WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to protect a major weapons maker from any potential liability during a school shootout in 2012, killing 26 people and 26 teachers and educators in Newtown, Connecticut.
The action of the judges authorizes a legal action brought by parents of victims of elementary school Sandy Hook to act at the state level, on the basis of an allegation that Remington Arms Co. would have marketed the military-type rifle used during the large-scale shootings "for use in assaults against human beings".
The case tests the scope of a 2005 law passed by Congress to protect gun makers from any liability for crimes committed by gun buyers. The law was hailed by the National Rifle Association, but it included exceptions, including a violation of the marketing and advertising rules.
Supporters of gun control said that a family victory in the long-standing dispute could result in more lawsuits and damaging revelations regarding the firearms sector.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in March that Remington could be sued because of the way the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle was marketed. The family lawsuit argues that Remington glorified his weapon in a youth-directed advertisement, including violent video games.
Adam Lanza, Sandy Hook's killer, was 20 years old when he killed his mother at home, then went to Newtown School and shot dead first graders and educators. Lanza is then killed.
The Supreme Court already has a record on the rights of firearms. This case, to be heard in early December, will decide whether a New York City bylaw restricting the transport of legally owned firearms violates the constitutional rights of their owners.
In the newspapers, Donald Verrilli, the family lawyer who was suing Remington, said his publicity "continued to exploit the fantasy of a lone, all-conquering shooter, proclaiming:" The forces of Opposition, bend yourself. You alone are more numerous than others. ""
Scott Keller, Remington's attorney, told the court that, under the 2005 federal statute, the trial "is exactly the kind of case resulting from the misuse of a firearm by a criminal who "may not be brought before any federal or regional court".