The families of nine victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook announced they have reached a $73 million settlement with Remington, the gunmaker of the AR-15 used in the 2012 school shooting.
“Today marks an inflection point when our duty of care to children in our society finally supersedes the bottom line of an industry that made such an atrocity of Sandy Hook possible,” said Veronique Pozner, mother of Noah Pozner.
The eight-year fight was part of the mission to end mass shootings that Nicole Hockley took up after her son Dylan’s death.
“After Dylan’s murder, I made a very early promise to do everything in my power to honor his short life, by creating change that would save the lives of other children and prevent mass shootings like the one that destroyed our family,” said Hockley, who is the CEO of Sandy Hook Promise. “This lawsuit has been part of that promise.”
She says when she and the families first reached out to law firms about a suit, they heard it was “impossible, an unwinnable case.”
That’s because of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects gun companies from nearly all lawsuits.
But there’s one exception attorney Josh Koskoff’s team found that congress allowed.
“They were not willing to let the gun industry off the hook for breaking a state law that was applicable to the sale and marketing of firearms,” Koskoff said.
He argued Remington did just that under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, citing how the military-style AR-15 was marketed to vulnerable men using questions around masculinity.
“The takeaway here is if a gun industry breaks the law, whether it’s criminal or civil law, there can be accountability for the repercussions for that,” Koskoff said.
The families also said today was about setting a legal precedent.
“We hope this lawsuit sends a message to the gun industry that they are not untouchable and that our lawsuit is just the start of things,” said Matthew Soto, who lost his sister, Victoria, in the massacre.
The 90-minute meeting included profiles of five children and four adults lost in the shooting, that families say no money could ever replace.
“David and I will never have true justice,” said Francine Wheeler, mother of Ben Wheeler. “True justice would be our 15-year-old, healthy and standing next to us right now.”
President Joe Biden released a statement on Tuesday.
"Today, the families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting have secured a historic settlement with the gun manufacturer Remington. 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," Biden said in a statement.
He called on Congress to "repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act so we can fully hold gun manufacturers and dealers accountable."