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Judge: Gun lawsuit from Sandy Hook families can move forward

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A lawsuit against the manufacturer that made the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings can move forward, a Connecticut judge ruled Thursday.

A state Superior Court judge refused to throw out the lawsuit against Bushmaster Firearms, the company that made the rifle used to kill 28 people in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.

The families of the victims sued the manufacturer, arguing the AR-15 used by Adam Lanza should never have been sold to civilians.

In the past, the gun industry has been protected by federal law from being held liable for crimes committed with its products.

But Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled Thursday that federal law “does not prevent lawyers for the families of Sandy Hook victims from arguing that the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle is a military weapon and should not have been sold to civilians,” The Associated Press reports.

The issue has been a debate in the political arena, with Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparring over the liability of gun manufacturers.

Clinton last week attacked Sanders for saying gun manufacturers shouldn’t be held responsible for crimes committed with their firearms, calling his stance “unimaginable” and one of her “biggest contrasts” with the Vermont senator.

“That he would place gun manufacturers’ rights and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook is just unimaginable to me,” Clinton said last week on MSNBC.

In a statement highlighting Sanders’s opposition to the lawsuit, Clinton called Thursday’s ruling an important step forward. The former secretary of State also said she’d repeal the federal law that protects gun manufacturers from liability.

“Nothing can make these families whole again after losing their children and loved ones in Sandy Hook, but they deserve a president who will fight for them, and I am committed to doing just that,” Clinton said.

Sanders has been mum on the subject since facing fire for the comments he made in an interview with the New York Daily News, but when asked last week about calls for him to apologize for his remarks, he countered that Clinton should apologize to Iraq War victims. 

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