Court takes up Newtown law­suit

Is gun-maker li­able for shoot­ing that killed 20 first­graders and six teach­ers?

The Times-Tribune - - Nation & World - BY DAVE COLLINS

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS HART­FORD, Conn. — Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza heard the mes­sage loud and clear when gun-maker Rem­ing­ton Arms mar­keted an AR-15-style ri­fle as an over­pow­er­ing weapon fa­vored by elite mil­i­tary forces, a lawyer for rel­a­tives of some vic­tims of the mas­sacre told the Connecticut Supreme Court on Tues­day.

Lanza, who killed 20 first­graders and six ed­u­ca­tors with a Bush­mas­ter XM15E2S on Dec. 14, 2012, was ob­sessed with vi­o­lent video games and idol­ized the Army Rangers, at­tor­ney Joshua Koskoff said.

Koskoff asked the high court to re­in­state a wrong­ful death law­suit against Madi­son, North Carolina-based Rem­ing­ton. He said the Bush­mas­ter ri­fle and other AR-15-style firearms were de­signed as mil­i­tary killing ma­chines and are too dan­ger­ous for the pub­lic, but Rem­ing­ton glo­ri­fied them and mar­keted them to a younger de­mo­graphic that in­cluded the 20-year-old Lanza.

“Adam Lanza heard the mes­sage,” Koskoff told the jus­tices, whose de­ci­sion isn’t ex­pected for sev­eral months. “They mar­keted the weapon for ex­actly what it was. They used images of sol­diers in com­bat. They used slo­gans in­vok­ing bat­tle and high­pres­sure mis­sions.

“Rem­ing­ton may never have known Adam Lanza, but they had been court­ing him for years,” he said.

Mil­i­tary-style ri­fles have been used in many other mass shoot­ings, in­clud­ing in Las Ve­gas last month and a church in Suther­land Springs, Texas, ear­lier this month. They also were used in the Columbine High School and Aurora movie theater shoot­ings in Colorado.

The Connecticut case is be­ing watched by gun rights sup­port­ers and gun con­trol ad­vo­cates across the coun­try as one that could af­fect other cases ac­cus­ing gun-mak­ers of be­ing re­spon­si­ble for mass shoot­ings. Sev­eral groups, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion and emer­gency room doc­tors, submitted briefs to the court.

At is­sue is a 2005 fed­eral law that ex­empts gun-mak­ers from li­a­bil­ity when their prod­ucts are used in crimes and two ex­cep­tions to the law.

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