An attorney representing nine of the families who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut two years ago have filed a lawsuit against Bushmaster, a Maine based gun manufacturer for negligence.
I don’t see this lawsuit going anywhere. It’s true that gun manufacturers have been sued in the past. Indeed, back in 2004, Bushmaster agreed to pay the eight families who lost loved ones to the D.C. Sniper $550,000 after being sued by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. However, the passage of The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005 gave gun manufacturers increased protection against such liability. As the NRA (who strongly supported the legislation) argued, “Suing the firearms industry for street crime is like suing General Motors for criminal acts involving Buicks.” The argument is every bit as applicable to school shootings.
It’s true that some people blamed Nancy Lanza for lax storage of the weapons she owned, but it must be remembered that Adam Lanza displayed no violent tendencies until the day of the shooting. Despite his mental illness, this was not a foreseeable event. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. But we are a society that wants easy answers and when a society wants easy answers, it means they want someone to blame. Since Nancy Lanza is dead and the public does not want elected officials to pass more gun control laws, the gun manufacturer will have to do in this case.
But suing the gun manufacturer will not bring back those who died at Sandy Hook Elementary, much less prevent gun violence. As usual, the only ones who will benefit from this lawsuit are the attorneys.