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Bushmaster Lawsuit: Weapon in Newtown Shooting is Fair Game

Image: Bushmaster Lawsuit: Weapon in Newtown Shooting is Fair Game

Bushmaster rifles displayed at a National Rifle Association convention. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 15 Apr 2016 12:00 PM

A lawsuit by families of Newtown shooting victims against the companies that manufactured and sold the Bushmaster rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy can proceed, a judge ruled on Thursday.

Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed in 2005 doesn’t prevent lawyers from arguing that the Bushmaster XM15-E2S used in the attack is a military weapon that should not have been sold to civilians, The Associated Press reported.

Families of nine people killed in the Newton, Connecticut massacre and an educator who survived are suing maker Remington Arms Co., distributor Camfour, and seller Riverview Sales Inc., saying the weapon shouldn’t have been sold to Adam Lanza, who killed 20 first-graders, six educators, and his mother before committing suicide on Dec. 14, 2012.

The companies sought to have the case dismissed, citing the 2005 law that shields gun manufacturers from lawsuits over crimes committed with their products. The company’s argument could be made in a motion later in the case.

"We are thrilled that the gun companies' motion to dismiss was denied," said Joshua Koskoff, a lawyer for the families, according to the AP. "The families look forward to continuing their fight in court."

Gov. Dannel Malloy, who signed legislation banning more than 100 types of military-style rifles and limiting ammunition magazines to 10 bullets after the Sandy Hook attack, praised the ruling, Reuters reported.

"We've passed the toughest gun laws in the nation for a reason," Gov. Malloy said in a statement. "These families deserve this, the ruling is the right one. The gun industry should not have protections that no other industry in America sees."

The law has been a topic of debate in the Democratic presidential race, with front-runner Hillary Clinton criticizing Bernie Sanders for voting in support of the law, Newsweek reported.

Sanders told the New York Daily News that he doesn’t think crime victims should be able to sue gun manufacturers who legally sell their products to customers who misuse them.

“But I do believe that gun manufacturers and gun dealers should be able to be sued when they should know that guns are going into the hands of wrong people,” he added.

Clinton praised the judge’s ruling, calling the law “a major obstacle for these families” and saying she would lead efforts to repeal the law if she is elected president, The New York Times reported.

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A lawsuit by families of Newtown shooting victims against the companies that manufactured and sold the Bushmaster rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy can proceed, a judge ruled on Thursday.
bushmaster, lawsuit, weapon, newtown, shooting
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2016-00-15
Friday, 15 Apr 2016 12:00 PM
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