An absurd lawsuit filed by a minority of the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has twice been shut down decisively by courts for running directly afoul of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which protects the firearms industry against frivolous lawsuits.
That isn’t stopping the vile Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence from attempting to resurrect the case a third time, in hopes of setting a legal precedent to ban virtually very firearm ever made.
Gun control advocates are asking the Connecticut Supreme Court for permission to argue against a judge’s decision last year to dismiss a wrongful-death lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used in the 2012 Newtown school shooting, saying the ruling would set a bad precedent.
State Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled in October that the lawsuit filed by some of the Newtown victims’ families against Remington Arms wasn’t allowed because of a federal law that shields gun makers from liability, in most cases, when their products are used in crimes. Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, made the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
A survivor of the attack and the families of nine killed are appealing that ruling to the state Supreme Court in a case that centers on the few exceptions to the federal law. The suit seeks to hold Remington accountable for selling what their lawyers call a semi-automatic rifle that is too dangerous for the public because it was designed as a military killing machine.
Gun control advocates recently asked the high court for permission to file briefs in the case, hoping to persuade the justices to reverse a potentially precedent-setting decision that could be used by gun makers to fend off lawsuits filed under the exceptions to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
“The trial court broadly and improperly interpreted the law to provide far greater protection for irresponsible gun companies than Congress ever intended,” said Jonathan Lowy, director of the Legal Action Project at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Lowy’s statement is, to put it mildly, a steaming pile of bovine excrement.
The PLCAA is functioning precisely as designed by lawmakers, who wrote it specifically to prevent the kind of frivolous “lawfare” cases that Brady filed against the firearms industry in the early 2000s, in the hopes of bankrupting the industry.
The PLCAA allows manufacturers to be sued for violating laws, for actual cases of negligence or poor manufacturing, and a whole host of other reasons. It simply doesn’t allow vultures like Lowy to sue a company for a lawfully manufactured and lawfully sold common consumer product that worked precisely as it was designed to function, though used in a vile criminal act.
The Brady Center is among a variety of groups seeking to file friend-of-the-court briefs. Others include The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and CT Against Gun Violence, along with doctors, law school professors and school superintendents. The number of organizations seeking to file briefs is unusually high for a state Supreme Court case.
At issue are two of the six exceptions to the federal law. One allows lawsuits alleging “negligent entrustment,” when companies know, or should know, when supplying their firearms to others that their weapons are likely to be used in a way that risks injury to others. The other allows lawsuits alleging manufacturers knowingly violated a state or federal law that applies to the sale or marketing of firearms.
The lawsuit against Remington cites those two exceptions. It says Remington should have known its Bushmaster rifle was dangerous when it marketed and sold it, and that the company violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act by marketing and selling a rifle that was used to harm people.
The “negligent entrustment” exception is an absurd argument by gun control supporters, arguing that all semi-automatic firearms are too dangerous to be used by civilians, even though civilians have been the primary purchasers of such firearms since the 1880s. They keep attempting to claim that semi-automatic firearms are weapons of war, even though no modern military issues semi-automatic rifles as their standard-issue service weapon, and haven’t in decades.
As a parent myself, I feel a great deal of empathy for the parents who had their children murdered by a deranged lunatic. But the firearms industry did not shoot up Sandy Hook Elementary school. The 26 lives lost that day were the result of an evil human being murdering his own mother to gain access to the Bushmaster carbine.
This case has no merit, and never had any merit. It’s in direct and obvious violation of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, as two courts have now confirmed.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is using and abusing the families of Sandy Hook victims, just as they did after the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting.
They are users. They are abusers. They are sick.