April 21, 2016 – Professor Adam Winkler spoke to National Public Radio station WSHU about a lawsuit brought against gun manufacturer Remington Arms by the families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting of 2012, in which 20 children and 6 adults were killed. The families are suing Remington Arms for making the weapon used in the shooting, and the case is now headed for trial.
Although gun manufacturers and sellers are protected from most litigation under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005, a loophole in the law exists for cases of negligent entrustments, or selling a gun to someone who is reasonably, or likely, to commit a crime.
Professor Winkler cited lawsuits against tobacco companies in the 1990s that led to serious regulation of the industry. “The tobacco industry was brought down because these internal documents were revealed to the public, and they cast the tobacco industry in a whole new light. The plaintiffs in the Sandy Hook lawsuit would like to do the same thing for the gun makers,” he says. “If they can get those documents through discovery, barring unusual circumstances, they will have the opportunity to reveal those documents to the public.”