$73 mln settlement from Remington to Sandy Hook families
Nine families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting have agreed to a $73 million settlement against the maker of the rifle that killed 20 children and six teachers.
The relatives of nine Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims have agreed to a $73 million settlement in their case against the manufacturer of the gun used to kill 20 first-graders and six teachers in 2012.
The case was widely monitored by gun control advocates, gun rights supporters, and manufacturers, because it had the potential to pave the way for victims of previous killings to sue the man.
In 2015, the relatives of the victims and a survivor of the shooting sued Remington, claiming the firm should never have marketed such a lethal weapon to the public. They stated that their priority was to avoid future mass shootings.
The Connecticut civil court action centered on how the firearm used by the gunman - a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle - was marketed. In one of Remington's advertisements, the rifle is seen against a simple background with the words "Consider Your Man Card Reissued."
Remington claimed insufficient evidence existed to prove their marketing had anything to do with the incident. It also stated the lawsuit should be dismissed due to federal law's immunity to the gun industry.
The company filed for bankruptcy in 2020 for a second time and was heavily weighed down by lawsuits following the Sandy Hook shooting.
Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old gunman in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, used a Remington rifle lawfully owned by his mother to kill children and teachers on December 14, 2012, after killing his mother at their Newtown home. As police arrived, he killed himself with a revolver.
According to Connecticut's child advocate, Lanza's serious and increasing mental health problems, fascination with violence, and access to his mother's guns “proved a recipe for mass murder,” according to Connecticut’s child advocate.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a group that represents gunmakers said in a statement that "the plaintiffs never produced any evidence that Bushmaster advertising had any bearing or influence on Nancy Lanza's decision to legally purchase a Bushmaster rifle, or on murderer Adam Lanza's decision to steal that rifle, kill his mother in her sleep, and go on to commit the rest of his horrendous crimes."
Josh Koskoff, a plaintiffs' lawyer, said the deal should serve as a "wake-up call" to the gun industry and its financial backers.
Damages from the settlement will be awarded only to the families who signed on to the action, not to the relatives of additional victims. None of the relatives who spoke at the press appearances explained what they planned to do with the money.
US President Joe Biden had claimed earlier in the month that the United States was launching a new major initiative as part of Washington's efforts to reduce gun violence in the country.
"The Department [of Justice] is launching intensified National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative to deter criminals from using weapons," Biden told an NYC meeting of federal and state officials.
The federal government will cooperate with state and local law enforcement to address the most significant sources of violence in each area, a White House statement said.
The Biden administration stressed its commitment to deploying more personnel and additional resources to bolster the nation's ability to crack down on the so-called Iron Pipeline, the name the US attributed to the flow of guns circulating across the country, along with other firearms trafficking.