The families of those shot and killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre have reached a historic settlement with the gun manufacturer Remington, marking the first time a gun maker in the U.S. has been held liable for a mass shooting.
The company made the murder weapon, a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, which has a similar build and ease of use to the AR-15. It has now agreed to pay the families of nine victims a total of $73 million, according to the Associated Press, which first reported the news. Remington’s four insurers will pay the full amount.
“This victory should serve as a wake-up call not only to the gun industry but also the insurance and banking companies that prop it up,” Josh Koskoff, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said of the settlement, according to the AP. “For the gun industry, it’s time to stop recklessly marketing all guns to all people for all uses and instead ask how marketing can lower risk rather than court it.”
On Dec. 12, 2012, a lone 20-year-old gunman shot and killed six members of Sandy Hook Elementary School’s faculty and 20 of its first-grade students in a Newtown, Connecticut, massacre that shocked the nation. Former President Barack Obama said in a speech days later that there wasn’t a parent in the country who didn’t feel the same “overwhelming grief” that he did as he wiped tears from his eyes.
In 2014, the families of the deceased—as well as one survivor—filed a complaint against the Remington Arms Company, which made the Bushmaster rifle, with the intent of preventing similar killings. The victims argued that the gun maker, which has since filed for bankruptcy, marketed the firearm to young, at-risk men, according to the AP.
Remington, one of the nation’s oldest gun manufacturers, denied those allegations and previously attempted to get the case thrown out by citing a federal statute that gives immunity to weapons manufacturers whose guns are used in the course of a crime, according to NBC News. The U.S. Supreme Court determined the case could proceed in a 2019 ruling.
Remington also offered a settlement of almost $33 million last July.
Months later, it was revealed that the company’s attorneys had subpoenaed the report cards, attendance records, and disciplinary records of some of the deceased children.
“Today is not about honoring our son Benjamin. Today is about how and why Ben died,” Francine Wheeler, who lost her 6-year-old son in the shooting, said of the settlement, according to the AP. “It is about what is right and what is wrong. Our legal system has given us some justice today, but David and I will never have true justice. True justice would be our 15-year-old healthy and here with us.”
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