Gunmaker seeks to dismiss lawsuit over Sandy Hook shooting

Gunmaker seeks to dismiss lawsuit over Sandy Hook shooting
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The firearms company that made the AR-15 rifle used in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is seeking to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the victims’ families.

Freedom Group, the parent company of Bushmaster Firearms, plans to ask a Connecticut judge on Monday to dismiss the lawsuit, which threatens to dramatically weaken the legal protections for gunmakers.


The company’s lawyers said they are protected by a 2005 federal immunity law that protects gunmakers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Lawyers representing the Newtown, Conn. families argue their lawsuit is allowed under an exception to that law because the company knew, or should have known, the product would be used in a way that could cause harm to others.

A state court will hear arguments Monday afternoon on the company’s move to dismiss.

Under current law, gunmakers are largely free from liability if a person commits a crime with their product.

“Gun companies must be held accountable for marketing and selling the AR-15, a killing machine designed only for military use, to violence-prone young,”  said Nicole Hockley, a plaintiff, who lost her 6-year-old son, Dylan, in the Sandy Hook attack.

Gun control advocates like Hockley have fiercely criticized the special legal shield, which was created with support from the National Rifle Association. It was enacted in the wake of several lawsuits by individuals and cities looking to hold gunmakers and dealers liable for negligence when weapons are used in crimes.

The lawsuit was filed by the families of nine Sandy Hook shooting victims, many of whom have formed the core of a national lobbying push for stricter gun laws since December 2012.