Remington Arms Case

November 13, 2019

by John McClaughry

Last Tuesday the US Supreme Court cleared the way for a lawsuit against Remington Arms Co. brought by survivors  of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting who want the gunmaker held responsible for the deadly attack. The Supreme Court declined to interfere at this point in the proceedings.

The plaintiff’s argument is that the murderer chose the firearm “for its military and assaultive qualities, in particular, its efficiency in inflicting mass casualties,” arguing it was “marketed in association with the military.”

The suit actually challenges the blanket immunity against buyer illegal misuse that Congress granted to firearms manufacturers under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005. Remington asked the Supreme Court to halt the lawsuit, citing that protective statute.

Now recall what happened in at Sandy Hook. Two years earlier the shooter’s mother had legally purchased a Remington Bushmaster XM-15 rifle. Her seriously disturbed son went looking for the rifle, found it, murdered his mother with it, and then murdered 20 children and six adults at the school.

The survivor plaintiffs now want Remington to pay them millions in  damages.

By the plaintiff’s reasoning, the maker of the car that Steven Bourgoin used to kill five teenagers on I 89 in Williston ought to be held liable for damages.

It’s now up to the Connecticut federal court to decide, and it needs to see this argument as utterly ridiculous.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrick Finnie November 16, 2019 at 12:53 am

I prefer to use the Bastille Day, Nice France, terrorist attack that used a commercial
truck, and resulted in the deaths of 86 people, and the injury of 458 others. should the manufacturer of that truck be held liable for the miss use of that truck ? Firearms are not the only only things which can be miss used to commit mass murder in a terrorist attack.


Mike November 16, 2019 at 1:58 pm

If one is consistent in using this way of thinking, auto makers should be liable for those killed or injured in an auto accident because a negligent driver used its car to cause the damage. You can’t make this stuff up.


Carol D. November 16, 2019 at 6:17 pm

Add to the culpability of auto makers, the manufacturers of baseball bats, kitchen knives, arsenic, alcohol, hammers, axes, tire irons, bronze statues, icicles, etc. The list for normally innocuous objects used to kill people is almost endless. Blaming the manufacturer of guns for what the buyers chooses to do with them is totally inane. Just another publicly visual case for a raft of lawyers to make the big bucks.


Jeffrey Kaufman MD December 2, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Imagine the temerity of the plaintiff’s attorney who brings a wrongful death suit against Tylenol’s McNeil Pharmaceuticals on behalf of the survivors of those who intentionally chose to end their lives by overdosing on Tylenol brand acetaminophen?
No better drug to choose than the brand name associated with purity and effectiveness!
(Military strength?)

Purely ridiculous.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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