Another attempt to sue a gunmaker is currently in the works in Connecticut. Nine families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre have filed a wrongful death suit against Bushmaster Firearms, the company that made the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle that had been used by the killer. 26 people had been killed during this tragedy.
Bushmaster Firearms is owned by Remington, part of Freedom Group, a firearms and ammunition conglomerate that is controlled by Cerberus Capital Management. According to the families filing the lawsuit, the AR-15 and similar weapons should not be sold to civilians. Several versions of the AR-15 are available and quite popular with law-abiding gun enthusiasts. However, if these weapons get into the wrong hands, they have the capacity to cause significant damage, as evident by the Sandy Hook massacre. As per the plaintiffs, these weapons “enable mass murderers to inflict unparalleled civilian carnage.”
“The AR-15 was specifically engineered for the United States military to meet the needs of changing warfare,” attorney Josh Koskoff said in a release. “In fact, one of the Army’s specifications for the AR-15 was that it has the capability to penetrate a steel helmet.”
However, some believe that the argument holds very little truth to it since the AR-15 is not very lethal. What makes it lethal is the use of a large ammunition magazine. Thus, manufacturers should be held liable on magazine size rather than on rifle style. Previous efforts have been made to ban assault weapons and Congress legislation had been passed in 1994 but the law expired a decade later and was never renewed again. It wasn’t effective than either because manufacturers simply made cosmetic changes to their firearms and continued to sell them.
Over and over again, legislation has somehow protected the firearm industry – whether it is suing handgun manufacturers, or pushing for assault weapons ban. The vote has always been in the favor of firearms. A federal statute was enacted in 2005 called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. This act was backed by the National Rifle Association and was signed by George W. Bush.
Lawsuits previously filed by anti-gun activists have all fizzed out. Handgun suits have faced similar fates with early dismissals. This new lawsuit isn’t expected to result in any positive measure against firearms. They will probably face the hurdle of the liability-shield law and while they may argue on the basis of negligent entrustment, it is doubtful that their efforts will materialize into anything constructive.