Sandy Hook Families Reach $73 Million Settlement With Remington Arms in Landmark Agreement

© AP Photo / Robert F. BukatyA memorial to the victims of the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Residents of Newtown, Conn. say the shooter's home is a "a constant reminder of the evil that resided there."
A memorial to the victims of the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Residents of Newtown, Conn. say the shooter's home is a a constant reminder of the evil that resided there. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.02.2022
In December 2012, Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle produced by Remington Arms to murder schoolchildren and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
On Tuesday, family members of Sandy Hook victims made a landmark victory by settling with now-bankrupt gun manufacturer Remington Arms, responsible for making the gun that was used to kill 20 children and six teachers.
The $73 million agreement will send a clear message to gunmakers, says Joshua Koskoff, the attorney for the families.
“We had a problem with greed and irresponsibility in this case,” said Koskoff in a news conference in Connecticut on Tuesday. “If this had been any other industry no one would have batted an eyelash when we filed this lawsuit. They would have said, ‘Of course the people pushing this [advertisement of the gun] should be held accountable’, or, ‘Of course you should have the right to investigate this kind of conduct.’”
“It’s time to stop saddling everything on mentally ill people,” he added, as the suit is a major stepping stone in making gunmakers accountable for the risks of their products.
During the conference, Koskoff noted that the families pursuing the suit did so because they didn’t want other families to suffer the same tragedy inflicted on them nearly a decade ago.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong agreed that the suit shows the gun, as well as insurance industries, that they are not above the law.
“Today’s settlement is a clear indication that PLCAA (the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act) is not the impenetrable shield that the gun industry wishes it to be, and that gun manufacturers who violate state consumer protection laws can and should be held accountable,” Tong said.

Prosecutors noted that the Bushmaster was advertised by Remington Arms as a weapon of war, paid for slogans and product placements in video games involving combat violence and an advertisement with the slogan, “Consider your man card reissued,” as well as a campaign where young men could target their friends via email of not being ‘masculine enough’. The lawsuit argued that these hypermasculine advertisement tactics targeted troubled young men, like Adam Lanza, who was 20.

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The lawsuit was first filed in 2014, but had only zigzagged through the judicial system until it got a greenlight in a 4-3 ruling by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2019. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was passed in 2005, and has been protecting gun makers since then from cases such as these.
“The NRA wanted special protections,” said Koskoff of the PLCAA. “It gave the industry a perception that nothing they did could ever be evaluated, lead to scrutiny, or accountability.” He added that the 2005 law also gave gun companies a close partnership with insurance companies, while paving the way for these industries to focus their attention on profit alone, while recklessly ignoring the risk for potential incidents, like mass shootings.
Attorneys for the families were able to argue against that piece of legislation by using the claim of “negligent entrustment,” which has also been used in cases involving unlicensed or reckless drivers who have caused injuries while driving another person’s vehicle.
During the news conference, families were in tears as they lamented a decade of lost holidays, birthdays, and everyday life with their murdered loved ones. Koskoff was in tears too, as he said, “These families would give it all back… just for one minute… that would be true justice.”
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