Remington Arms, a now-defunct manufacturer of the gun used in the Sandy Hook shooting, settled a lawsuit Tuesday with the victims' families.
The manufacturer agreed to pay $73 million to nine families of the victims and to let them release documents about the company's marketing tactics, the Associated Press reported.
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"The [families] had the energy, drive, and motivation to do whatever they could so that other families whether they are in a town, a city or a suburb would not have to go through the kind of pain they had to go through," said Joshua Koskoff, a lawyer for the families, during a press conference Tuesday. "When we first looked at the case, we thought it was about the gun. And the gun has a role here, but there was a chilling part to what we learned that was comparable to this, and that was about greed."
The families of nine shooting victims filed a lawsuit against Remington Arms in 2015. They argued Remington's Bushmaster XM15-E2S semiautomatic rifle, which was used in the Sandy Hook massacre, was sold to the general public with irresponsible marketing tactics. The Bushmaster is an AR-15 style rifle sold commercially as a semiautomatic rifle, meaning it only fires one round per pull of the trigger.
The company filed for bankruptcy in 2018 with hundreds of millions in debt and then filed again in 2020. It was then broken up and sold to various companies, Fox Business reported. The company argued in court it was not liable for the crimes committed with the guns it manufactured.
During a press conference, Koskoff argued Remington began engaging in irresponsible marketing practices after it was taken over Cerberus private equity, which gave up ownership of Remington during its first bankruptcy filing in 2018, the Street reported. Koskoff showed ads Remington made for Bushmaster aimed at younger men tapping into "their anxieties about masculinity."
"What they did was they were so successful at sort of raising this product from the ashes, and the sales were going through the roof," he said. "All of their competitors were saying, 'Hey, you know that dusty old AR-15 that no one wanted? It's a cash cow.'"
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The Sandy Hook massacre occurred on Dec. 14, 2012, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza entered the school with the gun legally owned by his mother and killed 20 first-graders and six adults. He then killed himself when authorities arrived on the scene.
Koskoff said he was approached to sue Remington after the shooting took place. He said he expected the case to involve general tort law but quickly ran into difficulty with the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects gun manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for crimes committed with weapons they sell. His law firm relied on Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, which prohibits deceptive marketing practices.