Court takes up Newtown lawsuit
Is gun-maker liable for shooting that killed 20 firstgraders and six teachers?
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.