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Remington Settles For $73 Million In Suit Brought By Families Of Sandy Hook Victims

CONNECTICUT — In a complicated case over nine years in the making, the insurance companies that represented Remington Outdoor Company have reportedly agreed to a $73 million payout as a result of a lawsuit filed in 2014 following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  The company, which is in bankruptcy, no longer exists as a firearm manufacturer.  

The case was brought by the families of nine victims, which included five children and four adults. In it, they alleged that the manufacturer of the AR-15 style rifle used in the attack promoted sale of the weapon which appealed to troubled young men, such as the shooter in the Sandy Hook incident.

This approach used an exception in a federal law which had largely kept firearm manufacturers from being sued in product liability suits, and alleged that Remington had violated Connecticut consumer marketing laws.

Lawyers for the families said that in addition to the financial settlement, that Remington has agreed to release thousands of internal company documents, including possible marketing plans for the semi-automatic rifle type used in the incident. They are considering this as a huge victory in a fight that they contend was to create a certain level of transparency in the firearm industry and to subject manufacturers to increased scrutiny.

President Biden celebrated the settlement, saying, “While this settlement does not erase the pain of that tragic day, it does begin the necessary work of holding gun manufacturers accountable for manufacturing weapons of war and irresponsibly marketing these firearms.”

The state of New York has adopted consumer protection laws similar to Connecticut with the same goal of targeting firearm manufacturers. California currently has a similar bill and a handful of other states, including New Jersey, are working to follow suit.

The settlement agreement was filed in Connecticut Superior Court on February 15th, but details of the settlement, including the amount that each family would receive, were not disclosed. Representatives for Remington have not yet commented on the matter.

As expected, supporters of both sides have differing opinions of how the settlement will affect the future of firearms manufacturing in the United States. 

A representative for Brady, an anti-gun violence organization, said, “This is an important win for victims of gun violence and the movement to hold the gun industry accountable. It sends a powerful message to these executives — even with your special protections, you can and will be held accountable for gun violence.”

One gun industry executive, speaking of the current federal liability shied said that it is the “only reason we have a firearms industry anymore.” Another spokesman for a pro-gun organization denied that a precedent has been set, saying, “This settlement orchestrated by insurance companies has no impact on the strength and efficacy” of federal law.

We certainly haven’t heard the last of this suit, and there will surely be more to follow.

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