Connecticut judge dismisses Sandy Hook
families' suit against gunmaker
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[October 15, 2016]
(Reuters) - A Connecticut judge on
Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the families of some of the 26 young
children and adults killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2012,
saying the maker of the rifle used in the attack had "broad immunity"
under federal law.
The lawsuit, filed in December 2014 and seeking unspecified financial
damages, said the AR-15 military-syle assault weapon used in the attack
in Newtown, Connecticut, should never have been sold to the gunman's
mother, Nancy Lanza, because it had no reasonable civilian purpose.
Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis sided with Remington Arms, the North
Carolina-based maker of the rifle known as the Bushmaster that
20-year-old Adam Lanza used in his rampage at Sandy Hook. The 2005
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act protected Remington from being
sued for the use of its products in an illegal manner, Bellis ruled.
"The present case seeks damages for harms, including the deaths of the
plaintiffs' decedents that were caused solely by the criminal misuse of
a weapon by Adam Lanza," Bellis wrote in a 54-page decision. "This
action falls squarely within the broad immunity provided by PLCAA."
An attorney for the families vowed to appeal the decision.
"While the families are obviously disappointed with the judge's
decision, this is not the end of the fight," attorney Josh Koskoff said
in a statement. "We will appeal this decision immediately and continue
our work to help prevent the next Sandy Hook from happening."
Remington could not be reached for immediate comment.
Lanza began his Dec. 14, 2012, attack by shooting his mother dead in
their home and ended it by turning his gun on himself as he heard police
[to top of second column]
Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis during a hearing to hear
arguments brought to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against rifle
maker Remington Arms, over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre
in Bridgeport, Connecticut, June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ned Gerard/Hearst
Connecticut Media/Pool/File photo
So-called assault rifles like the Bushmaster, capable of inflicting
rapid carnage, have been used in several recent mass shooting in the
United States. Those include the June attack on a gay nightclub in
Orlando, Florida, that took 49 lives and was the deadliest shooting
in U.S. history.
The AR-15 was developed from the U.S. military's M-16 rifle, used in
the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Unlike the military version, the AR-15
is not fully automatic, meaning users must pull the trigger each
time they want to fire a shot.
(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Tom Brown)
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