The Connecticut Supreme Court's decision Thursday to revive a liability lawsuit against the maker of the AR-15 used to kill 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School potentially allows an unprecedented examination of how the gun industry turned a firearm with military origins into the most popular rifle in the US civilian market.
Several lawsuits over mass shootings in other states have been rejected because of the federal law. "Today's decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal", Koskoff said.
The ruling allows the plaintiffs to move forward with claims that Remington's marketing campaigns violated Connecticut's consumer-protection law, which prohibits advertising and marketing that is "immoral and unscrupulous".
The dissent was written by Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson, who stressed that the PLCAA preempts the claims based on advertisement.
As reported by David Altimari at The Hartford Courant, a Bridgeport Superior Court judge had dismissed the lawsuit in 2016, stating that it fell afoul of provisions in the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that shield gun manufacturers from liability when firearms they have made are used in crimes.
CT law, the court wrote in the majority opinion, "does not permit advertisements that promote or encourage violent, criminal behavior".
"Because the distastefulness of a federal law does not diminish its preemptive effect, I would affirm the judgment of the trial court striking the plaintiff's complaint in its entirety", Robinson wrote.
NEWTOWN, CT - UNSPECIFED DATE: In this handout crime scene evidence photo provided by the Connecticut State Police, shows a Bushmaster rifle in Room 10 at Sandy Hook Elementary School following the December 14, 2012 shooting rampage, taken on an unspecified date in Newtown, Connecticut.
Remington can now petition SCOTUS to hear this case because it involves a federal statute.
"The regulation of advertising that threatens the public's health, safety, and morals has always been considered a core exercise of the states' police powers", wrote Justice Richard Powers.
Families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre have successfully filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of AR-15 rifles, in a ruling that could have far-reaching implications for the gun industry. There are consequences. We want our day in court to see why they do this this way, and what needs to change'. But the state Supreme Court said that this angle of the case is not feasible legally.
The decision represents a major victory for the families of the 20 first-grade children and six educators who were killed in one of the deadliest mass shootings in USA history, which inflamed outrage among gun control advocates who demanded lawmakers work to prevent mass shooting. Courts have dismissed other similar wrongful death lawsuits on those grounds.
[The Sandy Hook attacker] carried out this massacre using a Bushmaster XM15-E2S semiautomatic rifle that was allegedly manufactured, distributed, and ultimately sold to [his] mother by the various defendants in this case. The lawsuit will now allow the plaintiffs to gain access to internal Remington documents that can shed light on its advertising practices.