Newtown Families' Lawyers See Loophole To Sue Gun Manufacturers

Victims of Gun Violence Hope to Change Federal Laws

Judges on the Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments from lawyers representing the families, gun manufacturer Remington, the Connecticut shop that sold the weapon to the shooter's mother and Massachusetts-based arms distributor Camfour.

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.

Lawyers for the family members asked the court to revive the suit that was dismissed a year ago by Judge Barbara Bellis in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

A lower court threw out their case previous year.

The families have argued Bushmaster Firearms International, maker of the rifle, and parent Remington should have known that mass shootings such as the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School might result from selling military-grade weapons with 30-round clips to civilians.

James Vogts, the lawyer for Remington told justices that under the law, the manufacturer of the gun used at Sandy Hook is not liable for the damage Adam Lanza caused. They argue that ads targeted a "younger demographic". He got it for his 18th birthday ... remember he was 14 years old when they started this marketing plan. "They marketed the weapon for exactly what it was". Negligent entrustment is specifically excepted from the 2005 gun maker shield laws. "You can't launder negligence through other parties", Koskoff said.

"Could you imagine the Ford Motor Company advertising a vehicle that can run over people?" "What we have is the conduct of a corporation that thought it was above the law and still thinks it's above the law". The National Rifle Association and other gun rights supporters have submitted legal briefs, as have gun control advocates.

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2015, was dismissed in 2016 by a lower court.

Defense attorneys in the case claim that Remington is protected from such lawsuits by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). The other allows lawsuits alleging manufacturers knowingly violated a state or federal law that applies to the sale or marketing of firearms. "They used images of soldiers in combat". "No matter how much we wished those children and teachers were still alive, the law needs to be applied", Vogts told justices.

Attorneys for Remington have said the rifle used in Newtown was legally made, legally distributed and legally sold to Lanza's mother. A federal ban on such weapons was passed in 2004 but it expired 10 years later.

"They could not care less what happens to their guns once their cash is in the bank, showing an utter disregard for the lives this weapon takes, and the families it destroys", says Ian Hockley, a father of one of the victims.

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