Gastonia, NC Correspondent-The Sandy Hook massacre was one of those events that proves to me that even after 16 years as a news editor, starting just a year before the 9/11 attacks, there are still things that can shock and horrify me. I have sons who were the age of the children mowed down in the school on the day of the attack, and I was filled with a combination of rage, sick dread and resignation as the first reports came in and then as the picture became clearer.
I knew in my heart of hearts that this event, like anything to do with firearms in our culture these days, would become a political football, with callous jackasses on both sides of the issue waving the bloody shirts of the murdered children for their own aggrandizement and to further their own agendas. As usual, the pro-gun lobby was by far the most outrageous and divorced from reality, suggesting that teachers wielding shooting irons in the classroom could have prevented the whole sick mess from happening and claiming that making schools gun-free zones actually caused the tragedy.
This lawsuit is a different entity, though, and a recent article in Time magazine shed some interesting light on it. With the closing of the frontier, the gunmakers realized that they were losing the ready market for their wares among those who hunted for food, protected their domestic animals from predators and lived in places where the nearest law enforcement might be days away. They had to retool their marketing into a witches’ brew of paranoia, macho posturing and misinterpretations of the Second Amendment. Their base argument became that it was every American’s patriotic duty to own as many firearms as he or she could afford, and that the populace had to remain vigilant against the government’s attempts to “take our guns,” even though confiscation of firearms on a mass scale has never once occurred.
This is the bed that the gun manufacturers have made for themselves, and the Sandy Hook lawsuit seeks to make them sleep in it. Remington Arms, the company behind the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the shooting, will argue that it bears no responsibility for selling a legal weapon to a lawful purchaser. It will say that it’s no different from car maker selling a sedan used to run down pedestrians…there surely was no intent in the manufacture or sale of the sedan that it would be used for slaughter.
But Dodge hasn’t spent the last 80 years making progressively more dangerous vehicles, capable of killing more and more innocent people. Ford hasn’t spent millions on research and development coming up with engines that will produce the proper velocity and impact force to kill the most people.
Let the lawsuit run, and hold the makers of the mayhem responsible.
Owatonna, MN Correspondent-I can’t help thinking that success by the plaintiffs could start this country down a very steep slope of unintended consequences. There have been limited attempts to hold responsible those who did not actually commit a crime, such as a party host who allowed an intoxicated guest to drive away from the party, whereby the guest injured or killed someone else in a car accident and was charged with the actual crime.
But going after gun manufacturers for wrongful death could not only unleash a torrent of suits against gun manufacturers by families of victims, it might set off a torrent of lawsuits against auto manufacturers by anyone killed in an auto accident not due to negligence or faulty manufacturing.
Other families of victims may decide to sue food producers for causing a loved one’s death from heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or another chronic disease because the deceased happened to eat a lot of the food produced by that particular company.
It’s conceivable someone could sue the builder of a skyscraper for enabling a suicide victim to fall to his death. If that were to happen, exactly whom would the plaintiffs sue if a loved one had jumped off an extremely old building such as the Empire State Building? The construction company, all its employees, and several generations of heirs to that company and/or its employees at the time of construction are likely all long defunct or deceased. The legal nightmare of determining the chain of ownership, and therefore responsibility, would be staggering.
We as a society should be careful when we consider allowing victims and their families to blame anyone else for the victims’ misfortune, stupidity, or just plain being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-The Sandy Hook families affected by the school shooting tragedy appear to be pursuing their suit as a Connecticut judge ruled that the lawsuit against Remington Arms can move forward. The judge declared the gun manufacturer to be at fault and rejected Remington’s argument that a 2005 federal law protected them from liability. The Under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act states that gun manufacturers are generally not able to be held liable for crimes committed with their products.
In spite of that argument and ignoring the federal law, the decision was upheld by the Connecticut Superior Court judge. She denied the motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the companies involved in the manufacturing, distribution and sale of the rifle used in the 2012 shooting.
If anyone should be charged with a wrongful death suit, it should be the Sandy Hook school district itself for not safeguarding the school building and the students inside through the right kind of security measures along with the employment of several armed guards to thwart, discourage and stop Adam Lanza before he went on his supposed rampage throughout the building. Where has common sense reasoning gone when a school is negligent in protecting the children under its care?
All of the weapons and ammunition obtained by Lanza and used in his crime spree belonged to his mother, who had legally purchased them. He, in effect, stole them from her, killed her and continued on with his sinister plans at the school, and no gun law would have ever stopped him from doing what he did.
A final investigation revealed that Lanza was solely responsible for the murders. These findings simply prove again that gun restriction would not have stopped the crimes. There will always be those who are outside of the law, mentally deranged, bent on destruction, and will find a way to obtain a weapon or weapons. Perhaps the late mother’s estate should be sued, as her negligence to report her son’s emotional difficulties was a big part of the problem, and she was either frightened, in denial as to her son’s state of mind, or she was simply not astute enough to make her guns inaccessible to him.
Blaming a gun manufacturer for the actions of a deranged individual will never be the answer to solving societal issues concerning guns. Informed and effective parenting and parent accountability are a big part of the issue, as our mental health inefficiencies, and school systems’ responsibilities to ensure the security and safety of their students. Gun free or safe zones will always present an incentive to criminals, whether mentally ill or criminally minded. Once the whining portion of the uninformed, anti-gun public realizes and acknowledges these combined factors, gun issues might have a chance of being resolved in a reasoned and logical manner.
The ramifications of the wrongful death case against Remington, and the underlying actions of those connected to the case are once again the obstruction of Second Amendment rights and the restriction of gun owner rights everywhere. In addition to that major overall threat, other ramifications will likely be stricter gun legislation, executive actions and other lawsuits coming forward with similar accusations and demands for restitution. Such claims would certainly set a dangerous precedence with any gun related crime.
If the case is successful for the Sandy Hook plaintiffs, there will certainly be appeals by Remington to higher courts and possibly the Supreme Court. With almost all activist judges advocating and legislating from the bench, who is to say what the overall ramifications will be concerning a ruling in their favor, but with the 2005 law on the side of the gun manufacturer, there will be a fight in the courts to the finish. The hope for a positive outcome for Remington is in the Constitution’s Second Amendment and the 2005 law.
Questions will always remain about the Sandy Hook tragedy and the extenuating circumstances around the incident, but the focus of this case and others that follow will continue to be riveted on gun rights and taking them away whether through the destruction of individual rights, the shutting down of a whole manufacturing sector, and the obliteration of a Constitutional amendment.
Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-My condolence to those families grieving the loss of their relatives in the wrongful shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The families, including a survivor, who’ve made the decision to file suit against the manufacturer of the rifle involved in the killing, have all obligations to do so. However, can any justice or repercussion come of this lawsuit? Once this suit is brought before a state court where the victims can relate with the jury, there may be ramifications for gun manufacturers. This situation, once left to escalate, could open a can of worms for gun manufacturers, as they’d have to unveil how they market their weapons, and would have to handsomely compensate those involved.
Under the negligent entrustment exemption to the law, the families of those who died at Sandy Hook, could see justice done.
This entrustment intimates that a party is bound liable for a product when used wrongfully by the party it was entrusted to. In this case, the rifle used in the shooting provided by the manufacturer, can be seen as their responsibility.
To try this case in a state court is indeed a huge slap in the face for Remington.
The families are arguing that since the rifle involved in the killings is a military instrument, designed for war, it should not have been made available for purchase by the public. There’s a huge debate questioning whether they’ll be successful, but once this case was sent to a state court, a small victory was seen for the family with serious ramifications for the gun manufacturer. However, as small as that victory is, there will be a lot more obstacles these families would have to contend with to get to the justice they deserve.