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Newtown Bushmaster Lawsuit: Sandy Hook Victims' Families Suing Gun Maker

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By    |   Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 09:56 AM

Newtown families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre two years ago have filed a lawsuit against Bushmaster Firearms, the manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle used by suspect Adam Lanza.

According to The Associated Press, the families of nine of the victims and one survivor seek to hold the gun maker, distributor, and store that sold the weapon to Lanza's mother responsible for "negligent entrustment." In total, 20 children and six school staff members were killed during the December 2012 attack.

"In order to continue profiting from the sale of AR-15s, defendants chose to disregard the unreasonable risks the rifle posed outside of specialized, highly regulated institutions like the armed forces and law enforcement," the plaintiffs wrote in the complaint.

"These companies assume no responsibility for marketing and selling a product to the general population who are not trained to use it nor even understand the power of it," Bill Sherlach, whose wife was killed in the attack, told reporters.

Last year, Connecticut re-defined its definition of assault weapons to include guns like the AR-15, but it was in fact legal to sell and purchase before the Sandy Hook shooting.

As Reason.com put it, "Lanza's gun, which he took from his mother, was not an 'assault weapon' when he used it to kill 20 children and six adults, but now it is."

This will make a tough case for the plaintiffs, whose complaint is likely to come up against the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects gun makers and sellers for damages "resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse" of their products.

That law does, however, maintain an exception for "negligent entrustment," which includes instances where sellers know an individual is likely to use the firearm to hurt others.

"The issue in this case will be whether courts are willing to construe the doctrine of negligent entrustment so broadly as to encompass a theory of liability that is based on the sale of a particular gun to the general public instead of to a potentially particular dangerous individual," Dennis Henigan, former director of the Legal Action Project at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told The Wall Street Journal.

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Newtown families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre two years ago have filed a lawsuit against Bushmaster Firearms, the manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle used by suspect Adam Lanza.
newtown, bushmaster, lawsuit, families, sandy hook
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2014-56-16
Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 09:56 AM
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