SHARE

For two years, 10 families who lost loved ones in the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut have been working quietly towards something most people thought would never come to pass: taking the manufacturer of the gun that killed their loved ones to trial.

Now, as the United States comes to terms with the massacre in Orlando — the largest mass shooting by a single gunman in United States history — those families are about to find out if their work will pay off.

A year-and-a-half ago, those families filed a lawsuit naming the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer that built and sold the AR-15 assault rifle Adam Lanza used to kill 26 people, 20 of them children.

On Monday, a judge will hear arguments in the defense’s final effort to have the case thrown out.

Nightclub Shooting Florida

The lawsuit wasn’t supposed to get this far. Thanks to a federal law passed in 2005, gun makers and sellers have broad protections from liability if a gun they make or sell is used in a crime. That law has made it exceptionally difficult for other cases like this one to get any traction.

But Georgetown Law professor Heidi Li Feldman tells Brent Bambury on CBC Radio’s Day 6 that the families and their lawyers have found an ingenious legal approach and that they might just succeed where others have failed.

Building a case against “America’s Gun”

Instead of arguing that someone was negligent in making or selling a gun that was used in the Sandy Hook shootings, the lawsuit argues that it is negligent to sell the now infamous AR-15 assault rifle — dubbed “America’s gun” by the National Rifle Association — to anyone.

hi-ar15-rifle-4581134

The semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle and other similar rifles have been used in some of the United States’ worst mass shootings.

“What’s particularly interesting about the plaintiff’s theory of the case,” Feldman tells Bambury, “is that they’re saying contrary to the military, the general public has no training and there are no protocols to control the weapon after it enters the general population, so we have no mechanisms to minimize the dangers of this extremely and particularly dangerous gun.”

Negligent entrustment

The case revolves around the idea of negligent entrustment.

“In plain language, that means carelessly giving someone something dangerous,” says Feldman and compares it to the prospect of a car dealership selling a car to someone who has lost his or her license for driving drunk.

“The idea there,” Feldman says, “is if that buyer then goes out and drunkenly kills someone while driving the car, the dealership would have a particular responsibility because they carelessly entrusted that driver with that car.”

But this case isn’t about one sale or one action resulting from it. It’s trying to make the case that the AR-15 assault rifle is unfit for any civilian at any time and, most crucially, that the manufacturers, wholesalers and sellers know this.

“This is what’s striking about this case,” says Feldman. “They’re saying the gun manufacturer in this case is aware of the unsuitability of the general population having access to this very vicious gun.”

florida vigil west california

Anita Busch, who says her cousin was killed in the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, attends a vigil following last week’s shooting in Orlando. (David McNew/Reuters)

Long odds, but it might still make a difference

Even if the judge rules the case should go to court, it won’t land there for another two years and there is absolutely no guarantee of victory if it does make it that far.

“They [the defense] will argue they’re just like any other manufacturer,” says Feldman. “They’re going to say ‘We’re no different from anybody else that manufactures a product with the capacity to cause harm. If you make a butcher knife and you sell it to civilians, that doesn’t mean you are doing so in order to make sure civilians are killed.'”

But Feldman says the case could still make a difference, if and when the defense is forced to disclose documents in discovery.

Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama wipes away tears from his eyes as he recalled the 20 first-graders killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School while speaking on Jan. 5, 2016. ( Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Parallels with tobacco

“One way to think about this kind of litigation is to compare it to the tort suits that were brought against the tobacco industry,” Feldman tells Bambury. “The way in which recovery was gained from the cigarette makers was by exposing their marketing and promotion practices. The beginning of that was the accumulation of materials through a process of civil discovery.”

So ultimately, even if this case doesn’t succeed, it could lay the groundwork for others yet to come.

“It’s going to be important one way or another,” says Feldman. “If the judge dismisses the case, it will discourage other plaintiffs. If the case proceeds, this could be the beginning of a wave of litigation against gun manufacturers.”

Source

Comments

comments

139 COMMENTS

  1. Reality is, this isn’t a beauty contest, so until it’s Heidi Klum sleeping subsequent to you in mattress at night, the jaw supporter, additionally known as the chin strap, one among best products accessible to cease night time instantly! There are quantity of jaw supporters out there and we now have reviewed them all for effectiveness, comfort, and durability.
    stuart weitzman sale bloomingdales http://www.stuartweitzmansale.online

  2. Excellent job right here. I genuinely enjoyed what you had to say. Keep heading because you definitely bring a new voice to this subject. Not many people would say what youve said and still make it interesting. Nicely, at least Im interested. Cant wait to see additional of this from you.
    cole haan outlet discount http://www.colehaanoutlet.store

  3. I would like to thank you for the endeavors you have made in writing this content. I am trusting the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own website now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine representative of it.
    vibram sale http://www.vibramfivefingersstore.online

  4. Dude, please tell me that youre going to publish much more. I notice you havent written an additional weblog for a while (Im just catching up myself). Your blog is just too important to become missed. Youve acquired so much to say, these knowledge about this subject it would be a shame to see this weblog disappear. The internet needs you, man!
    birkenstock online sale https://missaototustuus.com/birkenstock/

  5. I don’t even know the way I ended up right here, but I believed this publish was great. I don’t know who you are however certainly you are going to a famous blogger when you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  6. I wanted to check up and allow you to know how , a great deal I cherished discovering this blog today. We would consider it a honor to work at my company and be able to make real use of the tips contributed on your blog and also participate in visitors remarks like this. Should a position regarding guest author become available at your end, remember to let me know.
    ugg boots classic sale http://www.uggsaleu.cc

  7. Thank you for that smart critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. We obtained a great book on that matter from our local library and most books exactly where not as influensive as your info. I am extremely glad to see such information which I was searching for a lengthy time.
    buy oakley sunglasses http://oakley.easyinboxmailer.com

  8. I cherished what you have got performed here. The format is stylish, your written material elegant. Nonetheless, you’ve got obtained an edginess to what you’ll be providing the next. Ill unquestionably come back once again but once again for your superb deal a lot far more in case you guard this up. Dont do away with hope if not at the exact same time numerous males and women see your imaginative and prescient vision, know you can have attained a fan proper the subsequent who beliefs what it is possible to have received to say and also the way you’ve got presented by yourself. Really superior on you!
    cheap jerseys for sale http://www.nfloutlet.online

  9. What exactly is occurring within all these towards the world is absolutely terrible. I hope the issues prefer that around Egypt usually are resolved quickly. They need to get for just a pacific strategy to the condition and get initiative that this military services doesn´t require a violent activity contrary to the protests. It´s distinct the folks would like the particular chief executive released, nevertheless its possible the problems usually are deeper compared to just committing to any president in a state.
    birkenstock sandals for sale https://droos.org/birkenstock/

  10. Hi. I just noticed that your site looks like it has a few code errors at the very top of your websites page. Im not sure if everybody is getting this same problem when browsing your site? I am employing a totally different browser than most people, referred to as Opera, so that is what might be causing it? I just wanted to make sure you know. Thanks for posting some great postings and Ill try to return back with a completely different browser to check things out!
    ugg boots online https://ugg.hawksportsind.com

  11. The contextual educating style featured within the Jamorama will not leave you training on your own in your own room for long periods on end hoping for a slight improvement. The best way to gain knowledge music is to play with other, better, musicians. Jamorama offers you with a way to learn from some of the best qualified person guitar players, which include jam monitor recordings that let you play together with the pros. This extensive multimedia package deal includes a guitar-playing tuition book, ear schooling game, music browsing game, tuning software, a metronome, and video lessons.
    emu boots on sale https://emu.francarrilloguerrero.com

  12. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do a little analysis about that. We bought a very good e-book on that matter from our local library and most books the place not as influensive as your information. I am very glad to see such information which I was searching for a long time.This made very glad! Anyway, in my language, there usually are not a lot good supply like this.
    parajumpers shop https://parajumpers.websila.us

  13. Hello there, could possibly be truly out predicament however , too, as being a former looking essentially your webblog and it also would seem to be terribly rather perfect. Im creating an ideal new web-site too possessing conditions in order that it would search wonderful, as soon as our touch an activity because i screw it up. The method by which stiff ended up the specific to start out yuor website webpage? Will potentially an professional in anyway like me without previous expertise practice it, after which combine your loved ones revise url pages not wrecking this when?
    new balance 90 off https://yakitorione.com/new-balance/

  14. I found your site from wikipedia and read a few of your other blog posts.They are cool. Pls continue this great work. Later on other fantastic American rock acts such as Lynrd Skynrd, The Eagles, America, the Allman Brothers, and the Doobie Brothers would come on the scene and shake up the world with their string of hit songs.
    mont blanc outlet store https://www.montblancoutlets.cc

  15. The beauty of these blogging engines and CMS platforms is the lack of limitations and ease of manipulation that allows developers to implement rich content and skin the site in such a way that with very little effort one would never notice what it is making the site tick all without limiting content and effectiveness.
    cheap ugg boots https://www.cheapugg.cc

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here