A lawyer for families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre told judges today that Remington Outdoor Company should be held responsible for marketing the AR15 as a combat weapon - therefore appealing to the likes of Adam Lanza, who used the weapon to shoot and kill 20 young children and six adults at the Newtown, Connecticut, school.
Lanza, 20, used a Remington AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, a semi-automatic civilian version of the USA military's M-16, to kill 20 school children between the ages of 6 and 7, as well as six adult staff members, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. He then killed himself. "And the courtship between Remington and Adam Lanza is at the heart if this case".
But moves to even modestly tighten gun control laws floundered and a lawsuit brought by some families of the victims against the manufacturers of the semi-automatic gun used in the crime was thrown out by a judge previous year.
Almost five years after her six-year-old son Dylan was killed by Lanza - armed with an AR-15-style rifle made by Remington subsidiary Bushmaster - Nicole Hockley wants the gun manufacturer held accountable.
"No matter how tragic, no matter how much we wish those children and their teachers were not lost, and their families had not suffered, the law needs to be applied dispassionately", says James Vogts, attorney for Remington Arms.
According to the New York Daily News, if the families are successful in the state Supreme Court, the case will go back to the superior court, where Remington's internal marketing documents will be examined.
The packed courtroom in Hartford, Connecticut, included numerous victims' family members.
Ian Hockley, who lost his 6-year-old son in the shooting, said Remington "could not care less" what damage is caused by the weapons it sells.
"But we have not lost one ounce of confidence in the validity of our case", he said.
Now, lawyers claim gun manufacturer Remington knowingly marketed its version of the AR-15 assault rifle to a high-risk group of young men, including shooter Adam Lanza.
"It doesn't make any sense at all that these products are free of liability", David Wheeler said in a recent interview.
In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which sharply restricted lawsuits against gun sellers and makers by granting industry-wide immunity from blame when one of their products is used in a crime.
The argument has historically been used where someone lends a auto to a high-risk driver who goes on to cause an accident.
In dismissing the suit last October, a judge cited federal law protecting gun manufacturers from litigation if their products are used during a crime. "It's like the world has thrown up Exhibit A for the plaintiffs' argument", said Heidi Li Feldman, a Georgetown University law professor and tort law expert who has followed the case.