A passionate fight for some Sandy Hook families continues in Supreme Court on Tuesday as they push to hold the gun maker of the rifle used in the shooting responsible.
Seven Connecticut Supreme Court justices began hearing arguments on Tuesday morning in an appeal that could have ripple effects in the industry.
Josh Koskoff, who is representing the Sandy Hook families, argued that Remington Arms had been courting gunman Adam Lanza for years prior to the shooting through specific advertising, particularly in video games such as Call of Duty.
"Instead of marketing the AR-15 as a sporting rifle which is the euphemism in which Remington uses in court proceedings and in FCC filings, they marketed the weapon for exactly what it was. They marketed the weapon for exactly what it was," Koskoff said. "They used images of a soldier in combat, they used slogans invoking high-pressure missions."
The attorney for Remington argued that under state and federal law, his client is not responsible for Adam Lanza's crimes.
He said there was no way the manufacturer or seller would know the semi-automatic rifle sold to Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy Lanza, would later be used in the attack or be placed in the hands of someone unfit to use it.
"The manufacturer, one and two steps removed, has no opportunity to assess that buyer," said James Vogts, who represents Remington Arms. "Remington had no opportunity to assess Nancy Lanza."
He said Remington is trying to sell a product.
"Make people interested in buying your products and I would point out that the advertisements the counsel has referenced were not necessarily directed to a younger demographic," Vogts said.
Several of the victims' families attended the hearing and spoke after it.
"In the military, a weapon of this time is subject to strict rules about its use and storage," said Ian Hockley, whose son Dylan was one of the victims. "The manufacturer of the Bushmaster takes no such precautions when unleashing their product into the civilian market."
It's been a long fight on both sides.
The lawsuit was dismissed about a year ago; however, the families are hoping the decision will be reversed.
According to documents released after the 2012 shooting, Adam Lanza used an AR-15 rifle to fire more than 150 bullets in less than five minutes. He killed 20 children and six educators inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Families of nine of the people killed and a survivor filed the suit against Remington, alleging that the gun maker violated state law by aggressively marketing a military-grade weapon for civilian use.
A superior court judge dismissed the suit last October and cited the federal law that protects gun manufacturers from litigation if their products are used during a crime.
Attorneys for Remington also argued that their client can't be held responsible for the shooting because doing so would set a dangerous precedent.
There's no timetable as to when justices will decide whether to throw out this lawsuit or move it forward.
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.
To read the full case details and briefs, click here.
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