Four years have passed since the Sandy Hook shooting, and despite initial national outrage against the deaths of so many young people, the families of the victims can’t even get a day in court against gun companies.
A Connecticut Superior Court judge dismissed a class action lawsuit on Friday against the manufacturer of the rifle Adam Lanza used to kill 20 first graders and six adults in December 2012.
In a 54-page ruling, Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that Remington Outdoor Co. had immunity from being sued under a federal statute called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. That law protects gun dealers and manufacturers from civil liability in a broad range of scenarios.
If you’re wondering, “Who would be so irresponsible as to give people who make things that literally kill people such widespread protection,” well, did you sleep through the Bush years or something?
The PLCAA was passed in 2005 by the Republican-controlled House and Senate, and then signed into law by President George W. Bush. At the time, NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre praised it as “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years into law.”
Thanks for that, W.
An attorney representing the Sandy Hook families, Josh Koskoff, told the Hartford Courant that they planned to appeal the ruling with the hope that they could find a hole in the 11-year-old law.
“My clients are the most tested and resilient people you could ever possibly represent,” Koskoff told the Courant. “To lose a motion in court is disappointing and tough to take but it is peanuts compared to what they have lost and they will fight until the end to get their day in court.”
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, all Connecticut Democrats, also issued a joint statement calling for the PLCAA to be repealed.
Unless voters change the Republican majority in Congress, to say nothing about who they put in the White House, that’s unlikely to happen.