Families of Newtown Victims are Suing Maker and Seller of Rifle
The Newtown shooting was an unspeakable tragedy, a horrific act of violence that scarred the country and left too many families with a hole that can never be filled. And now, some of the families of the victims are suing the maker and seller of the rifle that Adam Lanza used to massacre innocent people.
The families of nine of the 26 people killed and a teacher wounded two years ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary School filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the rifle used in the shooting.
The negligence and wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Bridgeport Superior Court and released on Monday, asserts that the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle should not have been sold publicly because it was designed for military use and is unsuited for hunting or home defense.
“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.
… In addition to Bushmaster, the defendants are Camfour, a firearm distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, the now-closed East Windsor store where the gunman’s mother purchased the Bushmaster rifle in 2010.
… Bill Sherlach, whose wife, Mary, was killed in the shooting, said he believes in the Second Amendment but also that the gun industry needs to be held to “standard business practices” when it comes to assuming the risk for producing, making and selling a product.
“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,” he said.
The plaintiffs include Sherlach and the families of Vicki Soto, Dylan Hockley, Noah Pozner, Lauren Rousseau, Benjamin Wheeler, Jesse Lewis, Daniel Barden, Rachel D’Avino and teacher Natalie Hammond, who was injured in the shooting.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
New York attorney Robert Fellows told CBS News correspondent Don Dahler the bar is high for a lawsuit.
“If you can prove that a manufacturer knew in some way that the gun would end up the hands of a proscribed purchaser, someone who shouldn’t have the gun, you might be able to show liability. But it is going to be very difficult,” he said.
As this tweet pointed out, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense:
— Holly Fisher (@HollyRFisher) December 16, 2014
While their heartache and desire for some kind of justice is understandable, blaming the gun for what happened is a mistake, plain and simple — that gun didn’t kill anyone, and Adam Lanza did not have a history of violence or crime to indicate that he could not be trusted with a gun. And while gun control in the wake of such an event as the Newtown shooting may seem like a responsible way to prevent such attacks in the future, it is a false sense of security. We should remember that the deadliest mass murder in a school in United States history, the Bath school disaster, was orchestrated without a single gun being fired. If madmen want to kill innocent people, they will find a tool to do so, whether it is guns, knives, or bombs. The weapon used to perpetrate violence is never responsible, and we would do well to remember that.