Newtown Families’ Lawsuit Against Bushmaster

A case is pending before the Connecticut Supreme Court in which plaintiffs representing the 20 children and six educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 are arguing that Remington, the manufacturer of the Bushmaster assault rifle used in the shooting should be held accountable for the carnage its gun inflicted on innocent victims.  Because firearms are the only consumer product exempt from federal health and safety regulation, civil lawsuits are the only mechanism available to hold the gun industry accountable. The plaintiffs are relying on an exemption to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA)—a law generally shielding the gun industry from civil liability for criminal use of firearms– that allows cases involving the theory of “negligent entrustment” to proceed. Negligent entrustment applies where a defendant enables a reckless individual to impose serious risks of injury on the public at large, or where an individual or entity acts in a way that negligently and foreseeably facilitates a third party’s infliction of serious harm.

The Violence Policy Center was instrumental in securing the “negligent entrustment” exemption in the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Through testimony and advocacy our efforts ensured that this long-recognized legal theory could still be used to hold the gun industry accountable for the harm it directly inflicts on society.

Read a news story about the case.

Read the plaintiff’s complaint.

Read an amicus brief from law professors arguing that the theory of negligent entrustment is directly applicable to Remington’s marketing and sale of the XM-15 assault rifle used at Sandy Hook.

Read the testimony of the Violence Policy Center arguing that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act should exempt cases involving negligent.