February 17, 2022
The families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, have settled their lawsuit against Remington Arms—the manufacturer of the rifle that was used in the 2012 mass shooting—in an historic moment they said should put the gun industry and the banks and insurance companies that work with it on notice, reports Business Insider.
“Today is a day of accountability for an industry that has thus far enjoyed operating with immunity and impunity,” Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed in the shooting, told reporters. “And for this I am grateful.”
The settlement was for $73 million, Josh Koskoff, an attorney for the families, said at a news conference on Tuesday, February 15. Four insurers for the gunmaker will cover the costs, Koskoff said.
It marks the first time a gunmaker has been held responsible for a mass shooting in the United States.
“The gun industry’s protection is not bulletproof,” Koskoff said at the news conference.
Koskoff said the biggest feature of the settlement is not even the cash amount, but rather the “hundreds of thousands of documents” the families received through the discovery process that presumably details Remington’s internal decisions about how to market and manufacture what became one of its best-selling products.
The families of victims of the shooting first filed suit against Remington Arms in 2014 over its marketing of the Bushmaster rifle that was used by Adam Lanza to kill 26 young children and educators at the school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Many of the families pointed out that legal experts said their case faced long odds. At issue is a 2005 federal law that offered gun makers and dealers sweeping immunity protections with narrow exceptions. Hockley called the settlement a “crack” in “the gun industry’s impenetrable armor.”
Remington took its legal fight over the situation all the way to the Supreme Court. In 2019, the high court declined to intervene after the Connecticut Supreme Court allowed the suit to proceed. Remington argued that it was protected by the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
The Connecticut court found that the federal law did “not permit advertisements that promote or encourage violent, criminal behavior,” NPR reported at the time.
Koskoff took reporters at the press conference through a lengthy review of Bushmaster’s marketing for the firearm Lanza later used in the massacre.
“They will tell you it’s made for hunting, but where’s the animal in all of this?” Koskoff said pointing to one ad. Another ad in the presentation depicted the firearm with a message to prospective buyers about their “man card.”
Research contact: @BusinessInsider