(CNN)The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Thursday that families of Sandy Hook victims can continue their yearslong lawsuit against gun manufacturers.
Sandy Hook victims' families can proceed with their case against gun manufacturer
The decision says that the families may pursue one of their specific claims in the case: that Remington, the manufacturer of Bushmaster's version of the AR-15 rifle used during the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, knowingly marketed the gun for use by people to "carry out offensive, military style combat missions against their perceived enemies."
State law does not permit advertisements that encourage criminal behavior, according to the decision.
CNN has reached out to Remington and Camfour, a gun distributor named in the case, for comment and has not received a response.
"The families' goal has always been to shed light on Remington's calculated and profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users, all at the expense of Americans' safety. Today's decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal," said Josh Koskoff, one of the attorneys for the families, in a statement.
The ruling reinstating the lawsuit came after approximately 15 months of judicial deliberations and approximately five years after 10 families initially filed the case, spurred by the massacre that left 26 people -- mostly young children -- dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012. Adam Lanza, the gunman, used the Bushmaster gun at the center of this case.
In 2016, a lower-court judge dismissed the case in response to a request by Remington, citing a federal statute that protects gun manufacturers and distributors from being implicated if their weapons are used in criminal activity.
The Sandy Hook families had focused on a portion of their argument against Remington on "negligent entrustment," essentially saying that the company sold guns to civilians knowing they are dangerous outside of certain institutions like the military. But the state Supreme Court said that this angle of the case is not feasible legally.
In allowing the marketing argument to go forward, the justices wrote that their interpretation of the federal statute does not give gun companies free reign to use "truly unethical and irresponsible marketing practices."