In a First, Gun Maker Is Held Liable for Mass Shooting

Sandy Hook relatives and a survivor reach $73M settlement with Remington
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 15, 2022 10:08 AM CST
Updated Feb 15, 2022 12:36 PM CST
Sandy Hook Families Agree to Landmark Settlement
In this 2013 file photo, white roses with the faces of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are attached to a telephone pole near the school on the one-month anniversary of the shooting that left 26 dead in Newtown, Conn.   (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

(Newser) (This summary has been updated throughout with new details.) 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 rifle used to kill 20 first graders and six educators in 2012, per the AP. The development marks the first time a gun manufacturer has been held liable for a mass shooting in the US, reports ABC News and the Washington Post. The case was watched closely by gun control advocates, gun rights supporters, and manufacturers because of its potential to provide a roadmap for victims of other shootings to sue the makers of firearms.

The families and a survivor of the shooting sued Remington in 2015, saying the company should have never sold such a dangerous weapon to the public. “Today is a day of accountability for an industry that has thus far enjoyed operating with immunity and impunity,” Veronique De La Rosa, whose 6-year-old son, Noah, was killed in the shooting, said at a news conference. Messages seeking comment were left for Remington and its lawyers Tuesday. The civil court case in Connecticut focused on how the firearm used by the Newtown shooter—a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle—was marketed, alleging it targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games.

One of Remington’s ads features the rifle against a plain backdrop and the phrase: “Consider Your Man Card Reissued.” Remington had argued there was no evidence to establish that its marketing had anything to do with the shooting. The company also had said the lawsuit should have been dismissed because of a federal law that gives broad immunity to the gun industry. But the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Remington could be sued under state law over how it marketed the rifle. The gun maker appealed to the US Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case. Remington, one of the nation's oldest gun makers founded in 1816, filed for bankruptcy for a second time in 2020 and its assets were later sold off to several companies.

(Read more Sandy Hook Elementary School stories.)

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