Sandy Hook settlement marks first time a gun maker has been held liable for a mass shooting

Memorial for Sandy Hook victims.
(Image credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)

The families of victims killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have reached a $73 million settlement with Remington Arms, the company that manufactured the gun used in the massacre, NPR reports. It is the first time a gun maker has been held liable for a mass shooting in the U.S.

"These nine families have shared a single goal from the very beginning: to do whatever they could to help prevent the next Sandy Hook," the families' lawyer, Josh Koskoff, said in a statement. "It is hard to imagine an outcome that better accomplishes that goal."

The Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, resulted in the death of 20 students and six educators.

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Tuesday's settlement "represents a rare victory for plaintiffs suing gun makers" in the wake of a 2005 law that protects firearms manufacturers from liability in how their products are used, says The Wall Street Journal. The exception to the law notes manufacturers "may be liable for injuries resulting from violations of state laws dealing with the marketing of their products," the Journal writes.

The nine Sandy Hook families "sued and claimed Remington violated Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act" because "its promotional materials for the Bushmaster rifle encouraged violent behavior," reports the Journal. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that Remington could be held responsible for their marketing practice, and the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently denied the gun maker's request to review the case. Remington filed for bankruptcy in 2020.

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