The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear an appeal of the case brought by some Sandy Hook families against Bushmaster Firearms. The lawsuit be families of 9 victims killed and an injured teacher shot on 12-14 alleges that the sale of a military weapon violated Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act and State Common Law, negating the gun company's claim of immunity.
The lawsuit is bypassing the Appellate Court, and will be heard directly by the state's highest court. The families are appealing a decision by a Bridgeport Superior Court judge to dismiss the case.
Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed, said their goal has always been to help prevent the next Sandy Hook.
Attorney Josh Koskoff says they welcome the Court’s swift action, particularly as the fourth anniversary of the shooting approaches. The suit alleges that the AR-15 assault weapon used in the shooting was negligently entrusted to the public, and that the defendants violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act in aggressively and unethically marketing the AR-15 to the public.
Koskoff says the gun was built for warfare and has been the military’s weapon of choice for 50 years because of its efficiency as a mass casualty weapon. When entrusted to the military, he says the AR-15 requires more than 100 hours of training and is subject to strict protocols on safety and storage.
The families’ appeal papers described the profound effect of the shooting on Connecticut: “The loss of twenty first-graders and six educators would shake any community to its core. Ours had to grapple with the manner in which those lives were lost. Children and teachers were gunned down in classrooms and hallways with a weapon that was designed for our armed forces and engineered to deliver maximum carnage. The assault was so rapid that no police force on earth could have been expected to stop it. Fifty-pound bodies were riddled with five, eleven, even thirteen bullets. This is not sensationalism. It is the reality the defendants created when they chose to sell a weapon of war and aggressively market its assaultive capabilities. Ten families who paid the price for those choices seek accountability through Connecticut common and statutory law. It is only appropriate that Connecticut’s highest court decide whether these families have the right to proceed.”