The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the families of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre can move forward in their lawsuit against firearm manufacturers, according to The New York Times.
The ruling could require companies that manufactured and sold the semiautomatic rifle used by the gunman to give the families access to internal communications they have attempted to keep secret.
The plaintiffs, which include nine family members of victims and one survivor, argue that the AR-15-style Bushmaster used by the gunman was marketed as a weapon of war and that the companies that made the weapon are partly responsible.
“The regulation of advertising that threatens the public’s health, safety, and morals has long been considered a core exercise of the states’ police powers,” Justice Richard Palmer wrote in the majority opinion, according to The Associated Press.
Remington, the manufacturer of the Bushmaster, has argued that it can’t be sued due to immunity that Congress granted to gun companies to shield them from litigation when their weapons are used in a crime.
The ruling allows the case to maneuver around The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, reports the Times.
“The families’ goal has always been to shed light on Remington’s calculated and profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users, all at the expense of Americans’ safety,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer Joshua Koskoff said Thursday, the AP reported. “Today’s decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal.”
Experts say this case could help chart a possible legal road map for victims’ relatives and survivors from other mass shootings who want to sue gun companies.