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Gun manufacturer Remington Arms has reached a settlement worth $73 million with the families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, multiple outlets reported on Tuesday.
In the agreement, the now-bankrupt gunmaker's four insurers all agreed to pay the full amount of coverage available to the families of five children and four adults who were killed in the massacre.
In all, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people — including 20 children between the ages of six and seven years old — in Newton, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, using an AR-15 made by Remington Arms. Following the heinous act, Lanza turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
According to the New York Times, the agreement is the largest such settlement involving a gunmaker and the relatives of mass shooting victims.
The attorney for the families, Josh Koskoff, celebrated the settlement in a press release Tuesday, declaring that the landmark case opens the path to future lawsuits against gunmakers whose products are used in mass casualty incidents.
"These nine families have shared a single goal from the very beginning: to do whatever they could to help prevent the next Sandy Hook. It is hard to imagine an outcome that better accomplishes that goal," said Josh Koskoff.
"This victory should serve as a wake-up call not only to the gun industry but also the insurance and banking companies that prop it up," he added. "For the gun industry, it’s time to stop recklessly marketing all guns to all people for all uses and instead ask how marketing can lower risk rather than court it. For the insurance and banking industries, it’s time to recognize the financial cost of underwriting companies that elevate profit by escalating risk. Our hope is that this victory will be the first boulder in the avalanche that forces that change."
In their case, the families and their attorneys contended that Remington violated Connecticut law and fair trade practices by promoting illegal behavior and specifically marketing their firearms to violence-prone young men.
The legal strategy was considered groundbreaking since it appeared to successfully circumvent a longstanding law, known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which protects firearm manufacturers from litigation after violent incidents involving their products.
"Driven by profit goals set by parent company Cerberus, Remington changed its previously sober approach to marketing firearms in favor of an aggressive, multi-media campaign that pushed sales of AR-15s through product placement in first-person shooter videogames and by touting the AR-15’s effectiveness as a killing machine," lawyers stated in the press release.
In addition to the financial settlement, Remington agreed to release thousands of pages of internal company documents, including marketing plans for the weapon used in the shooting.
Remington has not commented publicly on the settlement and has not yet returned requests for comment from major media publications.
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