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Sandy Hook Families' Lawsuit Against Gun Companies Can Move Forward, Judge Says

A Connecticut judge has ruled that a lawsuit against the manufacturer and seller of the weapon used in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 can proceed.

The gun companies had sought to dismiss the lawsuit filed by nine victims' families and a survivor, which names Remington Arms, maker of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, model XM15-E2S; as well as the distributor and seller.

Gunman Adam Lanza used the firearm to kill 20 children and six adults at the school in Newtown, Conn.

Katie Toth of NPR member station WSHU reports that Thursday's ruling "is a victory for the survivors and families of shooting victims who filed the lawsuit."

She says lawyers for the gun companies had pointed "to a federal law that prevents certain lawsuits against gun makers when those guns are used in a crime." But Toth notes, "The companies could still try to get the lawsuit thrown out based on the merits of the case."

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that the law "does not prevent lawyers for the families of Sandy Hook victims from arguing that the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle is a military weapon and should not have been sold to civilians," The Associated Press reports.

As the Two-Way reported in February:

"The lawsuit was initially filed in state court in Connecticut in December of 2014, two years after 20 children and six adults were gunned down at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn. It then went to a federal court before being shifted back to a state court last fall, in what's seen as a possible advantage for the plaintiffs, who are acting on behalf of 10 victims."

The lawsuit, we reported, "seeks damages and an injunction against selling the AR-15 rifle."

Now that the case has been cleared to move forward, both sides are due back in court on Tuesday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.