In 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and used a semi-automatic weapon to kill six staff members and 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7.
According to Reuters, the weapon Lanza used was a Remington AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, which it described as a civilian version of the military’s M-16.
In 2014, families of nine victims and one survivor filed a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer, Remington Arms, but in 2016, a lower court judge dismissed the suit based on a law Congress passed in 2005.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act prevents a “qualified civil liability action” from being brought against firearm and ammunition manufacturers or sellers in both federal or state court.
While the law does have exceptions, Forbes reported that Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled the allegations made by the plaintiff failed to fit any of those exceptions.
One of those exceptions is “negligent entrustment,” which the law defines as when a manufacturer or seller “knowingly” violates state or federal laws in selling a firearm. The firearm Lanza used was purchased legally by his mother, Nancy, who was a licensed gun owner. She was murdered by her son on the morning of the shooting.
“Based on the clear intent of Congress to narrowly define the ‘negligent entrustment’ exception, Adam Lanza’s use of the firearm is the only actionable use,” Bellis wrote in her ruling, which made Nancy, who did not use the weapon, the entrusted party.
However, according to the New York Daily News, the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, which will begin Tuesday.
A brief by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence was submitted in support of the families. Vice President Jon Lowy told the New York Daily News that firearm sellers have “to take into account the marketplace and the reality of how those weapons may foreseeably be used.”
“If you’re selling cars you have to prepare for the fact people will use them illegally, crash them, drive intoxicated,” he said. “Your job is to make and sell a product to prevent that from happening.”
Reuters reported the families alleged Remington’s marketing of the AR-15 as “the ultimate combat weapons system” was to deliberately appeal to young men fascinated by the military.
According to the New York Daily News, if the families are successful in the state Supreme Court, the case will go back to the superior court, where Remington’s internal marketing documents will be examined.
Watch below, via CBS News.