Law & the Courts

Supreme Court Allows Sandy Hook Lawsuit against Gun Manufacturer to Proceed

A new Ruger AR-15 rifle is seen for sale at the Pony Express Firearms shop in Parker, Colo., December 7, 2015. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to block a lawsuit brought by parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting against Remington, the firearms manufacturer that made the AR-15 rifle used in the shooting.

The high court rejected an appeal from Remington Arms Co. and will allow the lawsuit against the company, brought by one survivor and relatives of nine victims, to proceed at the state level.

The 2012 massacre by a 20-year-old lone male left 20 students and six educators dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Remington argued that a 2005 federal law prevents it from liability in case one of its weapons is used in a crime.

However, the lawsuit, Remington Arms Co. vs. Soto, alleges that the Madison, North Carolina-based gun manufacturer marketed the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle “for use in assaults against human beings.” The plaintiffs claim the company used product placement in violent video games as well as marketing pitches such as, “consider your man card reissued,” and “If it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for you.”

The Connecticut Supreme Court previously ruled 4 to 3 in favor of one portion of the survivor and parents’s case, saying state consumer protection law bars marketing techniques that encourage criminal behavior.

“Connecticut law does not permit advertisements that promote or encourage violent, criminal behavior,” the court stated.

Remington said in a court filing that the case is “widely recognized as a bellwether for the future of firearms litigation nationwide.”

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