Connecticut S.C. Decision
On March 14, the Connecticut State Supreme Court with a 4 to 3 decision overturned a lower court and ruled “that no company was above the Connecticut state law.” This decision flies in the face of Congress’ 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act enacted under George W. Bush and the 109th GOP Congress (House 231 R and 206 D and Senate: 55 R and 44 D). The Federal law states that a company is responsible if their product is defective or if they sell it knowing it would be used in a criminal act.
In essence, Congress’ law shields makers from liability when their guns were used in the commission of crimes.
The case was a result of the 2012 Newton Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting wherein 20 students and six educators were killed. The troubled, youthful shooter used a Remington AR 15 semi-automatic rifle, akin to the Bushmaster military weapons used in many other mass murders across our country and beyond.
The prevailing argument was that Remington “glorified the weapon to young people and that the weapon is inherently dangerous.”
The March 14th decision will be appealed, which will allow “discovery,” e.g. access to Remington’s marketing strategy documents — “what were they thinking and why were they marketing it to the general public?”
One attorney stated that “this is similar to the case against the tobacco companies.”
“Why are younger, at-risk males being targeted through militaristic marketing and astute product placement in violent first-person shooter games?”
During the 2016 Presidential Campaign, Clinton wanted a repeal of the 2005 Law; Sanders wanted a partial repeal and Trump repeatedly falsely claimed Hillary wanted to get rid of all guns. President Trump did sign Congress’ Bump Stock Ban while rolling back background checks for severely mentally ill people buying guns.
Holding companies responsible for crimes committed with their products is a slippery slope. However, our country has a long history of placing restrictions on certain products to promote the general welfare; likewise, our rights have boundaries, for the general good.
Put the bluster aside — forego the NRA monies — and start the discussion — to quote a WTO frequent letter writer: “Always a choice.”