On Friday, a judge dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit by Sandy Hook families against a gun manufacturer. The suit saw developments in April when Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ordered the suit against the Remington Outdoor Co. — who manufactured the Bushmaster AR-15 assault weapon used by Adam Lanza — to proceed. Nine families joined in the suit after Lanza killed 20 children and six adults before shooting himself in Newtown, Ct.
Remington had previously argued that the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA, which George W. Bush signed into law after successful lobbying efforts by the NRA) blocked the company against liability if their guns were used in the commission of crimes. Now, Bellis has ruled that this lawsuit “falls squarely within the broad immunity” intended by the federal law for manufacturers and dealers of firearms, and Remington was therefore protected. The families will appeal:
Bellis said in her decision Friday that Congress’s vision for the 2005 act was to limit responsibility to only those parties that gave the gun to the person who committed harm.
“While the families are obviously disappointed with the judge’s decision, this is not the end of the fight. We will appeal this decision immediately and continue our work to help prevent the next Sandy Hook from happening,” Attorney Josh Koskoff said Friday afternoon.
During primary election season, the PLCAA became an issue of contention between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. She held him over the fire for supporting the law in 2005. Sanders, who represents the gun-friendly state of Vermont, is now co-sponsoring a bill that would repeal the law. During an election town hall, Sanders said he voted for the legislation because of a section that said “we want to have safety locks for children on guns.” However, he’s now backing the bill that could remove gun makers and dealers’ legal immunity in cases like this one.