The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a survivor and relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown to pursue their lawsuit against Remington Arms, the maker of the rifle used to kill 26 people.
The Madison, North Carolina-based firearms manufacturer had maintained it should be protected by a 2005 federal law preventing most lawsuits against those manufacturers when their products are used in crimes. By refusing to hear Remington’s appeal, the justices have paved the way for the families’ lawsuit to go forward.
The families behind the lawsuit say that Remington should be held liable for the murders because it sold the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used to commit the crimes, and that it targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games.
In filings with the U.S. Supreme Court, the Sandy Hook families said Remington “published promotional materials that promised ‘military-proven performance’ for a ‘mission-adaptable’ shooter in need of the ‘ultimate combat weapons system.'” They are also accusing the company of fostering a “lone gunman” narrative as it promoted the Bushmaster, citing an ad that proclaimed, “Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered.”
Gov. Ned Lamont said the Supreme Court’s action “may not bring full closure for those impacted, but it is a step toward progress in their fight for justice. However, we still need a moment of action in Washington to bring an end to the mass shootings that have become an everyday tragedy for our nation.”
Joe Biden, the former U.S. vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said that “There’s a straight line from those brave Newtown parents, to the activism of the Parkland students, to the millions of others who’ve said ‘enough’ in the long years between and since those tragedies. They’re using every tool of democracy: in the streets, at the polls, and today, in the courts.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry group based in Newtown, said it was disappointed that the Supreme Court would not review the case, but expressed confidence that Remington would win in the trial court.
“Nothing in Remington’s advertising of these products connotes or encourages the illegal or negligent misuse of firearms,” the group said. “We continue to feel sympathy toward the Sandy Hook victims, as (the National Shooting Sports Foundation) is headquartered in Newtown, but (shooter) Adam Lanza alone is responsible for his heinous actions.”
The case will now proceed in a Connecticut Superior Court.