Sandy Hook weapon case may be decided in two months

Josh Koskoff, attorney for the families of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, speaks to reporters before Monday’s appearance in Bridgeport Superior Court. The families are seeking damages from the maker, distributor and dealer of the AR-15 assault rifle used in the shooting that claimed 26 lives. — Melvin Mason photo

Josh Koskoff, attorney for the families of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, speaks to reporters before Monday’s appearance in Bridgeport Superior Court. The families are seeking damages from the maker, distributor and dealer of the AR-15 assault rifle used in the shooting that claimed 26 lives. — Melvin Mason photo

The families of those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre are asking for the manufacturer, distributor and dealer of the rifle used by the shooter to be held responsible.

Lawyers representing the victims’ families tried to make their case Monday at Bridgeport Superior Court before Judge Barbara Bellis. The families have sued Remington Arms Company, Bushmaster Firearms, Camfour Holding and Riverview Gun Sales of East Winsdor for damages for the 26 people who died at the elementary school in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012. The victims, 20 children and six adults, were killed by Adam Lanza, who killed himself at Sandy Hook.

After more than two hours of arguments and discussion, Bellis said she plans to schedule a status conference within 60 days and expects to have a decision by that time.

Prior to the hearing, attorney Josh Koskoff said the AR-15-style rifle that was used during the massacre was designed “for war,” not hunting.

“It’s not a coincidence that Adam Lanza ended up using one of these weapons exclusively to massacre innocent people. It was as foreseeable as that the sun will come out tomorrow. Because it has happened in the past and it continues to happen,” Koskoff said.

He also said that Remington has targeted young men with these weapons and said they “taunt” people with the weapons, referencing marketing about “getting your man card reissued” by having one of the weapons. Koskoff also mentioned that Remington’s weapons have been featured in first-person shooting video games.

Attorneys for the defendants asked for the case to be dismissed, citing in part the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). Remington attorney James Vogts said that previous claims like those presented today have been dismissed before.

Christopher Renzulli, the attorney representing Camfour, said the PLCAA is clear in that “a qualified civil liability action may not be brought in federal or state court. Doesn’t matter what you call it, doesn’t matter what the name is or the title is…on the complaint.” Renzulli said discovery into the matter will not change that.

Members of slain teacher Victoria Soto’s family were among the people on hand for Monday’s hearing. Soto’s mother Donna, sister Jillian and brother Carlos say they are happy that the case has reached the courtroom.

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Editor for the Stratford Star. Former reporter for the Darien Times.

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