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What the Remington Suit Means

I am not an attorney, and have limited information about this case, but would like to put out what I do know to hopefully help educate the public and start a discussion (see comment section).

Remington Arms was sued after the Sandy Hook incident. This is not the first time a gun maker has been sued for the end user's actions with their products, but a law suit like this is scary for we the consumers in the following ways:

  • Should a manufacturer be held liable for end-user actions (think of an obese person suing a silverware maker for enabling their eating problem) it could change a lot for us.

  • It would give legislators some legitimacy in wanting to ban specific makes and models of gun (think California's unconstitutional list of "approved handguns").

  • The additional expense of such coverage/protection needed for companies would like strangle out smaller companies who often provide us with the innovation we crave, leaving us with just the major manufacturers to chose from.

  • A potential domino effect as law suits chase down ammunition and accessory manufacturers.

The mainstream media announced recently that Remington had settled. This deeply troubled me. Fortunately, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF, the folks who put on SHOT Show in addition to a lot of other services for the industry that we consumers don't see) released the following statement which clarifies a lot.

"NSSF Releases Statement on Sandy Hook Settlement

February 16, 2022

Yesterday it was announced that the insurance companies representing the former Remington Outdoor Company* had settled the lawsuit brought against it by families of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which is the trade association for the firearms industry released a statement providing important details that will mostly likely not be reported on by most media outlets.

The decision to settle in the Soto v. Bushmaster case was not made by a member of the firearms industry. The settlement was reached between the plaintiffs and the various insurance carriers that held policies with Remington Outdoor Company (ROC), which effectively no longer exists.

As part of bankruptcy court proceedings, the assets of ROC were sold at auction in September of 2020. Remington Outdoor Company, which owned the Bushmaster brand, effectively ceased to exist as a going concern. The lawsuit, however, continued against the estate of the Remington Outdoor Company, essentially ROC’s insurers and their insurance policies in effect at the time.

The settlement also does not alter the fundamental facts of the case. The plaintiffs never produced any evidence that Bushmaster advertising had any bearing or influence over Nancy Lanza’s decision to legally purchase a Bushmaster rifle, nor on the decision of murderer Adam Lanza to steal that rifle, kill his mother in her sleep, and go on to commit the rest of his horrendous crimes. We renew our sincere sympathy for the victims of this unspeakable tragedy and all victims of violence committed through the misusing of any firearm. But the fact remains that modern sporting rifles are the most popular rifle in America with over 20 million sold to law abiding Americans and rifles, of any kind, are exceedingly rarely used in crime.

The Connecticut Supreme Court wrote in its Soto v. Bushmaster (4-3) opinion, “[T]he plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ wrongful advertising magnified the lethality of the Sandy Hook massacre by inspiring Lanza or causing him to select a more efficiently deadly weapon for his attack. Proving such a causal link at trial may prove to be a Herculean task.” NSSF believes the Court incorrectly allowed this one claim to go forward to discovery. We remain confident ROC would have prevailed if this case proceeded to trial.

Finally, this settlement orchestrated by insurance companies has no impact on the strength and efficacy of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which remains the law of the land. PLCAA will continue to block baseless lawsuits that attempt to blame lawful industry companies for the criminal acts of third parties."

Once Again we've been given an example of when the mainstream media gets it wrong. Is it deliberate or pure incompetency? I am not an NSSF member, and do not have direct access to the statement above, I am reporting this second-hand, but thought it was worth sharing with you all.

I'd like to think that if the suit was successful against Remington/Bushmaster it would have been overturned in appeal according to the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The fact is, however, that the judge agreed to hear the case in the first place which one would think meant the judge either wasn't familiar with the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act or didn't care. Unfortunately we've seen plenty of instance when what is law is irrelevant when it comes to attacking firearms rights. By our very Bill of Rights any gun law that restricts the right to keep or bear arms is unconstitutional.

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