[Soontostarttheday: Receive New York today in your inbox .]
The Connecticut Supreme Court dealt a serious blow to the firearms industry on Thursday, leading the way for a lawsuit brought against the companies that manufactured and sold the semi-automatic rifle used by the assassin in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
The ruling allows the lawsuit filed by the victims' relatives to be tried, which could force armed companies to deliver internal communications that they fought fiercely to keep the private and provide a revealing ̵
The court accepted the lower court judge's decision to reject the allegations that the federal law protecting arms companies from litigation, but found that the case could go ahead based on a state law regarding unfair commercial practices .
The judges wrote in the majority opinion that "It is up to a jury to decide whether the promotional schemes alleged in the present case rise to the level of illegal commercial practices and whether the blame for the tragedy can be laid at their feet."
The decision represents a significant development in the long-term battle between the defenders of arms control and the arms lobby
The sentence validates the new strategy lawyers for the families of the victims used while searching to find a path around the vast protections of the federal law that guarded the arms companies from the litigation in which their products are used to commit a crime.
Relatives of the victims had faced lengthy disputes while claiming that the gun companies had some responsibility for the horrific attack.
The case claimed that the AR-15- Bushmaster style used in the 2012 attack was marketed as a war weapon, invoking the violence of combat and using slogans such as "Consider your reprinted man card ".
Such messages reflected, in agreement with the cause, a deliberate effort to appeal to young people in difficulty such as Adam Lanza, the twenty-year-old who took charge of primary school and killed 26 people, including 20 first students, in a discharge of shooting. The attack traumatized the nation and made Newtown, Conn., The small town where it happened, a gathering point in the broader debate on armed violence.
The high posts posed by the case elicited a vigorous response from both sides which intensified after the recurrent episodes of mortal mass violence that followed the attack of Newtown.
Among those who pressured in support of the cause were armed violence prevention groups, emergency doctors who treated the patients injured by an assault rifle fire and a state association of school superintendents.  Many shipping groups raised their concerns, including the National Rifle Association, which claimed in its brief that permission to pursue the case was to "dissect" the legal protections of the arms companies.
The sentence is still another turning point in the tortuous path of the cause through the judicial system, which continued much longer than many, including legal experts and families,
The cause, brought by the family members of nine people who were killed and a shot and surviving teacher, were originally filed in 2014, then transferred to the federal court, where a judge ordered that it be returned to the state level.
Families had a glimmer of hope when a judge from the State Superior Court, Barbara N. Bellis, allowed the case to go to trial before she eventually turned it down. He discovered that the claims fell "directly into the broad immunity" provided by federal law.
In 2005, Congress passed the law on the legal trade in arms, which limits legal action against arms vendors and manufacturers by granting immunity to the detriment of industry when one of their products is used in a crime. The legislators behind the measure cited the need to foil what they described as a predatory and politically driven litigation.
The law allows exceptions for commercial and marketing practices that violate state or federal laws and instances of so-called negligent reliance, in which a gun is carelessly delivered or sold to a person who presents a high risk of abuse.
In the lawsuit, the families pushed to expand the scope to include the manufacturer, Remington, who was appointed along with a local wholesaler and retailer in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit said that the companies were wrong to entrust an untrained civilian public with a weapon designed to maximize the fatality on the battlefield.
Lawyers pointed out the publicity – with messages of combat dominance and hyper-masculinity – that resonated with disturbed young people who could be induced to use the weapon to commit violence
"Remington may have never known Adam Lanza, but they had been courting him for years, "Joshua D. Koskoff, one of the lawyers representing the families, told the judges group during the oral discussions in the 2017 case. The weapon Lanza used was legally purchased from his mother, Nancy Lanza, who
The lawyers representing the arms companies argue that the claims raised in the case were specifically of the kind against which the law vaccinated them. They said that agreeing with the arguments of the families required changing the law or ignoring how it had been applied in the past.
James B. Vogts, a lawyer for Remington, said during the oral discussions that the shooting "was a tragedy that cannot be forgotten."
"But no matter how tragic," he added, "no matter how much we want those children and their teachers not to be lost and those damages not suffered, the law must be applied dispassionately. "