In a major blow to gun companies, a judge in Connecticut on Thursday denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by 10 families affected by the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School against the maker of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting.
The three gun companies named in the case had argued for the lawsuit to be dismissed under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), or PLCAA for short. It’s a 2005 federal law that provides gun businesses general immunity from civil lawsuits. Connecticut State Judge Barbara Bellis rejected the gun companies’ motion.
The families are suing the maker, distributor and seller of the rifle, which the gunman used to kill 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, in less than five minutes on December 14, 2012. They argue the rifle shouldn’t have been entrusted to the general public because it is a military-style assault weapon that is unsuited for civilian use. They say the gun companies knew — or should have known — about the high risks posed by the weapon, including the ability for a shooter to use it to inflict maximum casualties and serious injury.