Sandy Hook shooting: Victims' kin to sue gun manufacturer Remington after Supreme Court nod

Sandy Hook shooting: Victims' kin to sue gun manufacturer Remington after Supreme Court nod
(Getty Images)

In a blow to the pro-gun lobby, the Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 12, said a survivor and relatives of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School gun carnage can pursue their lawsuit against the manufacturer of the rifle. Twenty-six people, including 20 children, were killed in the carnage at the Connecticut school on December 14, 2012, and the tragedy had left even the then-president Barack Obama in tears. 

The judges also rejected an appeal from Remington Arms that manufactured the semi-automatic rifle which was used at the Newtown school shootout. The gun-making company claimed that it should be protected by a 2005 federal law protecting firearms manufacturers from lawsuits when their products are used to carry out crimes.

All eyes will now be on the outcome of the case as it could open the door for families of victims of gun violence to sue the makers for damages.


Victims' families say Remington is trying to avoid responsibility

The families of the carnage victims thanked the Supreme Court. In a statement, they called blasted Remington saying its appeal is an attempt to avoid responsibility. Joshua Koskoff, the lawyer of the families, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press: “The families are just universally happy with this result,” he said. “They have wanted nothing more out of this case than to shed light on the conduct of the manufacturer of the weapon that was the source of taking the lives of their loved ones.”

Neil Heslin, father of six-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis, wipes tears as he testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee February 27, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on "The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013." (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The 2005 law under which the gun manufacturers take refuge when death lawsuits are brought by the members of the victims’ families has faced a challenge this time. The kin of the Sandy Hook tragedy victims are looking for a different approach by holding the Remington party responsible by targeting its marketing strategy.


Gun-maker's 'reckless advertisement' under scrutiny

The victims’ lawyers sued Remington saying the company marketed its weapons by extolling their ‘military’ qualities which was allegedly in violation of a law in Connecticut that bars deceptive marketing ploys. They argued that the rifle was “designed as a military weapon” and “engineered to deliver maximum carnage”.

“I support the Second Amendment and the right to own firearms and guns, but on the other hand, there’s reckless advertising and marketing. There should be accountability and responsibility for that,” Neil Heslin (picture above), whose six-year-old son Jesse Lewis died in the shooting carried by a 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was quoted as saying.

Remington finds sympathizers too

The gun industry was not impressed though. According to Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), it was disappointing that the Supreme Court refused to review the case but was confident that the gun manufacturer will win the trial. 

The then-president Barack Obama was in tears while speaking about the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre of December 2012. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Saying Remington’s advertisements did not encourage misuse of weapons, the NSSF said it was nothing but Lanza’s fault. The man shot his mother at his house and then committed suicide when the police arrived after the carnage. The weapon he carried was legally owned by his mother.

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