A judge just dealt a blow to a big gun-maker being sued over the Sandy Hook massacre

Jeremy Berke
Judge Rules Newtown Lawsuit Against Gun Maker Can Go Forward
Judge Rules Newtown Lawsuit Against Gun Maker Can Go Forward

A Connecticut judge on Thursday rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the maker of a gun used in a 2012 elementary school shooting that killed 20 children and 6 adults, the Hartford Courant reports.

Under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), gun-makers are not liable for crimes committed with their products.

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However, in a blow to the maker of the Bushmaster AR-16 semiautomatic rifle, Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that law wasn't enough to have the case thrown out right now at this early stage, according to the Courant.

The case was brought by families of nine children killed in the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Adam Lanza, 20, wielded a Bushmaster AR-16 and killed himself following the massacre.

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The families are suing for wrongful death, and accused the gunmaker of selling a so-called civilian weapon that's designed and marketed for combat.

The judge's ruling is a potential blow to other gun manufacturers, which generally have broad immunity from wrongful-death litigation under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

"We are thrilled that the gun companies' motion to dismiss was denied. The families look forward to continuing their fight in court," Josh Koskoff, the plaintiffs' lead attorney, said in a statement, perNewsweek.

The suit names Remington Arms Co., the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15 that was used in the shooting, Camfour Inc., a gun distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, a now-defunct gun shop in Connecticut where the rifle was purchased by the shooter's mother in 2010, according to Newsweek.

The PLCAA has been a point of contention the Democratic race.

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) supported the law when he was in Congress. Sanders has defended his decision, citing his Vermont constituents, who are in favor of protecting local gun stores from legal action. As a senator from New York, Hillary Clinton voted against the law, according to Newsweek.

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