Connecticut Supreme Court to Rule Over whether Gun Manufacturer can be Sued for Sandy Hook Shooting
Over six years have passed since the horrifying Sandy Hook shooting claimed the lives of twenty children and six adult staff members. It was a shooting that shocked the nation and one that we are still feeling the effects of to this day. While there was a push for increased gun control following the shooting, no major legislation was passed. Now, though, the Sandy Hook shooting is back in the news again, and yet again the rights of responsible gun owners are caught in the crossfire.
Ten families of Sandy Hook victims are pushing for the right to sue Remington – the manufacturer of the rifle that was used in the shooting, and the Connecticut Supreme Court is expected to render a decision in the case sometime this week. If the case is allowed to move forward, the consequences for all gun manufacturers – not just Remington – could be extreme.
In 2005, Congress passed a law that broadly protects gun manufacturers from being sued when their firearms are used in illegal activities. However, the families of Sandy Hook victims argue that they should be able to sue Remington under the Connecticut consumer protection law, arguing that Remington produced a deadly weapon and marketed it to civilians.
Law experts, however, agree that the families’ case is on shaky ground. Speaking on their intention to argue their case using the Connecticut consumer protection law, Victor Schwartz said, “I have never seen it used in this context, and I’ve written extensively about consumer protection acts.”
Nevertheless, assuming they are successful and the Connecticut Supreme Court does rule that the families are allowed to sue Remington for manufacturing the firearm that was used in the shooting, a highly dangerous precedent will be set.
It’s an obvious reality that gun manufacturers have no control over how their firearms are used once they are in the hands of the consumer. There are no actions they can take to prevent someone from using their firearms illegally, and if they are held liable for such actions, they will have no course of action to stop the bleeding from the flood of lawsuits that will ensue.
Worst of all, holding gun manufacturers liable when their firearms are used in a crime is in no way limited to the sale of semi-automatic firearms such as the one that was used in the Sandy Hook shooting. The reality is that any firearm can be used in an illegal manner, from firearms as capable as an AR-15 all the way down to firearms as innocent and as limited as single shot .22 rifles.
If gun manufacturers are sued every time someone robs a bank, shoots another individual, commits suicide, dies in an accidental discharge, or uses the weapon in any other way that results in an illegal activity or death, it won’t be long at all before gun manufacturers are put out of business.
It follows then that this isn’t just an issue that affects gun manufacturers, but rather one that affects all gun owners. In a world where no company dares to sell firearms for fear of the lawsuits that would inevitably follow, quality firearms may very well become almost impossible to acquire.
Hopefully, the Connecticut Supreme Court will see what a dangerous precedent allowing the families of Sandy Hook victims would set. Holding gun manufacturers responsible for the way their products are used is no more logical than holding automotive manufacturers responsible when their vehicles are involved in an accident where the vehicle functioned exactly as intended and the driver is at fault.
In fact, Victor Schwartz made this same argument, saying, “You have a car and you give it to somebody who’s drunk. And then they drive, and if they kill somebody, even though you’re not even in the car, you’re liable. But Ford Motor Company is not subject to liability if a car is used to kill somebody by a drunk driver. And that’s why the manufacturers of guns are not subject to liability.”
Supporters of the Second Amendment should keep a watchful eye on how the Connecticut Supreme Court rules in this case. If Congress’s protection of gun manufacturers is indeed upended, gun owners across the country will be opened up to yet another dangerous threat to their Second Amendment rights.
~ National Gun News