The Remington Deal With the Sandy Hook School Massacre Victims’ Parents
Social Justice Policy Brief #33 | By: Inijah Quadri | February 22, 2022
Header photo taken from: The Wall Street Journal
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Photo taken from: BBC
On the 14th of December, 2012, Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old shooter, murdered children and educators using a Remington rifle lawfully owned by Lanza’s mother.
Before turning the handgun on himself as police closed in on their Newtown house, Lanza killed his mother in her bed and then took the rifle to the school and opening fire for five minutes.
As a result of Lanza’s mental illness, fascination with violence, and access to his mother’s firearms, Connecticut’s child advocate called it “a prescription for mass murder”.
A lawsuit filed by the nine families of those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School murder in 2012 has been settled with the maker of the AR-15 semi-automatic weapon that was used in the slaughter of 20 children ages six and seven, as well as six teachers.
There will be $73 million paid up by Remington to resolve lawsuits filed in 2015 by families who claimed that their loved ones were killed by Remington’s sale of illegal assault rifles. It was their goal, according to the plaintiffs, to stop other mass shootings in the future.
Apparently, the AR-15 weapon used by the shooter was advertised to at-risk young men via product placement in violent video games. Remington advertised the rifle with the slogan “Consider Your Man Card Reissued”.After the Sandy Hook massacre, the manufacturer was hit with a slew of lawsuits and sales restrictions.
“It was never about compensation in the sense of damages in this instance.” At a press conference announcing the settlement, lawyer Josh Koskoff, a representative for the families, stated, “It was about damages, in the sense of forcing change”. To that end, Koskoff urged gun manufacturers to take greater responsibility for the way their goods are used, saying, “It’s money that gets their attention.”
As a result of the Sandy Hook lawsuit, which was filed in Connecticut in 2015, the weapons industry has come under assault for its alleged role in the country’s rampant pandemic of gun violence. It was predicted that the case would lead to an unprecedented wave of gun-related lawsuits or fundamentally alter the landscape of such cases. Legal scholars who have examined the history of gun industry cases insist it is doubtful that this will happen.
To understand why, we must first look at the federal liability shield that protects gun-makers. It’s called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and it shields gun manufacturers from lawsuits stemming from the illegal exploitation of their products.
Sandy Hook relatives, on the other hand, claimed that their case was exempt from federal immunity. They asserted that the Unfair Trade Practices Act of Connecticut, which they believed applies to the marketing of firearms, was violated since this marketing was immoral.
Victims of gun violence may file similar lawsuits in other jurisdictions that have legislation comparable to Connecticut’s regarding unfair business practices. Consequently, victims may contend that a gun manufacturer’s aggressive marketing of combat-style weapons violates state laws that apply to the sale or marketing of a firearm – such as an unfair trade practice law.
Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo
New California legislation is attempting to amend these rather stringent regulations. One measure would focus on ghost weapons, while another would prohibit some firearm advertisements from being directed at children under the age of 18. California is attempting to impose stricter regulations on the marketing and distribution of weapons by the gun industry, as well as the ability for the state Department of Justice and gun crime victims to file lawsuits against individuals who violate the state’s harsh firearms laws.
The California law would empower a plaintiff to seek injunctive relief to prohibit the transfer of guns, as well as recover $10,000 in damages for each handgun implicated in a complaint under certain circumstances.
These lawsuits brought against the gun business are aimed at encouraging gun manufacturers and retailers to develop goods that are less likely to be used for criminal purposes and to keep them out of illicit markets.
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