Families of Sandy Hook massacre victims sue gun maker for damages

‘This is a weapon that is designed for military use, for killing as many people as efficiently as possible,’ says lawyer

Mementos for 20 students and six educators killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

Mementos for 20 students and six educators killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

 

The families of nine people killed in a 2012 massacre at school in Newtown, Connecticut have sued the maker of the gun used in the attack, saying the weapon should not have been sold because it had no reasonable civilian purpose.

While the AR-15 assault weapon used in the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School was legally sold in Connecticut, the lawsuit contends that the weapon should not have been available to 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza. The AR-15 is manufactured by Bushmaster, a privately held company based in Windham, Maine.

Lanza shot dead 20 first-graders and six teachers in the December 14th, 2012, attack, which stands as one of the deadliest school shootings in US history. The massacre sparked a fresh debate on gun rights, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

“This is a weapon that is designed for military use, for killing as many people as efficiently as possible,” said Michael Koskoff, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “It’s negligent for any seller to sell a weapon like that to the general public.”

Military-style rifles

The suit names Bushmaster as well as a weapons distributor and the retailer that sold the gun as defendants.

Bushmaster officials did not respond to requests for comment.

After the Sandy Hook shooting, Connecticut’s Democratic governor, Dannel Malloy, pushed through one of the strictest gun laws in the United States, banning more than 100 types of military-style rifles and limiting ammunition magazines to 10 bullets.

Bill Sherlach, whose 56-year-old wife Mary Sherlach was a school psychologist killed in the attack, said the suit was necessary to hold gun makers accountable.

“I believe the gun industry should be brought to bear the same business risk that every other business assumes when it comes to producing, marketing, and selling a product,” Sherlach said in a statement.

Lanza, who began the shooting spree by killing his mother at their home, ended his rampage by turning his gun on himself as he heard police approaching. – (Reuters)