Emails to the company for comment on the settlement were not immediately returned.
“These nine families have shared a single goal from the very beginning: to do whatever they could to help prevent the next Sandy Hook. It is hard to imagine an outcome that better accomplishes that goal,” Josh Koskoff of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder said. “This victory should serve as a wake up call not only to the gun industry, but also the insurance and banking companies that prop it up. For the gun industry, it’s time to stop recklessly marketing all guns to all people for all uses and instead ask how marketing can lower risk rather than court it.”
Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed in the shooting, said she hopes it will force the industry to make the companies more accountable.
“My beautiful butterfly, Dylan, is gone because Remington prioritized its profit over my son’s safety. Marketing weapons of war directly to young people known to have a strong fascination with firearms is reckless and, as too many families know, deadly conduct,” Hockley said. “Using marketing to convey that a person is more powerful or more masculine by using a particular type or brand of firearm is deeply irresponsible.”
“Before we brought this case, gunmakers thought they could not be held accountable for mass shootings. This case shows they can be,” Alinor Sterling of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, said. “It is already serving as a model for other gun cases across the country. When an industry can be held accountable for its behavior, that behavior becomes more responsible.”
In July 2021, Remington offered $33 million to settle the case. The families did not accept it. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2020.
“Today is not about honoring our son Benjamin. Today is about how and why Ben died,” Francine Wheeler said. “It is about what is right and what is wrong. Our legal system has given us some justice today, but David and I will never have true justice. True justice would be our fifteen-year-old healthy and here with us. But Benny will never be 15. He will be 6 forever because he is gone forever.”