Sandy Hook families settle $73 million with gun maker Remington – Daily Local

By DAVE COLLINS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have agreed to a $73 million settlement of a lawsuit against the maker of the gun used to kill 20 first graders and six educators in 2012, their attorney said Tuesday.

The case has been closely watched by gun control advocates, gun rights supporters and manufacturers because of its potential to provide a roadmap for victims of other shootings to sue manufacturers. of firearms.

The families and a survivor of the shooting sued Remington in 2015, claiming the company should never have sold such a dangerous weapon to the public. They said their goal was to prevent future mass shootings.

“Today is a day of responsibility for an industry that has so far enjoyed operating with complete immunity and impunity,” said Véronique De La Rosa, whose 6-year-old son Noah was killed in the shooting, during a press conference.

Messages seeking comment were left for Remington and its attorneys on Tuesday.

The Connecticut civil court case focused on how the firearm used by the Newtown shooter – a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle – was marketed, alleging it targeted younger and older men. risk in marketing and product placement in violent video games. In one of Remington’s advertisements, it features the rifle on a plain background and the phrase: “Consider your man card reissued”.

As part of the settlement, Remington, which made the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used in the massacre, also agreed to allow the families to release many of the documents they obtained during the trial, including those showing how he marketed the gun, the families said. .

Remington had argued that there was no evidence to establish that its marketing had anything to do with the shooting.

The company also said the lawsuit should have been dismissed because of a federal law that grants broad immunity to the gun industry. But the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that Remington could be sued under state law over how he marketed the rifle. The arms maker appealed to the US Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.

Remington, one of the nation’s oldest firearms makers founded in 1816, filed for bankruptcy for a second time in 2020 and its assets were later sold to multiple companies. The manufacturer has been dogged by lawsuits and retail restrictions following the school shooting.

Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter in the Sandy Hook shootings, used the Remington-made rifle legally owned by his mother to kill children and educators on December 14, 2012, after killing his mother in their Newtown home . . He then used a handgun to kill himself when police arrived.

Lanza’s serious and deteriorating mental health issues, preoccupation with violence and access to guns from his mother “proved a recipe for mass murder,” according to the Connecticut children’s advocate.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a Newtown-based group that represents gunmakers, said the courts should not have allowed the case to proceed and believe the plaintiffs would have lost at trial.

“The plaintiffs have never adduced any evidence that the Bushmaster advertisement had any influence on Nancy Lanza’s decision to legally purchase a Bushmaster rifle, or on murderer Adam Lanza’s decision to steal that rifle, kill his mother in his sleep and continue committing the rest of his horrific crimes,” the group said in a statement.

An attorney for the plaintiffs, Josh Koskoff, said the settlement should serve as a “wake-up call” to the gun industry and its backers.

“For the firearms industry, it’s time to stop recklessly marketing all guns to all people for all uses and instead ask how marketing can reduce risk rather than court it,” he said. said Koskoff.

Settlement damages will only be paid to the families who signed the lawsuit, not to the families of other victims. None of the relatives who spoke at the press conferences described plans for the money.

Four insurers of the now-bankrupt company agreed to pay the full amount of available coverage, totaling $73 million, the plaintiffs said.

“Today is not about honoring Ben. Today is about how and why Ben died,” said Francine Wheeler, whose 6-year-old son was killed in the shooting. “Today is about right and wrong. Today is the last five minutes of his life that were tragic, traumatic, the worst thing that can happen to a child, and how they happened the way they did.

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Associated Press writer Susan Haigh contributed to this report.

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