Gun-Maker Remington Settles with Sandy Hook Families Over Alleged Liability for Misuse of Weapon They Made

Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut in December 2012. Twenty of these victims were children. After eight years of litigation Remington, which manufactured the weapon Lanza used to kill 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, has settled the lawsuit. Remington paid $73 million to the victims’ families and one survivor. The suit claimed that Lanza was legally responsible for the illegal misuse of its firearm.

Plaintiffs argued that Remington had violated Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. Remington promoted its guns’ “militaristic” and “assaultive qualities in marketing. This means that the company must legally take responsibility for Lanza, which is not the case with nearly any other gun buyer who uses the weapon to harm others. The plaintiffs had many other options to make Remington liable for Lanza’s actions, but Connecticut’s Supreme Court rejected them all in 2019. However, the CUTPA argument remained.

Jacob Sullum reports that Connecticut law is important because it allowed for reliance. There are reasonsIn November 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Remington’s appeal to end the case. This was despite the fact that the law theoretically allowed them to.

Avoid the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. This 2005 federal law generally covers gun distributors and manufacturers from any liability for illegal uses of their products. CUTPA claims are based on the PLCAA’s exception, which permits lawsuits that allege “a seller or manufacturer of a qualified product knew or should have known of an applicable State or Federal statute to the sale and marketing of the product. The violation was a direct cause of the damage for which relief is sought.””…

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry group that asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up this case, notes that the plaintiffs have not offered any evidence that Lanza or his mother, who bought the rifle he used, was “influenced in any way by any advertisement,” let alone that advertising precipitated the mass shooting or made it deadlier. As the Connecticut Supreme Court itself observed while allowing the lawsuit to proceed, “proving such a causal link at trial may prove to be a Herculean task.”

Remington settled today without the need to prove that there was a causal connection.

This unusual legal principle is to charge an entity with criminal liability for customers’ actions. Because Remington was not directly responsible for the families’ harm, it is against standard justice. The Remington merely sold an item that was used by someone else to cause harm. This is the same as how common products sold in America can be used in order to inadvertently or intentionally harm other people. Automobiles account for more than 40,000 deaths each year while rifles only contribute to hundreds.

Despite Remington agreeing to settle, there are sound legal reasons to not hold an entity—that did not make any choice that directly caused harm to others—responsible for the harmful actions its customers may commit. Second Amendment gives you the right to own and carry arms within your residence, at minimum for self-defense. If gun sellers were regularly held liable for guns sold to others, this would limit the right. The guns’ inherent ability to hurt others is the reason they are useful for self defense and why it is forbidden that they be banned by the government.

Remington weapons aren’t inherently hazardous unless the buyers take criminal or negligent action. It is clear that almost 400 million private firearms are not intended to harm any person. You can use firearms in responsible and safe ways. Remington is not responsible for the marketing or making of these guns.

New York’s S.B. New York’s S.B. 7196 was passed last year. This makes it much easier to sue gun sellers in civil court for their actions. Gun makers must use reasonable controls to prevent their weapons from being used in illegal ways. Even though the majority of gun crimes were committed by those who didn’t obtain their firearms legally, they are still exempted from any liability.

Remington has settled Sandy Hook’s case. Manufacturers have little to no way to stop criminals from using the guns, but they can make sure that the gun is not made at all. This is precisely what the activist cheering the settlement for.

Remington sought bankruptcy protection in 2020. The company made an offer of $33million settlement last July, but it was rejected. Remington’s insurance companies will pay today’s payment.