A federal district court made a ruling that constitutes an important victory to the 10 Sandy Hook families who had filed suit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the Bushmaster assault rifle used in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The Court ruled that the families’ lawsuit should proceed in Connecticut state court where it was initially filed. Shortly after the families filed suit last year, Bushmaster removed the case to federal court, and now the case is back in state court. The order of remand is a good thing.
Bushmaster claimed that a federal law granting broad immunity to the gun industry provided a basis to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ case against Riverview Sales, the store that sold the Bushmaster assault rifle. Bushmaster urged the Court to find that the Plaintiffs’ claims against Riverview were meritless and that Riverview was “fraudulently” named as a Defendant in the case. The ruling by the district court was an unequivocal rejection of that argument.
It’s contended that Bushmaster and the other Defendants should be held accountable for their decision to entrust a highly lethal assault weapon to the general public without any of the safeguards that are present in the military or law enforcement. Katie Mesner-Hage, one of the lawyers in the case, who is with Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, stated:
The AR-15 assault rifle was designed as a military weapon. The defendants chose to make that weapon available to Connecticut citizens and to market it in explicitly militaristic terms – even in the wake of Columbine, Aurora, and countless other tragedies. A Connecticut jury should have the opportunity to evaluate that choice and decide whether defendants bear some responsibility for what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
I have great difficulty in seeing how any private citizen would ever have a need for an assault rifle. No real hunter needs a military weapon, which is designed to kill people in combat. The Second Amendment should never be constructed in a manner that would put an assault rifle, which can have a magazine with a capacity to hold 30 rounds of ammunition, in the hands of a private citizen. It will be most interesting to see how the Sandy Hook lawsuit fares. I know the NRA and gun manufacturers will do everything in their power to derail this lawsuit. Stay tuned!
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