The parents of murdered Parkland students are following in the same legal footsteps as Sandy Hook parents. Two families have filed suit against the maker of the rifle and the store that sold it Nikolas Cruz, the killer who shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February while school resource officers waited outside.
The parents of Jaime Guttenberg and Max Schacter say that American Outdoor Brands, the company that makes the AR-15 assault rifle used by the suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz, and Sunrise Tactical Supply, the store that sold it to him, are complicit in the attack that killed 14 students and three teachers.
The Guttenbergs and Schacters have apparently been convinced that this action somehow stands a chance against overwhelming legal precedent.
“We need to change history when it relates to guns, and we need to make gun makers responsible,” said Guttenberg’s father, Fred, at a news conference in Miami. “We need to make sure they don’t end up in hands of people who will kill innocents.”
The main purpose of the lawsuit is to challenge a 2001 Florida law prohibiting state and local governments from suing gun sellers in the event that their merchandise is used unlawfully.
Not to mention the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a federal statue that protects firearms manufacturers from liability when their products are used to break the law.
Families of victims in previous mass shootings — including those that took place at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut — have also attempted to sue gun manufacturers but eventually saw their cases dismissed.
The Parkland parents don’t seem to be relying on legal precedent in filing their suit.
But inspired by the movement started by students who survived the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, these parents appear to be planning a long-term strategy to keep the momentum going.
We’re not attorneys but we don’t expect “momentum” to get this any farther in a court of law than the Pulse and Sandy Hook lawsuits did.