Connecticut judge dismisses anti-gun lawsuit

  • 18 October 2016
  • NormanL
Connecticut judge dismisses anti-gun lawsuit

A Connecticut judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. The families sued the makers, distributors, and sellers of the weapons used:

Under Connecticut common law, [Judge] Bellis notes in herĀ 54-page decision, negligent entrustment can be proven only by showing that the defendant knew or should have known that the person to whom he transferred a potentially dangerous item was apt to use it in a way that posed a risk to others. That did not happen in this case, since the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook massacre, Adam Lanza, took the rifle from his mother, who legally purchased it from a Connecticut gun dealer. Neither the retailer, the distributor, nor the manufacturer had any reason to know how the rifle would ultimately be used by Lanza.

The plaintiffs urged Bellis to accept a much broader understanding of negligent entrustment, arguing that it occurs when businesses sell military-style rifles to civilian buyers, knowing that some of those weapons will be used to commit violent crimes. According to the lawsuit, "assult weapons" like the Bushmaster XM15-E2S are not appropriate for the civilian market, so the general population constitutes a class of entrustees prone to dangerously misuse these products. Bellis did not buy it.

The plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling, their intent seeming to be that by holding gun sellers liable for the actions of gun buyers (or in this case, a relative who stole the firearm from a lawful gun buyer), they can prevent future violence.

But more likely, the aim is to put gun sellers, makers, and distributors out of business.