WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to protect a major gun manufacturer from potential school shootings in 2012 that left 26 students and teachers dead in Newtown, Conn.
The lawsuit permits a lawsuit filed by parents of victims from Sandy Hook Elementary School to proceed at the state level, on the charge that Remington Arms Co. promoted the military style used in the mass shooter "for use in human abuse."
The case tests the scope of a 2005 law passed by Congress to protect firearms manufacturers from being held responsible for crimes committed by gun buyers. That law was hailed by the National Rifle Association, but it included exceptions, including one to violate rules related to marketing and advertising.
Gun control advocates have said that a victory of the families in the protracted dispute can lead to more trials and damaging disclosures involving the firearms industry.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in March 4-3 that Remington could be sued because of how the AR-15-style Bushmaster rifle was marketed. The family's lawsuit claims that Remington glorified the gun in advertisements aimed at young people, including in violent video games.
The Sandy Hook Killer, Adam Lanza, was 20 years old when he shot and killed his mother at home, then went to the Newtown school and beat down first graders and teachers. Lanza then killed himself.
The Supreme Court already has a gun law case on its deck. That case, which will be heard in early December, will determine whether a New York City regulation restricting the transportation of legally owned weapons violates their owners' constitutional rights.
In court papers, Donald Verrilli, the attorney for the families suing Remington, said that its advertising "continued to exploit the imagination of a surpassing lone gunman and declared:" Resilience, bend. You're alone surpassed. ""
Scott Keller, the attorney representing Remington, told the court that under the 2005 federal law, the trial is "exactly the type of case arising out of a criminal misuse of a firearm that" must not be brought in any federal or state court. ""