United States Supreme Court May Console Mass Shooting Victims

"Shot and Forgotten ... shooting victims face lifelong disabilities and financial burdens," reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. [1] Just as the Federal Trade Commission recommended that Congress require cigarette manufacturers to warn the public that cigarette smoking may cause death, the families of the victims of the December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting hope to hold Remington Arms accountable for the death of their loved ones. [2][3] The Supreme Court has agreed to listen to oral arguments in Remington Arms v. Soto, 19-168 on December 2, 2019. It's a New York case which tests restrictions on where handguns can legally be carried.

Longest Serving Congressional Representative

Serving his 20th consecutive term, Steny Hoyer vowed to ensure that Congress works for its constituents and doesn't ignore the roughest issues they face. A gunman shot and killed five employees at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28, 2018, because the current Congress failed to enact legislation prohibiting domestic violence and gun sales to mentally-ill constituents. Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer perseveres to repair the destruction caused by the Trump administration and a dysfunctional Republican majority. [4]

Hoyer Votes Against Firearm Manufacturers

Hoyer voted against a 2005 federal law which prohibits wrongful death lawsuits against gun manufacturers. He voted against a similar bill that attempted to prohibit suing an arms company for their products used in the commission of a crime. He voted against changing the 3-day waiting period to purchase a firearm to 1 day between registration and possession of the weapon. [5]

The Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Remington's Appeal

Remington Arms appealed a Connecticut Supreme Court case that holds the manufacturer liable for marketing the combat-ready rifle that killed 20 Sandy Hook Elementary School students and six parents, and teachers.[6] Families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims claim that Remington Arms violated a Connecticut law when they marketed their “military weapon, engineered to deliver maximum carnage.” They presented their rifle as a combat weapon in the hands of a distraught young teenager. Their attorneys claim profit-driven Remington marketed “high-powered, semi-automatic” weapons without regard for public safety.[7] The U. S. Supreme Court effectively decided against the firearm manufacturer when they declined to listen to the appeal.

Gun Rights Activists

The grieving family members were confronted by gun rights activists and the National Rifle Association. One of a succession of mass shootings in the United States, the Sandy Hook Elementary School casualties are not less significant. Donald Trump and Sheriff Mike Lewis view firearms as deterrents to violence, but they also feel the weapons shouldn’t be in the hands of mental patients. Assault rifles, frequently used in mass shootings killed 58 at one Las Vegas concert and 49 in Orlando, Florida, during 2016.

The National Rifle Association Fears a Supreme Court Ruling

The National Rifle Association asserted that the Connecticut Supreme Court opened a flood gate to nationwide lawsuits against Remington’s “highly lethal” XM15-E2S. The National Rifle Association claims that the Connecticut Supreme Court decision disregarded the 2005 federal law that prohibits suing gun manufacturers. The National Rifle Association, furthermore, fears that mass class action lawsuits will cripple their manufacturing industry.

Precursor to Other Class Action Lawsuits

In the discovery phase of the lawsuit, the victims will gain access to Remington Arms internal memos, documentation, and communications. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, enacted in 2005, makes an exception to disclosure if the manufacturer violates a state or federal law while marketing the product. This Sandy Hook lawsuit against Remington Arms will help other victims file similar class action lawsuits.

Congressmen Hoyer and Schumer on Gun Violence

Steny Hoyer reported that the Democratic House Judiciary Committee discussed gun control and banning automatic assault rifles that fire multiple rounds of ammunition. He also expressed a need to keep firearms from mentally unstable consumers. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to divert Trump’s border wall funds into research of domestic terrorism and gun violence. Schumer called violent white supremacy and gun violence a threat to our national security. Patrick Crusius was only 21 years old when he targeted Mexicans during the El Paso mall mass murder. Schumer thought it was unlikely that Trump would honor his request. A United States Supreme Court Ruling against the gun manufacturers may be what it takes to curb gun violence in the United States.

[1] https://www.inquirer.com/news/gun-violence-philadelphia-shooting-victims-columbine-wheelchair-jalil-frazier-ralph-brooks-20181127.html

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2000/highlights/labels/index.htm

[3] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-sandy-hook/u-s-supreme-court-declines-to-shield-gun-maker-from-sandy-hook-lawsuit-idUSKBN1XM1W8

[4] https://www.hoyerforcongress.com/news-clips/hoyer-op-ed-now-not-time-government-sit-sidelines

[5] https://www.ontheissues.org/house/Steny_Hoyer_Gun_Control.htm

[6] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-sandy-hook/u-s-supreme-court-declines-to-shield-gun-maker-from-sandy-hook-lawsuit-idUSKBN1XM1W8

[7] https://www.greensboro.com/news/national/supreme-court-allows-sandy-hook-families-to-sue-gun-maker/article_561a6a15-990b-5ca1-885f-9888fec77248.html

[8] https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/gunmaker-rejected-as-supreme-court-lets-sandy-hook-families-sue

[9] https://www.fox4news.com/news/unified-dems-press-trump-gop-on-curbing-guns

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