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Connecticut Court hears arguments in Newtown school shooting case

14 November 2017

Family of victims in the Sandy Hook school shooting appealed to Connecticut's highest court Tuesday to reinstate their previously-dismissed lawsuit against the manufacturer of the AR-15 assault weapon used in the attack. Following Tuesday's arguments, justices will decide whether the families' lawsuit can go to trial.

Josh Koskoff, who is representing the Sandy Hook families, argued that Remington Arms had been courting gunman Adam Lanza for years prior to the shooting through specific advertising, particularly in video games such as Call of Duty. He said the Bushmaster rifle and other AR-15-style firearms were designed as military killing machines and are too unsafe for the public, but Remington glorified them and marketed them to a younger demographic that included the 20-year-old Lanza. "They marketed the weapon for exactly what it was". "They used images of soldiers in combat".

Families of nine victims who were killed and a teacher who survived the December 14, 2012, massacre filed the lawsuit in January 2015 seeking to hold Remington liable, arguing it marketed the AR-15 to the public even though it knew the weapon was designed for military use.

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"The manufacturer - one and two steps removed - has no opportunity to assess the buyer", he said. "The courtship between Remington and Adam Lanza is at the heart of this case". Negligent entrustment is defined as "supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others".

"Make people interested in buying your products and I would point out that the advertisements the counsel has referenced were not necessarily directed to a younger demographic", Vogts said. "We, the plaintiff families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre, have infinite patience to see justice done". "The manufacturer of the Bushmaster takes no such precautions when unleashing their product into the civilian market".

Lanza, who killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S on December 14, 2012, was obsessed with violent video games and idolized the Army Rangers, attorney Joshua Koskoff said.

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"The weapon he needed for his mission was never in doubt", he said of the AR-15.

A lower court judge had ruled that a federal law protects the gun manufacturer from being sued.

Attorneys for Remington also argued that their client can't be held responsible for the shooting because doing so would set a risky precedent. They also say Remington violated a CT law against unfair sales and marketing practices.

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Connecticut Court hears arguments in Newtown school shooting case