In a blow to the firearms industry, the Supreme Court today denied an attempt by Remington Arms to block a lawsuit filed by the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. The families argue the maker of the AR-15-style rifle should be held liable for the way that it was marketed, its military-style weapons. The suit argues that Remington, which owns the company that made the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used by the killer, was guilty of recklessly marketing the weapon, and that that violated Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. Remington appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court after Connecticut’s highest court allowed the lawsuit to proceed. Under Connecticut law, there is a provision that allows prosecution of companies if they engage in marketing and sales practices that pose a direct danger. And this is the claim that the families are going after now, that the marketing of these weapons was manifestly oriented around the idea of their destructive capabilities. For example, there is a famous phrase, or infamous phrase, that was uttered and has been repeated that you can earn your man card by obtaining an AR-15.
And it invokes not just manliness, but it suggests a kind of violence. It orients itself towards sort of the military utility of these weapons and the military derivation of them. And, under Connecticut law, that is prosecutable. [full article]