Connecticut Supreme Court hears arguments in Newtown shooting case


Lawyers representing the families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims had another chance to say why they believe gun companies should be held accountable in Connecticut Supreme Court on Tuesday, a month shy of the fifth anniversary of the shooting that killed 26 people, 20 of them children. The lawsuit claims Remington linked "the AR-15 to macho vigilantism and military-style insurrection" in order to target a "younger demographic" and increase sales.

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.

A Bushmaster rifle lies on the ground at Sandy Hook Elementary School following the December 14, 2012, shooting rampage in an evidence photo released by Connecticut State Police.

In print ads, the firearm is portrayed alongside phrases like: "perform under pressure", "bow down" and "consider your man card reissued".

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. "Adam Lanza heard their message", Koskoff told the justices Tuesday. He got it for his 18th birthday ... remember he was 14 years old when they started this marketing plan.

"That's how negligent entrustment works".

"We hope to see the emails", Koskoff said. "What we have is the conduct of a corporation that thought it was above the law and still thinks its above the law".

Lawyers for the family members asked the court to revive the suit that was dismissed previous year by Judge Barbara Bellis in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2015, was dismissed in 2016 by a lower court.

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act prevents a "qualified civil liability action" from being brought against firearm and ammunition manufacturers or sellers in both federal or state court. "They used images of a soldier in combat, they used slogans invoking high-pressure missions".

"No matter how tragic, no matter how much we wish those children and their teachers were not lost, their families had not suffered, the law needs to be applied dispassionately", Vogts said in court.

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 company has also argued that the question of whether the AR-15 should be sold to the public should be dealt with by legislators rather than juries.

Photos: Shooting At Sandy Hook Elementary School In Newtown, Conn. A federal ban on such weapons was passed in 2004 and expired a decade later.

"They could not care less what happens to their guns once the cash is in the bank, showing an utter disregard for the lives this weapon takes and the families it destroys", Hockley said after the hearing.

On the same day as the hearing, at least three people, including the shooter, were killed and two children wounded in a shooting at an elementary school in Northern California.

Ian Hockley and his ex-wife Nicole Hockley, whose son, Dylan, was killed, said they have faith that the courts will find the gun-maker responsible.