The Sandy Hook Supreme Court case scored a victory today with the rejection of an appeal from gun manufacturer Remington Arms Company. A move that will allow victims of Sandy Hook to sue the gun company for damages. Sandy Hook victims and families are hoping today’s victory will pave the way for other gun violence victims to sue gun manufacturers.
What’s Involved in the Sandy Hook Supreme Court Case
A couple of laws were key to the case, both in Connecticut and at federal levels. At the forefront are local Connecticut laws – the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act and Connecticut’s Statutory Rights of Action and Defenses Product Liability Claims) — about deceptive marketing practices. The federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed in 2005 is also directly connected to gun practices.
The basis of the argument is two-fold. Can victims of gun violence pursue litigation against gun manufacturers? And can manufacturers be held responsible for marketing their products in ways that encourage acts of violence?
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) has historically limited and barred these litigious actions from moving forward, noting privileges under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Concerns within the gun community are that today’s ruling will bring the Second Amendment into question.
If the plaintiffs successfully defeat PLCAA, Connecticut courts will need to examine whether the semi-automatic gun used at Sandy Hook was marketed to encourage gun owners to break the state law. Did the gun manufacturer or their marketing team promote violence with their advertising literature? Sandy Hook Victims allege Remington did.
Furthermore, the Sandy Hook lawsuit connects gun ownership and purchases to be a shared family affair, giving people unable to purchase guns access to them. They also attribute the particular style of weapon to be promoted and “licensing them for placement in violent video games” which claimants allege “promote illegal civilian uses of military type assault rifles.”
Today’s Supreme Court denial is a step towards some sort of resolution for Sandy Hook families. According to CNN, victims view Remington’s appeal as the company’s “latest attempt to avoid accountability.”
Sandy Hook Supreme Court: Sources
Case Text: Soto v Bushmaster
CNN: Supreme Court Allows Families to Sue Remington
CNN: Victims of Mass Shootings May Be Able to Go After Gun Manufacturers
Justia: Chapter 735a
Justia: Chapter 925
Simple Justice: Will CT Circumvent the Second Amendment
US Supreme Court