remington bushmaster lawsuit sandy hook PLCAA
Courtesy Remington
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The quote of the day is presented by

This Friday, the Supreme Court could decide whether to hear the case of Remington Arms v. Soto. That’s the wrongful death case in which a group of parents of Newtown victims and one survivor sued Remington, maker of the Bushmaster rifle used by the spree killer at Sandy Hook Elementary.

While lower courts ruled that Remington couldn’t be sued for selling the rifle (the PLCAA protects the company when their products are used to break the law), the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the suit could go forward because Remington allegedly violated the state’s unfair trade practices law.

Remington then appealed the Connecticut court’s decision to the SCOTUS. The Court will consider Big Green’s cert application on Friday, when they could accept the case, deny it (letting the Connecticut case proceed to discovery) or table it for future consideration.

The Connecticut Supreme Court agreed with a lower court judge that one element of the case cannot be tried, saying that the federal shield law precluded the families’ argument that Remington had “negligently entrusted” a weapon of war to an untrained civilian population.

But in a 4-to-3 ruling, the Connecticut justices upheld another element of the families’ case, saying the lawsuit could continue to trial under the state consumer protection law. “Connecticut law does not permit advertisements that promote or encourage violent, criminal behavior,” the decision said.

The lawsuit, filed in 2014 by the families of nine victims and a teacher who was shot and survived, accuses Remington of using militaristic and hypermasculine advertising for its Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle in order to attract disturbed young men like the Sandy Hook killer. On its website, Bushmaster advertised the rifle with the “man card” slogan and the tagline, “If it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for you.”

– Kristin Hussey and Elizabeth Williamson in Supreme Court to Weigh Taking Bellwether Case Against Gun Industry

That “militaristic and hypermasculine” advertising was apparently too much for Nancy Lanza, who bought the Bushmaster rifle, to resist. 300x250-v2

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      • scotus may or may not grant cert. it’s news.
        or, as screamin’ jay put it, “monkey toes and string beans.” but don’t take my word for it.

        • A friend and I nearly were once — we were crossing a field (shortcut to home) when we felt our skin start to crawl and our clothes actually started lifting away from our bodies. Gene yelled “Hit the deck!” and we done flat. A tree maybe ten yards away exploded just about the time I looked around after slamming to the ground.

    • “The lawsuit, filed in 2014 by the families of nine victims and a teacher who was shot and survived, accuses Remington of using militaristic and hypermasculine advertising for its Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle in order to attract disturbed young men like the Sandy Hook killer.”

      For this claim to work, a court will have to invalidate both the 1st and 2nd Amendment. As with “violent video games” there is no empirical evidence that supports the idea that an advertising campaign has the ability to specifically “attract disturbed young men”. As of now, it isn’t against any law to be a “disturbed” young man. Our laws are predicated on the commission of actual acts and not on one’s seemingly potential for committing an act. Looks like we’re about to enter a new era where you can be identified and arrested for thought crimes. Our constitutionally guarantee freedoms and liberties will not log survive in this kind of environment. Just who is going to determine what “disturbed” really means?

      • “Just who is going to determine what “disturbed” really means?”

        As a judge actually said once, “I’ll know it when I see it”.

        (That judge was referring to a law dealing with “obscenity”…)

  1. In other news, democrats now control Virginia state government. Look for gun control agenda asap. You’ll probably have to remember to leave your over 10 round mags and ARs at home when you head that way.

      • And where does the non compliance happen, in public for the world to see or squirreled away in your closet where it can’t be evidence against you?

        • I take you it you advocate for loud and proud public non-compliance?

          You go first.

          And go alone.

          It’s hard to blame gun owners behind enemy lines for resisting in a way that doesn’t instantly send them to prison.

        • Varies by county honestly. I see plenty of blatantly noncompliant examples at several ranges a half hour from the capital and I have seen full compliance across the river in the middle of nowhere. Tons in closets all over yes but a lot more ignore the law than you would think. With that said we have a lot to work on with the legal challenges as NYC effectively veto’s liberty.

        • Napresto at this point I don’t even get mad at that reaction. Either they are a troll and get over ridden by facts or they don’t have the garbage laws and modern day stasi concerns and simply lack the ability to consider that freedom can be taken away and caution is needed in how the resistance is conducted.

        • “Non-compliance” is an interesting concept.

          Laws demanding voluntary surrender of private firearms are not actually intended to result in large piles of guns in front of police headquarters. Voluntary surrenders are the nose. The camel is the lack of movement, and use, of firearms anywhere after.

          If one is a felon for possessing a firearm after confiscation orders, one always risks arrest at the range, during transport, if you use such firearms in self-defense inside your home. Forcing gun owners to keep their guns hidden, and inaccessible is good enough. The fact that local police are not permanently stationed outside gun ranges is only a temporary condition. Eventually, the grabbers will figure it out, and stop and frisk at gun ranges will be the norm (and legal because if you are going shooting at the range, you probably have a firearm in possession, and probably one that is contraband). And that is only if the cops are not stationed inside gun ranges.

          If voluntary surrender, or confiscation laws keep gun owners from using their hidden guns….mission accomplished.

        • Sam I believe that is the only logical intention of the law here. It was probably intended to be a generational changing of culture that would over time do a soft kill on gun culture here. Then Hillary lost and the supreme court is in question. I remember a poster bringing up the impeachment process tying up the Senate and slowing down judicial appointments. Essentially plan got fubared everyone is scrambling and panic is getting to be normal.

        • “…and panic is getting to be normal.”

          “If you can keep your head, while all about you are losing theirs.”
          – Kipling

        • Just a question.

          Didn’t say what you should do, I asked what you plan to do.

          Both approaches have pros and cons and would vary with the location, wanted to hear the rationale.

        • Mike I am one of the weird ones that moved to upstate after the ban and didn’t own anything objectionable prior. Because of where I work compliance is overwhelmingly the best option in state. So keeping up on donations to any group actively challenging the various layers of bans (Sullivan act is the worst) taking new shooters out with the lever action and eventually a half retarded AR and voting against any further nonsense is the best option. If things change then a reassessment will happen. Loud and proud has it’s place but it would cost me more than I can justify to those who depend on me.

        • Sam: Great poem! One of my favorites.

          SAFEupstate: I always enjoy your posts – measured, reasonable, and (of course) relevant

          Mike: Many people disobey SAFE in small, meaningful ways. Very few (I think) make their resistance widely known. It’s very risky to be a lone individual taking on a state like NY. This place is not known for its measured, reasonable, freedom-focused response to people who step out of line. But even quiet resistance is important: those guns may be hidden, but that doesn’t make them useless. Refusing to obey, even quietly, sends a message that there are lines that the state is crossing.

        • Napresto thank you for your compliment but commies (and their apologists) can readily disperse much of that well measured reason (working on it).

    • Yeah I give it a year or 2. Sooner if a mass event happens somewhere.
      30 days if the event happens in VA.
      The takeover is just about complete in VA.

      • I seriously considered moving to VA about 10 years ago. Kind of glad I didn’t. But then civil liberties are at risk everywhere.

      • Even though I live in Nebraska I was born in Richmond. I’ve always considered Virginia as my home state. That Virginia died last night. It’s sad that I will never live there again.

        • uhh

          y’all do know that the Democrats had a majority in the state assembly in VA before, right? before they got voted out in 1994?

    • I visit family in VA now and then. Never paid attention to their 55 mph speed limit, never even asked about their rules on guns, don’t plan to do so in the future.

        • They have signs saying that (about every half-mile it seems), but I just drove from NC to DC and back last weekend and never saw the first cop on the roads, drove about 80 mph the whole time. It seems those signs may be more theater than anything else. Virginia drivers, on the other hand, . . .

        • “They have signs saying that, but I just drove from NC to DC and back last weekend and never saw the first cop on the roads, drove about 80 mph the whole time. It seems those signs may be more theater than anything else.”

          Hence the mantra, “People determined to break the law aren’t going to be deterred by adding another law.”

  2. Leftists are really letting their true colors show. Wanting to criminalize “hyper masculine” behavior seems to be their next target in their SJW onslaught. Under that guise they could seek to criminalize everything that gives power to the individual. Any self sufficient behavior could get you locked up. Simply owning any gun, fishing, pumping your own water, having a garden, participating in any contact sport, ect…

    • If it were their asses in trouble, they would be praying for hyper masculine men to come rescue them, or maybe they would prefer petite, caring young women to come in and fight the bad guys and drag them to safety.

  3. On another issue, the statewide election in Virginia resulted in Democrats gaining control of both the House of Delegates and the Senate (they already had the governor’s seat), meaning that they are now well-positioned to do damage to the hard-won pro-gun laws (and Virginians’ gun rights) passed since the 1990’s. All I can say is: No Compliance!

      • Same, hope they don’t get as infringed as up here but it will likely be a testing ground for the good idea fairy.

    • I live in VA. Anti-2A laws(red flag, magazine capacity limits, etc) are already warming up in the bullpen. Hopefully judges put the kibosh on their Constitutional validity.

      Otherwise its going to drive a lot of good people to West Virginia, Tennessee or out west.

  4. So I could see if their advertising ran afoul of CT’s laws they could be forced to take them down or maybe fined, but for the plaintiffs to cash in, wouldn’t they have to establish that Remington’s advertising drove Adam Lanza to kill his mother and steal her gun? Otherwise they were not harmed in any way by the advertisement.

    • Once this is over, Remington should sue them if they haven’t already. That should be a hefty bill. Does anyone know if those other people ever paid Lucky Gunner his $200k in legal fees?

      • Nope, and Brady isn’t helping the family with the bill. I believe the plaintiff divested his assets before filing the case by signing his assets over to others. That doesn’t work for divorces and bankruptcies, and it will be interesting to see if it works here. There’s no way “man card” and “good enough for the military” is going to stand as encouraging an illegal act.

    • If the ad showed a drooling lunatic mowing down a school is give them a billion dollars.
      But it didn’t.
      Since the Lanza clan is broke and guns are evil this lawsuit is here to right the wrongs.

      Because cops sat outside waiting for the all clear (a now common approach used by Broward County SO) they should sue the authorities. But that won’t bankrupt an industry.

    • the lawsuit is moronic on a number of levels. First, the case should be thrown out completely because of the federal immunity law, allowing this BS advertising state law BS is not a proper legal decision. But also, even if the CT advertising law applied, the murderer adam lanza wasn’t the buyer of the guns, wasn’t influenced by the advertising.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if this was similar to the MA stun gun case Caetano ( where SCOTUS reversed the case without ever taking the case up. This is such an obvious BS case, there is no need for SCOTUS to have oral arguments.

      • The gun haters would just argue that SCOTUS was afraid to let the case be heard by the full court and be argued.

        I think if they were inclined to simply dismiss it, they would have done so by now.

        It sure would be nice if we could hear the deliberations in chambers to get a feel for how it was playing out, that could be very helpful in arguing future cases. Here’s to hope Thomas whispers in someone’s ear later what was happening…

  5. Not the violent video games or fucked up home life. Nope. An ad telling a village idiot he has a man card when he holds the same gun his mom bought. If she went with DPMS or PSA then the ad would never had killed those people.

    God help us if the SCOTUS actually takes this.

      • That’s how I see it. Violent games are like alcohol or drugs. Some handle it well and some forget what’s goijng on or what they are doing.

        • Sort of, yes! tens of millions of people use drugs and alcohol, and enjoy movies and video games, without ill effect. That causes me to blame *individuals* for crimes, not inanimate objects or legitimate pursuits, or making excuses for bad behavior rather than punishing it.

        • “That causes me to blame *individuals* for crimes,…”

          Always wise to make individuals accountable, but….

          If influencers have no influence, what is the point of marketing/advertising anything?

        • If you can’t see what violent imagery is capable of I can’t explain it to you. Some people like that shit for their own reasons.

        • ” If influencers have no influence, what is the point of marketing/advertising anything? ”

          The basic goal of advertising is to raise awareness that some kind of service or product exists and is available on the open market. This is not advertising that is intended to influence anyone — it’s simply a public statement that says “hey, I’m for sale.” So, that’s the point of advertising anything.

          Whether or not advertising actually influences– well, that’s a source on non-stop debate. The basic issue here is: Does advertising create a demand where one didn’t exist, or does it play on demands that are already extant? No one knows the answer, and probably never will.

          Merchandiser John Wannamaker likely summed it up best: “Half of what we spend on advertising is wasted. The problem is we don’t know which half.”

    • If SCOTUS doesn’t take the case, and strike down the SCOTS, then Remington will be bankrupt by the lawsuit, even if they end up winning.
      The lawsuit is rife with vague language (wtf is ‘hyper masculinity’), and downright false statements (the ad promoted violent, illegal acts).
      If the ‘promoting of violent, illegal acts’ is an actual thing, the GTA game franchise is in for serious trouble.

  6. Don’t people use their brains anymore? The statement “On its website, Bushmaster advertised the rifle with the “man card” slogan and the tagline, ” “If it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for you.” ” is plainly obvious to anyone with even half-a-brain! The military puts any weapons that it considers purchasing through rigorous tests and trials to ensure functionality, reliability, and longevity.

    Why would anyone consider purchasing a military “style” weapon from a company that has been making them for many years for the U.S. Military and the military of many other countries? Because they have already been proven functional, reliable, and likely to have a long and usable lifespan under the harshest conditions in the world!

    In real life, THINGS HAPPEN! We don’t want them to, but they do! It may be while hunting, plinking, or even at an official gun range. Things can still happen when your life may depend on the functionality of your rifle! I know that if I was in a SHTF situation, I would rather have a weapon in my hands made by Colt than by some other manufacturer that I had hardly ever heard of!

  7. It’s a stupid lawsuit (and even if it goes back down, it’s going to be tough for the plaintiffs to come up with any evidence to connect the dots between the “hypermasculine” ads and Ms. Lanza’s purchase of the weapon), but the odds of the Supreme Court granting cert on an issue of state law are somewhere between none and “what are you smoking?”.

    • Even if Mrs. Lanza bought it because of the advertising, she didn’t use it to murder.

      But the PLCAA was specifically for this BS lawsuit. the SCOTUS decision should be 9-0 like Caetano stun gun case.

      • “…the SCOTUS decision should be 9-0 like Caetano stun gun case.”

        That result actually surprised me, since it unanimously acknowledged, even by the usually-rabid left wing of the Court, that self-defense with a weapon was a right…

        • I was surprised ginsburg and sotomayor were part of the majority too. Breyer and kagan are liberal but less insanely liberal than the other two.

          That tells you how out of touch the MA supreme court was, unanimously reversed is a backhand across the face. And that wasn’t the first time the MA supreme court has been unanimously reversed. It’s a very poor court.

    • “…but the odds of the Supreme Court granting cert on an issue of state law are somewhere between none and “what are you smoking?”.”

      I’m no lawyer (*painfully* obvious, ha!) but the Court could be thinking further on down the line than just that specific issue.

      Here’s to hoping the current balance of the court is plotting ways to put more nails in the coffin of arbitrary and specious ‘gun control’.

      (I just knew I picked the wrong day to quit main-lining heroin… 🙂 )

    • LKB,

      This lawsuit is a blatantly obvious end-run around federally mandated immunity for firearms manufacturers (PLCAA).

      As such, it seems that federal courts have a duty to smack down this bogus lawsuit. My only question is why this is not going to a lower federal court before going to the United States Supreme Court.

      • A couple of thoughts:

        (1) PLCAA is NOT blanket immunity for firearms manufacturers. For example, if the gun has a defective trigger, you can still bring a products liability claim against the manufacturer if that particular manufacturing or design defect directly caused you injury. Or if a firearms manufacturer is engaged in price fixing or bid rigging, it is still subject to the normal civil or criminal liability for such conduct.

        What PLCAA *does* say is that you can’t sue firearms manufacturers for liability arising from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a firearm by third parties. But there are exceptions to this — one of which is the following:

        an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, and the violation was a proximate cause
        of the harm for which relief is sought.

        15 USC 7903(5)(A)(iii). The Conn SCt. has attempted to thread the needle by claiming that the claim that survives does so under this exception. Note that they are NOT saying the plaintiff prevails on it — just that the plaintiff ought to have a chance to prove its case under it.

        Now, is it likely that plaintiffs will be able to adduce any evidence that Bushmaster’s “false” advertising was a “knowing” violation of the law that proximately caused their injuries? Not likely, as the Conn. S.Ct. dissent pointed out. But that issue is a matter of state law, which Los Supremos almost never weigh in on, particularly on a case at a preliminary stage where any decision in the plaintiffs’ favor will still be subject to later appellate review on sufficiency grounds.

        (2) Why didn’t the case go to a lower federal court? Put simply, because that’s not how the law works. (Congress *could* have created a right to remove such cases to federal court, but it did not do so.) Thus, just like any decision by a state court that is based on an interpretation or application of federal law, any federal law issue is ultimately appealable to the Supreme Court (e.g., Caetano v. Mass.). But lower federal courts do not have plenary or roving jurisdiction to step in and tell state courts that they are doing it wrong in civil cases. (Indeed, we could get into a long discussion of the parameters of the federal Anti-Injunction Act (which generally prohibits them from doing so), but this post is already too law-nerdy for most readers already.)

        Long and short — do I think the Conn. SCt. got it wrong, especially given the admissions by the plaintiffs as to their motives in bringing the suit? Yes.
        Do I think the Supreme Court will grant cert on this one? No.
        If Plaintiffs prevail on remand and the case is then appealed again, do I think the Supreme Court might take it then? Maybe.

        • LKB,

          Thank you for the in-depth explanation. Now I can see how the Connecticut Supreme Court allowed the lawsuit to go forward and why the U.S. Supreme Court will not likely intervene.

          Having said all that, I would expect the arguments of that lawsuit to take all of a couple hours and anything close to an impartial jury to immediately find in favor of Remington.

          This is simply an instance where the civilian disarmament industrial complex is using the legal PROCESS to punish Remington. The civilian disarmament advocates know that they cannot possibly win their lawsuit — and they don’t care! What they are guaranteed to accomplish is costing Remington ghastly amounts of money on legal defense. In that sense that plaintiffs know that they cannot possibly lose.

          This is, to use the catchy term, “lawfare” — a form of warfare where civilian disarmament advocates use the courts to wage war on the firearms rights advocates.

        • Uncommon:

          Is the plaintiffs’ approach lawfare? Absolutely.

          Will complaining that the other side is engaging in lawfare do any good? Not really.

          The actual solution is for our side to find ways to punch back twice as hard. E.g., our own test cases against various state and private actors for conspiracy to violate civil rights, etc. In other words, start playing the game like the other side — forum shop test cases that push the envelope in friendly district courts where the appeal is to a favorable court of appeals (e.g., 5th Circuit), or do it in a state court in a jurisdiction where conservatives have a lock on things.

          Doing this right takes money and an organization savvy enough to wargame it all (i.e., not just the legal strategy but the political and PR campaigns that dovetail with it). That ought to be the NRA, but apparently preserving the perks for Wayne and his bootlickers is a higher priority for that organization than actually getting their hands dirty.

        • LKB,

          I like the way you think. I have mentioned on this website several times that various private and government individuals are guilty of conspiracy to violate our civil rights and/or deprivation of civil rights under color of law (the “under color of law” part only applies to government/law enforcement actors of course).

          Are you talking lawsuits for conspiracy to violate civil rights? Or are you talking about criminal prosecution for conspiracy to violate civil rights? If you are talking about criminal prosecution, how do we get federal prosecutors to actually do their job and prosecute the bad actors?

        • LKB,

          That ought to be the NRA, but apparently preserving the perks for Wayne and his bootlickers is a higher priority for that organization than actually getting their hands dirty.

          THAT made me laugh out loud. Sadly, it is exactly true.

        • Uncommon:

          Criminal prosecution is probably a pipe dream. For lots of reasons (some prudential, some procedural, some legal, mostly due to the politicazation of the DoJ), I cannot imagine you’ll ever see federal prosecutors do it. It’s possible that you might see a state AG in a safe red state do something (think: obverse of what the NY AG is doing with the NRA), but I would not bet on it.

          Civil litigation is what I was referring to. To be clear, I do not and can never support pure “lawfare” (bringing a meritless suit simply to exhaust or intimidate a party due to the expense or inconvenience of litigation) — such is unethical for any attorney involved, and is a misuse of the legal process. I am only suggesting litigation where there is a claim that is based on good-faith factual bases and legal theories. One possible example: claims under 42 USC 1985(3) (private right of action for conspiracy to violate civil rights) — however, such claims would probably survive a motion to dismiss only if brought in the Fifth Circuit, as most of the other circuits have written a racial animus element into a 1985(3) claim).

          Nevertheless, one should recognize that I am talking cases that may be bleeding-edge test cases, and so such actions must be brought *very* carefully to avoid making matters worse. E.g., a lot of 2A challenges over the years have been brought in a ham-handed fashion (often by parties pro se or by attorneys whose 2A zeal appears to have exceeded their litigation competence), which allowed the courts to pour them out and thereby set some bad precedents. The key to successful test case litigation is to VERY carefully pick your battles and wargame things many moves in advance. Look at some of the cases brought in the economic arena by the Institute for Justice, or in the academic world by FIRE, if you want to see how this is done by the pros.

  8. If Remington ends up losing their case based on the advertising, it could have huge ramifications for advertising for most everything and result in floods of lawsuits because the advertising caused the negligent or criminal behavior of someone to themselves and/or others.

    • “If Remington ends up losing their case based on the advertising, it could have huge ramifications for advertising for most everything…”

      Like alcohol advertisements showing people having fun during and after consuming the product?

        • That’s why you always see a disclaimer on car ads with ‘spirited’ driving featured.

          Crap like “Driver on a closed course. Obey all traffic laws.”

          etc, etc, et-fucking cetera…

  9. If something like that is allowed to stand EVERY manufacturer in the country is in trouble, especially the automakers! And the trial lawyers ould go nuts with delirium. No legal product would be safe.

  10. When it comes to 2A, SCOTUS is squishier than a sack full of cat sh!t. Roberts will duck and cover, Thomas will stand up for us once again, and Scalia will turn over in his grave.

  11. how many ARs are out there how many have been bought and resold many times and how many have been built with 80% receivers who know,s I know the government don,t

  12. Sue the makers who manufacture items (such as those “scary looking guns”), and to hell with a person being personally responsible for ones own actions. God forbid in this day and age. Go shoot individuals on a mass scale, and everyone else gets to pay the price by losing their rights, while the shooter is written down in history as being a hero of sorts.


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