The United States Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block a lawsuit against Remington Arms Co. filed by families of victims of the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
The justices did not offer an explanation for their decision to deny the request to take up the case, according to ABC News.
The incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown took place in 2012. Shooter Adam Lanza, 20, used an AR-15 rifle to kill 20 children and six adults.
The case will now be heard at the state level in Connecticut, ending more than four years of legal wrangling over whether the gun maker could be sued.
Remington has argued that the 2005 federal law known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was designed to shield gun makers from liability, protects it from being sued. Remington was upheld by lower state courts in that position.
The lawsuit “is exactly the kind of case arising from a criminal’s misuse of a firearm that ‘may not be brought in any federal or state court,'” Scott Keller, the lawyer representing Remington, said, according to USA Today.
However, in March, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the families had the ability to sue Remington based upon its interpretation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, targeting the way that Remington sold and marketed the AR-15 rifle, according to ABC News. The court also ruled that there was an exception in the 2005 federal law that covered deceptive marketing practices applied in the Remington case.
Remington appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to USA Today, Donald Verrilli, a lawyer for the families suing Remington, said that the company’s advertising “continued to exploit the fantasy of an all-conquering lone gunman, proclaiming: ‘Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered.'”
The gun was “designed as a military weapon” and “engineered to deliver maximum carnage” with extreme efficiency, the families argued in court papers, according to CNN.
In court documents, attorneys said Remington marketed the gun “as a highly lethal weapon designed for purposes that are illegal — namely, killing other human beings. For example, petitioners published promotional materials that promised ‘military-proven performance’ for a ‘mission-adaptable’ shooter in need of the ‘ultimate combat weapons system.'”
The attorneys said Tuesday they plan “to shed light on Remington’s profit-driven strategy” to expand the market for high-powered, semi-automatic guns and “court high-risk users at the expense of Americans’ safety,” according to CNN.
The families suing Remington issued a statement Tuesday saying they are “grateful” for the U.S. Supreme Court’s action and called Remington’s appeal to the court its “latest attempt to avoid accountability.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s action stirred emotions on Twitter.
This is a ridiculous lawsuit. Remington sold a firearm that they were legally allowed to sell. Any potential negligence is on the government for allowing firearms to be around a dangerous individual.
The government can’t just pin their own failure on a company. https://t.co/yv3rxpMTiI
— Alex Joshua (@_alex_joshua) November 12, 2019
The fact that Newtown shooting victims who has lost family members can now sue Remington is pretty ridiculous.
They just opened a new can of worms
— Loso_oso ? (@Loso_oso) November 12, 2019
In its appeal, Remington argued the suit could have ripple effects beyond the Newtown case.
Remington said the Connecticut court decision threatened “to unleash a flood of lawsuits nationwide that would subject lawful business practices to crippling litigation burdens,” according to Bloomberg Law.
The Western Journal has reached out to Remington for comment, but as of Tuesday morning had not received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.
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