Sandy Hook Parents Murdering Poor Gunmaker, With The Law
guns are literal garbage
So it has been over three years since Adam Lanza shot 20 students and 6 staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, a thing so grim that we can't even make a joke about it, which is saying something. If there was ever a moment in modern American history when there should have been a tipping point where we as a society reconsider our love of a thing whose only purpose is to kill, that should have been it. Instead, we've been living through an absolute orgy of gun-loving so overwhelming that we dedicated an entire fucking category to it.
We mention this because our latest gun news comes courtesy of some of the Sandy Hook parents who, understandably, really think that the gun -- and its maker -- kinda sorta bears some responsibility for the death of their children. So, they've filed suit against Remington, the manufacturer of the AR-15 that Adam Lanza used to murder their kids, in large part because of just how efficient the AR-15 is at murdering children.
That rifle is based on an automatic, lightweight weapon originally commissioned by the U.S. military. The only limit to the speed the AR-15 fires is how fast a shooter can pull the trigger for each round.
"Each of the kids had three to eight bullets in them," [Jackie, mother of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook] Barden said. "There is just something wrong if that can happen."
Wrong? What could be wrong with that?! That's just the price we pay for the freedom of living here in the great US of A. And good luck succeeding in such a lawsuit, given that gunmakers like Remington can assert blanket immunity, which is just a fancy lawyer way of saying they throw up their hands and say "nuh-uh, not us, can't touch this, hahaha" if you try to sue them.
A 2005 federal law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, grants gun manufacturers immunity from any lawsuit related to injuries that result from criminal misuse of their product -- in this case the AR-15 rifle.
"It's always been a big uphill battle for plaintiffs to sue the gun industry," said Georgia State University law professor Timothy Lytton. "It was even before the immunity (legislation), and it's an even bigger one now."
Ah, yes. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Such a benign sounding name for something so disgusting. So what if you make a gun that has no real purpose for hunting anything except humans in mass quantities! So what if you make something that can be easily modified to kill faster! No problem for you, gun manufacturer!
How did such a thing ever get passed? Well, you know Republicans voted for the thing en masse, but you can also thank some Dems who crossed the aisle, like Jay Rockefeller and Mary Landrieu over in the Senate, and wayyyyy too many Dems in the House along with also too then-Independent then-Representative Bernie Sanders.
So, with the deck stacked against them this high, what is the theory under which the Sandy Hook parents are bringing the lawsuit?
One exception to the immunity legislation is what's called "negligent entrustment." [...]
The lawsuit argues that the way in which the company sells and markets a military-style weapon to the civilian market is a form of negligent entrustment.
"Remington took a weapon that was made to the specs of the U.S. military for the purpose of killing enemy soldiers in combat -- and that weapon in the military is cared for with tremendous amount of diligence, in terms of training, storage, who gets the weapon, and who can use it," Koskoff, the attorney for the families, said. "They took that same weapon and started peddling it to the civilian market for the purposes of making a lot of money."
Remington has, unsurprisingly, moved to dismiss. A state court in Connecticut heard from both parties yesterday and should rule by mid-April as to whether this will go forward. This is an incredibly long shot (no pun intended), but we seriously wish all the plaintiffs godspeed and good luck. Hit 'em in the pocketbook, where it really hurts.