Legal Lis: Newtown Families Sue Gun Maker for Sandy Hook Massacre


It’s been just over two years since Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. I’m sure you all remember that tragic day in December when Adam Lanza went into the elementary school and fatally shot twenty children and six adults. And now, nine families affected by the shooting are suing the manufacturers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the school attack.

The questions is: Do they have a case? ‘

I have so much compassion for all of the families involved in this horrible event, but I think it’s going to be a really tough case for them.

And the reason is because of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was signed into law on October 26, 2005, by President George W. Bush. Some important points related to the Act:

  • The purpose of the Act is to generally “prohibit causes of action against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or ammunition products, and their trade associations, for the harm solely caused by the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearm products or ammunition products by others when the product functioned as designed and intended.”
  • However, both manufacturers and dealers can still be held liable for supplying a firearm to a person “when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.”

So, the families would have a case if they can show that there was reason to believe that Adam Lanza was going to use the AR-15 the way he did when he bought it. Just one problem, though: Adam Lanza didn’t buy the gun. His mother was the one who legally purchased all of the guns that were used at Sandy Hook.

What do you think of this lawsuit? Should manufacturers be held liable if a person buying a gun decides to do terrible things with it?

Hear my thoughts in the latest Legal Lis podcast:

One thought on “Legal Lis: Newtown Families Sue Gun Maker for Sandy Hook Massacre”

  1. Absolutely no case and a waste of time. Manufacturers can not be help liable for misuse of their product. If a drunk driver killed these children, should the parents sue the automaker? Or, the alcoholic beverage maker of the drunk driver? Both? Maybe, he popped some pills, also. Sue the pharmaceutical company, too?

    A disturbed person like Lanza could have used a knife, hammer, ax, baseball bat or anything else to kill. The problem is the ‘person’ and not the ‘thing’ they use to commit a crime.

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