Sandy Hook gun lawsuit moves forward in Connecticut Supreme Court

Story highlights

  • The state's highest court will hear an appeal from the families of nine victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre
  • They argue Remington knowingly marketed and sold the AR-15 to a particularly vulnerable group of young men

(CNN)Connecticut's highest court will hear an appeal from the families of nine victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre who brought a lawsuit against gunmaker Remington.

The state Supreme Court transferred the case to its docket Thursday, two weeks after families' attorneys filed their appeal.
    "We very much welcome the court's swift action, particularly as these families approach the fourth painful anniversary of the shooting," the families' attorney, Josh Koskoff, said in a statement. "Time and again our Supreme Court has recognized the importance of allowing litigants their day in court and the indispensable role of a jury as arbiters of justice. That is all these families have ever asked for."
    In October, families lost their bid to take the case to trial at the state's superior court level. Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled in favor of Remington -- the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15, used by 20-year-old Adam Lanza to kill 20 children and six educators -- by granting its motion to strike the case.
    Bellis ruled that gunmakers are immune because of provisions in a federal statute known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. That law, signed by President George W. Bush in 2005, has since prohibited lawsuits against gun manufacturers and distributors whose firearms are used in a criminal act.
    The Sandy Hook families had sought an exemption to the law through a claim of "negligent entrustment," arguing the companies knowingly marketed and sold the AR-15 to a particularly vulnerable group of young men.
    In their appeal, attorneys for the families describe the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School as "a singular event in Connecticut history" that was carried out by a man with a weapon "designed for our armed forces and engineered to deliver maximum carnage." They argue Remington is responsible since the company "chose to sell a weapon of war and aggressively market its assaultive capabilities."
    In a statement, Nicole Hockley, who lost her 6-year-old son, Dylan, in the attack, said she and her family are "grateful that the Connecticut Supreme Court will hear our case immediately.
    Join the conversation

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    "Our goal is and always has been to help prevent the next Sandy Hook, and today is an important step in that direction."
    Remington has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the case.