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NAT’L – OPINION – After surprise ruling, firearm-makers may finally decide it’s in their interest to help reduce gun violence

Mass shootings have become a routine occurrence in America. Gun-makers have long refused to take responsibility for their role in this epidemic. That may be about to change. The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12 refused to block a lawsuit filed by the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting victims, clearing the way for the litigation to proceed. Remington Arms, which manufactured and sold the semiautomatic rifle used in the attack, had hoped the broad immunity the industry has enjoyed for years would shield it from any liability. The prospect of more claims from victims of mass shootings puts new pressure on the gun industry to reconsider the way it does business. My research over the past 20 years on lawsuits against the gun industry examines how the threat of civil liability has the potential to promote safer gun designs, encourage more responsible marketing practice and reduce the risk of illegal retail sales. However, this may not be the court’s last word on the subject. The justices might have another opportunity to review the case if the Sandy Hook plaintiffs win and the case works its way back up to the high court. The Supreme Court could then decide that the exception to federal immunity applies more narrowly.  [full article]

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