Newtown Lawsuit Could Pave Way For Litigation Against AR-15 Manufacturers
In December of 2014, the families of the victims of the horrific Newtown shooting committed by Adam Lanza filed a lawsuit against Bushmaster. Last Monday they had their day in court, when the lawyer for the families, Josh Koskoff, made his case that it was negligent for the gun manufacturer to introduce the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle into the market place. Koskoff is utilizing a rather unique interpretation of the negligent entrustment clause of the Protection of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act (PLCAA), which the Hartford Courant noted usually applies to a gun dealer who knowingly sells a firearm to a person who is prohibited from owning guns.
Yet, Koskoff does have a huge obstacle to overcome. The PLCAA essentially states that gun manufacturers cannot be sued for having their firearms unknowingly used in felonious acts and crimes. It’s meant to prevent anti-gun liberals from litigating the gun industry out of existence. If this interpretation is accepted, theconsequences could be devastating to those who value American civil rights:
In a 48-page brief arguing against dismissal of the case, attorney Josh Koskoff is trying to establish that the common law theory of negative entrustment applies to the introduction of the AR-15 into the market by the Bushmaster Firearms International, the manufacturer of the weapon used by Adam Lanza in his shooting spree inside the school that left 26 people, including 20 children, dead.”Their argument is what is negligent here is not selling the gun by the gun shop but what is negligent here is releasing the weapon into the market in the first place,” Georgia State University Law Professor Timothy Lytton said.
In his brief, Koskoff argues that the AR-15 has no business being sold to civilians, that it was made for the military and “is built for mass casualty assaults” and to deliver “more wounds, of greater severity, in more victims, in less time.”
“We did our homework on the weapon. It will be clear to anybody who hears the history of this weapon that it was designed specifically for the military and selling it to civilians is reckless,” Koskoff said in an interview this week. “It was basically designed to kill lots of people and the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook is exactly what it was designed for to kill people during an assault.”
In his brief Koskoff wrote a litany of mass shootings using the gun have made two things abundantly clear – “the AR-15 is the weapon of choice for shooters looking to inflict maximum casualties, and American schools are on the forefront of such violence.”
In their filings seeking the dismissal of the lawsuit, attorneys representing the gun manufacturers argue that the lawsuit falls squarely within the immunity protection that the PLCAA affords to firearm manufacturers.
“Contrary to federal law, plaintiffs seek to hold the Remington defendants responsible for the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Stamford attorney Scott Harrington wrote in his 24-page brief.
Harrington said that the blame for the massacre is not on the gun companies but on the shooter himself.
[Continue reading on Townhall …]