In theory, gun manufacturers can’t be sued for what someone else does with one of their firearms. They can be sued if there was a manufacturing flaw or the design was inherently dangerous, but they’re not supposed to be sued because some jackass picked up a gun and shot someone else.
However, that fact didn’t do Remington a whole lot of good.
They’ve been faced with a lawsuit that argues their marketing was irresponsible. A court ruled the lawsuit could go forward, and it has.
Remington Arms Co. has offered to pay nearly $33 million to settle claims that its marketing practices were in part responsible for the Sandy Hook school massacre that left 20 first-graders and six faculty dead, according to court documents.
The now-bankrupt gun maker proposed a settlement of $3.66 million apiece for nine families who lost loved ones in the 2012 shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., in a series of filings made in Connecticut Superior Court Tuesday.
Josh Koskoff, a lawyer representing the families, said they were considering their next steps.
“Since this case was filed in 2014, the families’ focus has been on preventing the next Sandy Hook,” Mr. Koskoff said in a statement. “An important part of that goal has been showing banks and insurers that companies that sell assault weapons to civilians are fraught with financial risk.”
Lawyers for Remington didn’t respond to requests for comment.
What they really want to do is making it financially impossible for companies to sell these guns because a handful of people don’t think you deserve to have them.
That’s what this is really about.
To be fair, I get why Remington’s is making the offer. They want to get this lawsuit out of the way so they can move forward. Otherwise, the whole thing is a huge albatross around their neck.
Yet a selfish part of me wants them to fight it out. I want them to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. So long as they didn’t make fraudulent claims in that advertising, it’s supposed to be all good, but it’s not. After all, marketing is free speech. To try and attack the marketing is to attack free speech.
Especially when Koskoff admits that the real focus is on penalizing companies that sell firearms he and people like him disapprove of. It wasn’t really about the advertising. It was about Remington having the nerve to sell AR-15 style rifles. That’s it. That was their great sin.
They’re just using the marketing as a wedge because they can’t really get anywhere suing them for selling certain kinds of firearms.
But Remington doesn’t exist for my benefit or amusement. It’s unlikely they would take it to the Supreme Court anyway. Remington is now owned by Vista Outdoor, which means the new owner probably just wants this gone so they can move forward with operations (see edit below).
I can’t say I blame them. I’d probably want the same thing under their circumstances.
It’s a shame, though, because this will embolden every gun grabber in the country and we all know it.
Edited to add: The company that handles PR for Vista Outdoor reached to me to inform me that this settlement offer had nothing to do with Vista Outdoor. It instead comes from the bankruptcy estate. As such, the settlement offer doesn’t reflect anything Vista Outdoor wants to do with the brand or anything else to do with the company. I apologize for the mistake.