Court Hears Arguments in Sandy Hook Lawsuit Against Gun Maker

A JAN. 28 2013 FILE

Lawyers for several families of the victims claim manufacturer Remington Arms, along with a gun wholesaler and local retailer, should be held responsible for the massacre in Newtown.

Vogts stated that the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle is primarily used for hunting, target practice and home defense, not only for military use.

"Remington may have never known Adam Lanza, but they had been courting him for years", Koskoff said. "But no matter how much we wished those children and teachers were still alive, the law needs to be applied".

In his response, Koskoff hit back against the idea that Remington's advertising made it liable and that it can't hide behind the negligent entrustment law.

The issue has gained even more national attention since Sandy Hook. It ruled that gunmakers have broad immunity from liability under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Assault weapons were banned in CT after the Sandy Hook shooting. A judge allowed his family to sue the slingshot manufacturer.

"Nothing will ever bring back my son, Dylan, or the other lives stolen from us on that bad day", Nicole Hockley said a year ago when the appeal was filed.

On the same day as the hearing, at least three people, including the shooter, were killed and two children wounded in a shooting at an elementary school in Northern California. But, Hockley said, while the military takes great care of controlling its weapons, the manufacturers actively market them to unstable people.

Lawyers for a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in Newtown sued Bushmaster maker Remington, saying such a unsafe weapon initially designed for the military should have never been marketed and sold to the public.

Judges have cited the federal law in rejecting lawsuits against gun makers and dealers in some high-profile shooting attacks, including the Colorado movie theatre shooting and the Washington, D.C., sniper shootings.

If it moves forward, they will go to what's called a discovery phase where they could get access to Remington's emails and documents on their gun marketing strategies.

"A plaintiff under CUTPA must allege some kind of consumer, competitor, or other commercial relationship with a defendant, and the plaintiffs here have alleged no such relationship", the judge wrote.

"This will come down to whether the Supreme Court believes negligent entrustment can be satisfied by the release of the gun to the general public rather than as a sale to a specific person", Lytton said. Defense attorney James Vogts stated that the lawsuit would require a reinterpretation of the law itself.

If the Sandy Hook families are successful, Timothy Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University, said on Monday he would expect the US Supreme Court to take up the case.

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