The Connecticut Supreme Court has agreed to hear
a direct appeal by families of victims of the Sandy Hook
Elementary School shooting, whose lawsuit against makers and
sellers of the assault rifle used in the 2012 attack was
dismissed in October.
Connecticut's highest court on Tuesday said it would
consider whether families of nine victims, plus one survivor,
can recover damages from Remington Outdoor Co and others over
the gunman's use of a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle in the attack in
Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 20 students and six staffers.
The court's decision to take the case, just two weeks after
the families requested it, was announced on Thursday in a
statement from the families' lawyers.
Other defendants include the gun's distributor, and the gun
shop where Adam Lanza's mother Nancy had bought the AR-15.
A state superior court judge in Bridgeport, Barbara Bellis,
had dismissed the case on Oct. 14, saying gun makers had "broad
immunity" under federal law from claims that the military-style
AR-15 should not be marketed to civilians.
While the quick appeal does not foreshadow the outcome, it
lets the families bypass a state appellate court, saving several
months of litigation. Oral arguments have not been scheduled.
"This case raises critical questions about reasonableness
and accountability" in the sale of assault rifles, Katie
Mesner-Hage, a lawyer for the families, said in a statement.
Lawyers for Remington did not immediately respond to
requests for comment. The families lawyers' did not immediately
respond to similar requests.
Bellis had ruled that the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce
in Arms Act shielded the defendants from liability.
The families say a state law, the Connecticut Unfair Trade
Practices Act, justifies liability for the aggressive marketing
of the Bushmaster to the public.
Assault rifles have been used in several mass U.S.
shootings, including a June attack on a gay nightclub in
Orlando, Florida, where 49 people died.
Adam Lanza, 20, began his attack by shooting his mother to
death at home, and ended it by committing suicide as he heard
police sirens approach.