The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that gunmaker Remington Outdoor Co. can be sued over the marketing of the semi-automatic rifle used in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 that left 20 children and six teachers dead.
The U.S. Supreme Court has trended toward rejecting state law claims that are barred by federal law, he said.
A Connecticut State Police officer holds up a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, the same make and model of gun used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook School shooting at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., Jan. 28, 2013.
Remington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Remington may never have known Adam Lanza, but they had been courting him for years", Joshua D. Koskoff, one of the lawyers representing the families, told the panel of judges during oral arguments in the case in 2017.More news: Teenage climate activist nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
The groundbreaking decision overturned a lower-court ruling barring the lawsuit, which was brought by the estates of nine victims killed by Adam Lanza, who was armed with the high-powered rifle during his assault on the school.
Remington has invoked the 2005 law in arguing that the case should be dismissed.
In a mass shooting that rocked the United States shortly before Christmas of 2012, a 20-year-old gunman killed 20 school children aged 6 and 7 in addition to six adult staff, using a Remington AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, a semi-automatic civilian version of the USA military's M-16.
Connecticut's child advocate said Lanza's severe and deteriorating mental health problems, his preoccupation with violence and access to his mother's legal weapons "proved a recipe for mass murder".
Instead, it would depend on the justices' interpretation of the broader legal question of whether federal courts should generally be allowed to interfere in state law, experts said.More news: HP recalled more batteries in January, but gov shutdown delayed news
"The families' goal has always been to shed light on Remington's calculated and profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users, all at the expense of Americans' safety".
The case was watched by gun rights supporters and gun control advocates across the country as one that could affect other cases accusing gun-makers of being responsible for mass shootings. "Today's decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal", [attorney Josh] Koskoff added [in a statement]. Several groups, ranging from the National Rifle Association to emergency room doctors, submitted briefs to the court.
The firearms company had convinced a lower court that a federal law enacted in 2005 limited the liability of firearms manufacturers and dealers, essentially preempting wrongful death suits in state and federal courts.
Remington filed for bankruptcy reorganization last year amid years of slumping sales and legal and financial pressure over the Sandy Hook school massacre.More news: MPs voting in parliament about whether to delay Brexit