That Newtown lawsuit may, unbelievably, be going back to the state supreme court

I’ll say one thing for the Brady Campaign. They are persistent if nothing else. The group has been the primary sponsor and supporter of a group of families who lost loved ones during the Newtown mass shooting and have been attempting (with zero success) to sue the manufacturer of one of the firearms used in the crime since 2014. Remington Arms (the parent company of Bushmaster) prevailed in that suit and then again when their appeal was denied. The judge correctly determined that the suit flew directly in the face of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) and was essentially without merit. But some people can’t seem to take no for an answer and now the group is trying to get the state supreme court to resurrect the suit once again. (Associated Press)

Gun control advocates are asking the Connecticut Supreme Court for permission to argue against a judge’s decision last year to dismiss a wrongful-death lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used in the 2012 Newtown school shooting, saying the ruling would set a bad precedent…

A survivor of the attack and the families of nine killed are appealing that ruling to the state Supreme Court in a case that centers on the few exceptions to the federal law. The suit seeks to hold Remington accountable for selling what their lawyers call a semi-automatic rifle that is too dangerous for the public because it was designed as a military killing machine.

Gun control advocates recently asked the high court for permission to file briefs in the case, hoping to persuade the justices to reverse a potentially precedent-setting decision that could be used by gun makers to fend off lawsuits filed under the exceptions to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

I always feel bad having to call out the plaintiffs in this case after all they’ve been through, but their attorneys, along with their friends on the Brady Campaign are leading them down an unproductive and ultimately disappointing path. They are also keeping wounds open which should have been allowed to begin healing by now and scraping everyone’s nerves raw.

And to what purpose? Why drag them through all of this yet again when their “new” argument is precisely the same as the one which was already rejected? The attorneys are claiming that the previous ruling “sets a bad precedent” but it’s fairly obvious that the only thing “bad” about it is that they lost and didn’t get to cash in on some huge legal fees on Remington’s dime. This weapons of war argument they keep trying to make is a complete dud and fails even the most basic test of common sense. The military doesn’t actually use the weapon they are suing over, in part because it’s a fairly underpowered model, but also because it doesn’t have the full automatic capability and better firepower of the far superior models which our military actually does use.

Every weapon is potentially a “weapon of war” if the soldier in question is desperate enough, including rocks and spears. That’s really not the issue behind the PLCAA at all. The question to be asked is if the weapon was properly functioning when sold and if it had all of the required safety features. If it does, then what a criminal or madman (both in this case) does with it is the responsibility of the shooter, not the manufacturer. I’m not sure if the plaintiffs have been made aware of it or not, but this isn’t some inaccurate reading of the PLCAA because the law was put in place precisely to stop people from doing what they are attempting.

Will they be able to get the state supreme court to take a fresh look at this? I’d hope not, because the precedent clearly seems to have been set and fully explained in the lower courts. But this is Connecticut, after all, so you never know. There may be more chapters left to write in this sad and increasingly pathetic tale.