Friday, 24 November, 2017

Connecticut Supreme Court hears arguments in Newtown shooting case

Court to decide if gunmaker is liable for Sandy Hook massacre Connecticut Supreme Court hears arguments in Newtown shooting case
Melinda Barton | 15 November, 2017, 04:41

Families of victims in one of America's worst mass shootings pushed again Tuesday to hold gun manufacturers responsible for the 2012 massacre that killed 20 small children and six adults.

A state Superior Court judge a year ago dismissed the suit, which was brought by relatives of nine people who were killed and one person who survived the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on December 14, 2012.

A Connecticut State Police officer holds a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle during a hearing reviewing gun laws in Hartford, Connecticut, in 2013.

Judges on the Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments from lawyers representing the families, gun manufacturer Remington, the Connecticut shop that sold the weapon to the shooter's mother and Massachusetts-based arms distributor Camfour.

The Sandy Hook suit cites a 1977 case, Moning v. Alfono, in which the Michigan Supreme Court allowed a lawsuit to proceed against the company that made high-speed slingshots.

The families say 20-year-old killer Adam Lanza would never have been able to carry out his 264-second attack if he had not had access to a high-capacity weapon which had been "specifically engineered" for military use in combat.

A lower court threw out their case past year.

Adam Lanza, 20, used a Remington AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, a semi-automatic civilian version of the US military's M-16, to kill 20 schoolchildren between the ages of 6 and 7, as well as six adult staff members.

Josh Koskoff, lawyer for the victims' families, compared it to "the Ford Motor Company advertising a auto that can run over people" and said that kind of advertising attracts "dangerous users", including Lanza. "No matter how much we wished those children and teachers were still alive, the law needs to be applied", Vogts told justices. But defense attorneys contend that the exception is used for gun sellers, not manufacturers.

After today's hearing, the families say they have full faith in the justice system, but it's a tough legal road for them because of that federal immunity.