The insurance companies handling the bankruptcy of the former Remington Arms Company (ROC) agreed on Tuesday to settle a lawsuit with nine families who lost loved ones during the 2012 mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
They agreed to pay out $73 million in total, per reports.
ROC handlers initially offered plaintiffs a sum of $33 million back in July, a fraction of the $1 Billion in damages the families were originally pursuing.
At the core of the lawsuit was the allegation that Remington engaged in “unethical and irresponsible marketing practices.”
Moreover, the claim that Remington should have known its “militaristic” marketing would appeal to someone like the Sandy Hook murderer, and they should have known a person like that would commit a horrible atrocity.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, made it clear in a statement to GunsAmerica that the decision to settle the case, known as Soto v. Bushmaster, was “not made by a member of the firearms industry,” but rather, and as mentioned, made by various insurance carriers that held policies with the now-disbanded ROC.
NSSF went on to add that the settlement “does not alter the fundamental facts of the case” and that ROC “would have prevailed if this case had proceeded to trial.”
“The plaintiffs never produced any evidence that Bushmaster advertising had any bearing or influence over Nancy Lanza’s decision to legally purchase a Bushmaster rifle, nor on the decision of murderer Adam Lanza to steal that rifle, kill his mother in her sleep, and go on to commit the rest of his horrendous crimes,” noted NSSF.
“We renew our sincere sympathy for the victims of this unspeakable tragedy and all victims of violence committed through the misusing of any firearm. But the fact remains that modern sporting rifles are the most popular rifle in America with over 20 million sold to law-abiding Americans and rifles, of any kind, are exceedingly rarely used in crime,” said NSSF.
Some within the gun industry fret that this may open the door for future lawsuits that attempt to hold gun makers responsible for the criminal acts of third parties.
As GunsAmerica previously reported, the Brady Campaign sued Smith & Wesson last year for their “irresponsible” marketing practices, and a judge in California allowed the case to proceed.
However, NSSF said it was confident that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which was enacted to prevent frivolous lawsuits against gun makers, would continue to be an effective bulwark against such efforts.
“This settlement orchestrated by insurance companies has no impact on the strength and efficacy of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which remains the law of the land,” said NSSF. “PLCAA will continue to block baseless lawsuits that attempt to blame lawful industry companies for the criminal acts of third parties.”
The story is still developing, stay tuned for updates.