If a drunk driver killed your son with his car would you sue Toyota?


Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Cars don’t kill people, people kill people.

If guns and cars kill people then spoons make you fat and pencils mis-spell words.

Despite the flawed logic of blaming inanimate objects for the actions of human beings  a lawsuit has been submitted by the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. They are suing the gun manufacturer. Should gun manufactures be held responsible for what they sell? What do you think? 

In what is being referred to as a landmark ruling, Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis denied a request by Remington Arms Co., Bushmaster and others to dismiss the suit submitted by 10 Sandy Hook victims’ families.

Under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), gun manufacturers are generally not able to be held liable for crimes committed with their products.

However, Judge Bellis ruled that the PLCAA does not prevent lawyers for the families of Sandy Hook victims from arguing that the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle is a military weapon and should not have been sold to civilians.

The Hartford Courant reports:

The lawsuit accuses the Remington Arms Co. and other defendants of negligently selling to civilians a weapon the plaintiffs claim is suitable only for the military and law enforcement. At a hearing in February, Bridgeport lawyer Josh Koskoff argued against dismissing the case, saying the lawsuit’s claim of “negligent entrustment” is an exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs celebrated the ruling, calling it a “huge victory for the Sandy Hook families.”

“We are thrilled that the gun companies’ motion to dismiss was denied,” a lawyer representing the families said. “The families look forward to continuing their fight in court.”



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  • Woody

    Words fail me.
    Well not quite, I own a few rifles which are all capable of killing – that is the whole point isn’t it? None of them are “Military!!!”

  • Seriously?

    A person does not shoot and kill 26 people with their finger.

    Sure it is the person that obtains the gun, the ammo, point it, and pulls the trigger, but if there is something we can do to make that less likely to occur then we ought to at least consider it. In much the same way we have rules about who can drive a car.

    • Woody

      “A person does not shoot and kill 26 people with their finger.”
      No but I have had training to be able to do just that, not the shoot bit, but the kill part. We must therefore consider amputating the fingers of all ex military personnel.

      • Seriously?

        Make the case for it if you will, but I have seen no evidence that it is a problem.

        I should also add, that guns don’t seem to be a significant problem in NZ either so maybe we are doing something right here.

        • Mark156

          Perhaps the percentage of the population who would kill people in an instant is smaller here?Give a normal person a gun everything is fine,give a scrote a gun then there’s a problem.

          • Seriously?

            Yep, you might argue that the most important difference is the health system – or more particularly the mental health system. The US is one of the few (I think the only) developed countries that makes access to basic healthcare dependent on your ability to pay for it.

  • Huia

    There is something very dicey about the whole supposed Sandy Hook shooting.
    Suing may be the catalyst to bring the truth out as there don’t appear to be any records of the supposed killer or his mother purchasing guns.
    A whole raft of things don’t stack up with this school shooting, records and photos even show the school wasn’t in use at the time and hadn’t been for some time.
    Some of these Judges seem to have their heads in a dark place when it comes to common sense.

    • Mark

      Huia the only reason I didn’t downvote Simon as a nutcase is because I saw your post & don’t think you are one,so my post to him is to you also.

      I’ll read more on it assuming I don’t fall into a food coma after my buffet lunch I skipped breakfast to do justice to… :)

      • Huia

        Not normally a nut bar Mark, but question the inconsistencies about this mass shooting.
        ie Lanza’s death certificate was issued the day before the massacre.
        Two Mothers had web pages set up for donations for their daughter “victims” a couple of days before the event.
        There was a video clip from a helicopter showing at least two other people carrying guns in the woods behind the school during the event and before the police arrived. That video has been pulled but it looked like an exercise was in place.
        A video of a teacher bringing out a few children, then the next clip shows her bringing out most of the same children in a different order, again it looked like an exercise.
        Video of a father of a supposed victim laughing his head off while chatting to other parents who were waiting to hear if their children had been murdered.
        Video of a queue of people being shown into a large building, from the height of the helicopter camera you can see them exiting the back door and filing around to go in the front door again (several times).
        But the big one was the Sandy Hook school was closed in 2008 and was no longer in use.
        As I said, enough inconsistencies to make one question what actually happened.

  • Graham Pilgrim

    While I disagree with suing the gun manufacturer, when comparing guns with cars, spoons, and pencils, one should remember that guns are, in fact, weapons, actually designed to kill. Cars, spoons and pencils are not.

    • Doug

      Yep, which makes the manufacturers more culpable as they are selling a product that is not designed to kill people but does

  • newzeal

    It’s simple. Welcome to America. The logic behind it is the same as the logic behind suing the tobacco companies: “Bill Sherlach, the husband of Mary Sherlach, a school psychologist who died at Sandy Hook, compared the lawsuit to litigation against tobacco companies, and said he hoped it would reveal the marketing and other internal practices of firearms companies.” http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/22/sandy-hook-school-shooting-lawsuit-gun-bushmaster-camfour

    As you probably know, the NRA in the US is so powerful that over the years it has obtained exemption from Federal safety regulations: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/03/us/bill-would-subject-guns-to-federal-safety-controls.html , meaning that there are no mandatory tests and manufacturers cannot be held accountable for safety. So if a pistol has a faulty safety catch, the manufacturer is not liable and is not required to recall and fix. Given that the law does not work for consumer safety, the citizens have to take it upon themselves.

    • Ghost

      Not sure what the tobacco reference is, are you saying that there is a safe level of tobacco consumption, but the Tabaco companies have tricked people in to smoking more.
      And that the manufacturer’s of firearms have marketed mass shootings to the American public that millions of lawful owners have ignored but every now and then some nutbar takes up the cause?

      • newzeal

        Lawsuits against tobacco companies finally resulted in changing the law: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tobacco-litigation-history-and-development-32202.html . The US govt is too weak to do anything about rampant gun laws because of the NRA, so the only recourse US citizens have is to use whatever laws are available to make manufacturers hurt in the pocket. It may take a few decades, but they have no other choice.

        Again, if you are familiar with US gun laws you will know that there are limited back ground checks, a person with mental illness can buy a gun and previous gun mishap does not disqualify from further purchase: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/30/health/mental-illness-guns/ .

        • Ghost

          The US government (and the State government) are the ones who have implemented the “rampant gun laws”, it is in most states with “rampant gun laws” that there are a lot of criminal activity with guns, its where most of the negative stat’s come from. You could conclude that the “rampant gun laws” are not assisting to prevent gun crime.
          So when do the US citizen start suing Toyota for all of the deaths caused by car accidents, using the same logic this is an obvious activity, McDonalds for all of the obesity etc etc.
          Limited background checks, I am familiar with them, this is another whipping boy for the hoplophobe, can anyone prove that any gun crime was prevented with background checks? How many shootings in the US were committed by people how passed background checks? So remove them? no, but have a realistic expectation as to what background checks will and wont prevent.

  • Simon

    I’m okay with a whole lot of negative comments, but there’s something seriously wrong with the entire Sandy Hook shooting event, and as insane as it sounds I’m not actually sure anyone died at all. This latest nonsense about suing gun manufacturers by the parents when not ONE lawsuit at all was brought against the school, the providers of the security systems, mental health services etc all in the land of lawsuits is strange in itself.

    It’s fine if people want to believe it all, but if you are okay with having doubts look at Robbie Parker (one of the parents of the “murdered” children), the pathologist, Gene Rosen, the changing stories of those there on the day – oh and of course not one single frame of Lanza at the school from the high tech security system, nor one drop of blood or body being taken from the school.

    • Mark

      Ok I’ll nibble,post your most reasoned foil hat theory,I’m not trying to wade through a metric ton of them on Goggle.

      I honestly had not come across this view before Simon & I am reasonably well informed on the Gun Rights fight in the USA.

      • Keyser Soze

        You just couldn’t resist could you ? I read his missive and started typing but I came to my senses before hitting post.

        • Mark

          Look further down,I’m blaming Huia LOL

      • Simon

        The whole idea that I know (or someone else knows) exactly the narrative and who died and who didn’t or what exactly happened is impossible to determine – this is the same of course with all the other “conspiracy theory” events, eg 9/11, JFK etc etc. I have no powers of subpoena, I can’t force people to talk, I have no access to primary evidence, eg autopsies.

        What I can do however is look at the official narrative and look at evidence that contradicts that therefore determine that the official narrative is false. There is plenty of evidence that shows that Sandy Hook wasn’t even a functioning school. There is also a lack of evidence that should be easily available, eg casings, easily heard gunshots, photo’s or video evidence of Lanza entering the school. There is the released photo’s of children walking across the school parking lot yet a patrol car with it’s dashcam turned on recorded no children walking out of the school meaning those photo’s were taken at a different time or day. There is too much to fit in one post on here – if you take some time you’ll find there is plenty of evidence to show the official story is simply not true. Of course be aware that not all things that doubt the story can’t be debunked either, but remember it’s not up to you or me to determine what actually happened (nothing wrong with guessing or theorising of course), but simply rather to determine the things presented as factual which are clearly not.

  • Ghost

    The cant sue the school for failing to keep their children safe, they cant sue the police for failing to keep their children safe, they cant sue the government for implementing laws that failed to keep their children safe, no point suing the family of the accused, may as well sue a corporate who has lots of money.

    This may seem a bit harsh, but the reality is that it will achieve nothing, and removes the focus on what the actual issues are.

  • Superman

    What next as America slides deeper into the dwang?

  • Bluemanning

    ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’ which in this case is the gun.

  • It is counter intuitive, but the answer is actually more guns. The schools have been made gun-free places in a country where guns are allowed everywhere else. So where do you go for a relatively safe and undisturbed massacring?

    • Seriously?

      In the case of the USA you may be right Pete. Guns are so prevalent there, and seem so ingrained in their culture, that I don’t think they can wind the clock back to something more sensible. They undoubtedly have a problem and it is a pragmatic improvement they need to look for.

      But I don’t see that as something that translates to NZ. Here, we don’t seem to have a gun problem of any significance. If there is a relationship between such problems and the laws that control gun ownership, that would suggest we have our controls about right here already. Any change to our controls might be fine tuning, but on the surface they seem to do the job we want of them.

      • Ghost

        Guns have always been ingrained in their culture, and the criminality and mass shootings have been in relatively recent years, so logically you would say (should say) that it isn’t the availability of guns that is causing this. So if availability is not the cause, is making them less available (to law abiding citizens) the cure? I would say this is not the case.
        You could say this about murder in New Zealand, 50 years ago it was not very common, now it is becoming increasing more so, what has changed to cause this? I would say the entire community and personal values have shifted. Availability to guns, both here and in countries overseas is not what is causing this.

        • Seriously?

          Agree completely. I’m not saying that the guns create the problem, but the availability of guns suitable for the job seems to make the impact of a nutter going postal worse. They might still go postal with less effective tools, but would the outcomes be as bad?

          I’m not a fan of guns, but I think Pete has a point: the US need to look for a response that suits their unusual circumstances. In that context, the what if he is ready to shoot back argument has some merit.

    • Keyser Soze

      These [cowards] that go all duddums because some classmate didn’t invite them to the school prom are much less likely to go postal if they know those classmates are packing heat.


  • Orange

    Same thinking shown in the Need for Speed Crash. They were speeding – they crashed – families suing the car manufacturer.

    • geoff2112

      It has failed….didn’t work.

  • Just me

    In 2013 8454 people were killed by firearms in the USA… There was 1480 people killed in knife attacks. Once we’ve sorted out the guns are we going to ban fruit knives?

    • xennex

      2013 USA firearms deaths were 33,636 – many more than knives (around 1600). I think once you remove hand guns from firearms you do find that knives kill more.

  • Lance Ralph

    Jet-lagged once in small town New Jersey I was walking late at night when saw a man, clearly drunk to the point where he had difficulty in standing, with two handguns. He was waving them around and making KERPOW noises.I turned and walked away as discreetly as I could.
    Once in Canada I was biking on a trail and lost the track. I was on somebody’s private property. I did not see any gun but I heard a metallic noise that I guess is the sound of whatever one does to a rifle or gun to prepare it for firing.
    A hate-filled voice asked me “where the **** are you going”
    I went – as fast as I could.

  • waldopepper

    the problem will always be, particularly in the US who are lawsuit crazy, that once you have a case against a firearms manufacturer that wins, then all of a sudden by default the gun is responsible in part or in whole, and the person who used it can by default claim diminished responsibility. and that is a slippery slope and i would suggest the end of any civilised society. because it then wouldnt be long before defence attorneys are using that argument and we have a situation where no one is responsible for anything. got caught drunk driving – the car and the booze was responsible, not me. killed a guy in a bar brawl – the bar is responsible, not me. knifed a guy – the knife is responsible, not me. beat my wife – my wedding ring is responsible, not me.

  • metalnwood

    Stupid. If I was to go by their argument that the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle is a military weapon and should not have been sold to civilians then they should be suing their government or state. If they are arguing against a law then go to the lawmakers, not the maker of the firearm who by the way, didnt supply it to a civilian.

  • Spiker

    Remington is selling a product that is legally sold. If the case is won it won’t matter, it will head to the higher courts and be won, eventually. After tens of millions of dollars in legal fees.

    Lawyers always win in the end.

  • Doug

    The only winners here will be the lawyers… At a guess the only people available to sue may be the gun companies, that or some anti gun law firm figures the most effective thing for their aim is to sue the suppliers

  • jimknowsall

    Ban guns or not, but going after the manufacturers is just stupid and, in this case, just based on greed.

  • Diehard

    The gun manufacturers don’t decide what can be sold to civilians. Isn’t that done by the law makers? If they were illegally selling these weapons then they have a point but otherwise it’s just money for lawyers.

  • D.Dave

    It would not be an assumption that Remington sold the AR-15 to a retailer, who then sold it on to the shooter. The Remington defence will be that they sold the weapon to a licensed Dealer and they are responsible for the actions of the shooter. Are they also suing the ammunition manufacturers, because a stand alone weapon cannot kill without ammunition. There will be some wealthy lawyers at the end of all this.