Is gun-maker liable?

Is gun-maker liable?

Family members of the children and adults killed in the Sandy Hook school massacre asked Connecticut's highest court to revive their lawsuit against Remington Arms Co., the maker of the AR-15 assault weapon used in the attack.

Following the conclusion Tuesday's arguments, the Connecticut Supreme Court will now decide whether the families of nine of the victims and one survivor can proceed with a trial seeking to hold Remington, along with a gun wholesaler and local retailer, responsible for the carnage based on its marketing.

Lawyers for a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in Newtown sued Bushmaster maker Remington, saying such a risky weapon initially designed for the military should have never been marketed and sold to the public.

The families' lawyers argue that this case falls under an exception in that law.

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.

"What happened in the school that morning was horrific", Vogts said.

The plaintiffs in the case - a survivor and relatives of nine people killed - sued Remington in 2015, citing the negligent entrustment exception and claiming the company violated a CT law against unfair sales and marketing practices.

A lower court threw out their case a year ago.

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In dismissing the suit last October, a judge cited federal law protecting gun manufacturers from litigation if their products are used during a crime.

Several of the victims' families attended the hearing and spoke after it.

"Five years have passed since our son Dylan was murdered in his first grade classroom, shot at least five times at point blank range with a Bushmaster variant of the military's primary battlefield rifle", he said. They argue that ads targeted a "younger demographic".

Legal experts said the case comes down to how the state Supreme Court will interpret two possible exceptions allowed under PLCAA - whether Remington can be held liable for so-called "negligent entrustment" or whether it violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

"That's how negligent entrustment works".

The argument has historically been used where someone lends a auto to a high-risk driver who goes on to cause an accident. "You can't launder negligence through other parties", said Koskoff.

"The manufacturer and the sellers of the firearms used by the criminal that day are not legally responsible", Vogts said.

"There are mass shootings all over the country now and the gun manufacturers don't want states interpreting the federal law and making different rules all over the country", Lytton said.

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