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CT court to hear appeal in Newtown school shooting case
14 November 2017, 10:49 | Glen Norman
Connecticut Supreme Court hears arguments in Newtown shooting case
A lawyer for families who lost loved ones in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting told Connecticut's highest court on Tuesday (local time) that Remington Outdoor Co should be held responsible because its military-themed marketing was created to appeal to young men like killer Adam Lanza. The suit also named Camfour Holding LLP, the gun's distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales Inc., the East Windsor gun shop where Nancy Lanza, Adam's mother, bought the AR-15.
Koskoff read marketing materials from Bushmaster, which said its AR-15-style rifle is "the uncompromising choice when you demand a rifle as mission-adaptable as you are". Gunman Adam Lanza's mother legally purchased the rifle. I think they knew exactly what they were doing. Negligent entrustment is specifically excepted from the 2005 gun maker shield laws. "You can't launder negligence through other parties", said Koskoff.
"Could you imagine the Ford Motor Company advertising a vehicle that can run over people?"
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"What we have here is the conduct of a corporation that thought it was above the law and still thinks its above the law", said lawyer Joshua Koskoff.
A lower CT court judge agreed with Remington and dismissed the lawsuit in October 2016, citing the 2005 federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that shields gun makers in most cases from liability over criminal use of their products.
James Vogts, a lawyer for Remington, told the court that the Bushmaster rifle is a legal firearm enjoyed by millions of recreational shooters, and the lawsuit isn't allowed under the federal law. They say it is allowed under an exemption to the federal law for common law "negligent entrustment", saying Remington entrusted to the public a product it knew, or should have known, could be used to injure others. "But no matter how much we wished those children and teachers were still alive, the law needs to be applied".
The legal landscape of suing firearms manufacturers has been mixed, with some lawsuits failing and others succeeding.
The killings at the Sandy Hook elementary school in CT - which claimed the lives of mostly children aged between six and seven in less than five minutes shortly before Christmas - shocked America and reignited the national debate about gun control. A federal ban on such weapons was passed in 2004 but it expired 10 years later.
He said and the other plaintiffs have "not lost one ounce of confidence in the justice of our case" and have the "utmost faith in the legal system to serve the people it's meant to protect". Ian Hockley, who lost his 6-year-old son, Dylan, in the shooting, told reporters after the proceeding that families were "running out of patience" over the gun maker's ability to escape liability.
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Several parents of children who died in the Newtown shooting attended Tuesday's court hearing.
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