Gun-maker can be sued over Newtown attack, court rules

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The case was then moved up to the state's highest court, and the decision to move forward was issued Thursday.

The gun manufacturer, Remington, could be sued over the shooting of 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School with a Remington rifle.

The plaintiffs argue that the gun-maker "attract [ed] buyers by extolling the militaristic and assaultive qualities of their AR-15 rifles" by "advertising that the most elite branches of the military - including Special Forces, SEALs, Green Berets, and Army Rangers - have used them". An eventual ruling against Remington could establish legal precedent, opening doors for more lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and expose the company's communications about its marketing plans.

"The regulation of advertising that threatens the public's health, safety, and morals has always been considered a core exercise of the states' police powers", wrote Justice Richard Powers.

"Assault rifles like the Bushmaster XM15-E2S had been used to kill in department stores and fast food chains, at offices and homecoming parties, on courthouse steps, and in schools", it states, accusing Remington and its co-defendants of turning a blind eye on "unreasonable risks associated with selling assault rifles under these circumstances".

They argue the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza is too unsafe for the public and Remington glorified the weapon in marketing it to young people, including those with mental illness.

The ruling overturns a lower court's dismissal of the case and allows the families to proceed toward trial on the theory that Remington's reckless marketing violates the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

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The plaintiffs in CT include a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in the massacre.

In a 4-3 decision that marks a potentially major turning point in the fight between gun law reformers and gun rights advocates, the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision Thursday that had dismissed a wrongful-death lawsuit against gun manufacturer Remington.

In a mass shooting that rocked the United States shortly before Christmas in 2012, a 20-year-old gunman killed 20 school children aged six and seven and six adult staff, using a Remington AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, a semi-automatic civilian version of the USA military's M-16.

The company had argued that the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, bars gun companies from being held liable for crimes committed with their products.

The lawsuit seeks undisclosed damages.

Because this decision involves interpretation of a federal statute, the gunmaker will nearly certainly appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Remington could also prevail at a trial, so this is just a first step toward manufacturer liability. Since gunmakers have in recent history been shielded from litigation, company officials may have felt emboldened to openly discuss tactics, marketing strategies and other revealing details about business dealings.

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