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Gun maker seeks dismissal of school shooing suit

A Connecticut judge is deciding whether to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against a rifle maker over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

The judge heard arguments Monday on Freedom Group's request to dismiss the lawsuit filed by families of some of the shooting victims, but she did not issue an immediate ruling.  A status conference was set for about two months from now.

Freedom Group is the Madison, North Carolina, parent company Bushmaster Firearms, which made the AR-15 used in the 2012 shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six educators. The company says it's protected by a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products.

The victims' families say they're suing under an exception in the law. They call AR-15s lethal military weapons not designed for public use.Sev


Several family members spoke at a briefing before the court session.


Bill Sherlach, whose wife Mary was the school psychologist, says he's hoping to pull the curtain back and see what the manufacturer has been doing to fuel the rage of violence-prone people. 


He says every business runs this risk [of a lawsuit], like if you build a defective car...any other product is not granted this legislative safe harbor .  Much like cigarettes, he says there's been a change in advertising, new warning lables and scientific studies.  He says they can't even get the CDC to qualify [gun violence] as a public health matter.


Sherlach says he has the rest of his life to spend working on this problem, is in no rush, and is going to take it one step at a time.


Nicole Hockley, whose don Dylan was among the children killed on 12-14, says there were a lot of guns that the shooter could have chosen from his arsenal and his mother's arsenal in order to attack the people at Sandy Hook School.  But she says he chose the AR-15 because he was aware of how many shots it could get out, how lethal it was, the way that it was designed, that it would serve his objective of killing as many people as possible in the shortest time possible.


Mark Barden's son Daniel was killed at the school.  He says the manufacturer is marketing to people like Adam Lanza, and it's time they take responsibility for that.  He added that they are just asking today that  this case proceed and they get their day in court. 


Barden says the AR-15 is an instrument of war, designed for the battlefield, that is sold and marketed to the general public.  He says what happen [at Sandy Hook School] is what happens when the general public gets their hands on this kind of firepower.  In less than five minutes, he says this is what happened [20 children and six educators were killed].


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Dave Rinelli

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