In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook, millions of Americans struggled to find answers, and many looked for who needed to be blamed for this horrific incident. For the families of the 20 students and six educators killed they had to unpack more than most people. They needed to unpack the anger, hate, sadness, and other emotions that come with sudden loss included placing blame on someone directly responsible for these atrocities.
In the case of nine families of the victims and one survivor, this blame would come down on the head of the manufacturer of the firearm used in this massacre – Remington. Back in 2015, they first filed the suit, and since then, they have been awaiting the civil court case to move forward. A process that is never easy to undertake and cope with.
At the heart of their argument is the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle. In their argument, they allege that this rifle was marketed to the younger generation, specifically already at-risk males with a predilection on violence through violent video games. At one point, the manufacturer went so far as to pay for a game to feature this specific model.
In part, the settlement will allow the families to release internal Remington documents depicting their marketing strategy. Meanwhile, Remington maintains that there is no evidence that their marketing inspired the shooter. Given the broad immunity gun manufacturers have received over the years, they also argued that the case should be dismissed based upon this precedent.
Unfortunately for them, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that state law gave clearance for the lawsuit based on their marketing. When they appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, they were ultimately rejected from being heard. As similar lawsuits are still pending, they remain caught in the balance due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to rule on the 2005 immunity law the Sandy Hook families used.
Nicole Hockley is one of the plaintiffs who lost her 6-year-old son in the shooting. “Nothing will bring Dylan back. My hope for this lawsuit is that by facing and finally being penalized for the impact of their work, gun companies along with the insurance and banking industries that enable them will be forced to make their practices safer than they’ve ever been, which will save lives and stop more shootings.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is a Newton-based group that represents firearms manufacturers. Their stance is very conflicting with the plaintiffs. “The plaintiffs never produced any evidence that Bushmaster advertising had any bearing or influence over Nancy Lanza’s decision to legally purchase a Bushmaster rifle, nor on the decision of murderer Adam Lanza to steal that rifle, kill his mother in her sleep, and go on to commit the rest of his horrendous crimes.”
No matter what side of the coin you fall on here, it’s always a tragedy when innocent people are killed. It’s even worse when those people are children just going to school. Unfortunately for Americans, there is no one-size-fits-all for these kinds of incidents. Suits like this one are now helping to set precedence going forward, and further encouraging governors to push for firearms insurance and other costs based upon the actions of others.
Given the usual outcries of how we need more gun laws and gun reform that follow tragedies like this, the mainstream media loves to ignore very specific and common denominators when it comes to these incidents. Specifically, the role of mental health and previous use of mental health medications, and how they impact young brains as the children get older. This case is a great example of ignoring that. Despite the guns being his mother’s, and legally purchased by her, somehow the manufacturer was at fault for targeting kids.
Again, while this was a senseless tragedy, the blame is being placed on someone for making a tool and not on the person using it.