This week, the families of the victims plan to be in Hartford, listening as lawyers lay out in state Supreme Court their case that the companies that manufactured and sold the military-style assault rifle used by the gunman bear responsibility for the attack in which 26 people, including 20 children, were killed.
They are deploying a novel strategy that the families and their lawyers say could pierce the sweeping shield created by federal law that protects gun companies from litigation and has thwarted countless lawsuits after their weapons were used to commit crimes.The lower court threw out the lawsuit ruling that the claims fell within the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that was signed into law in 2005. According to the New York Times, the law does allow exceptions for sale and marketing practices that violate state or federal laws and instances of "negligent entrustment", where a firearms is "carelessly" given or sold to a person posing a high risk of misusing it. The Times noted that negligent entrustment has been cited with some success in lawsuits against firearms dealers. The Newtown families are the first to attempt broadening the scope to include a weapon’s manufacturer. That's kind of like suing Ford or GM because a drunk driver who killed one or more people happened to be driving a vehicle manufactured by them.