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Sandy Hook Settlement Shows That Gun Industry Can, and Will, be Held Accountable for Reckless and Illegal Practices


Today, nine families of people shot and killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut announced that they reached a $73 million settlement in their lawsuit against Remington, a gun manufacturer which made the firearm used in the shooting. As reported by the New York Times, the settlement “represents a significant setback to the firearm industry because the lawsuit, by employing a novel strategy, pierced the vast shield [the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA] enshrined in federal law protecting gun companies from litigation.”

“Congress may have wrongfully given the gun industry a shield against efforts to hold reckless actors accountable, but this settlement shows the shield is not impenetrable,” said Eric Tirschwell, Managing Director of Everytown Law. “This case is a wake-up call for the gun industry – act recklessly and illegally, and you will be held accountable.”

This case is among several efforts seeking to hold reckless actors in the gun industry accountable for their behavior. Along with Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was shot and killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, and Brady, Everytown Law has repeatedly called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Smith & Wesson’s advertising and promotion of its M&P line of assault rifles. Everytown’s argument cites substantial evidence that Smith & Wesson uses unfair and deceptive practices to market its rifles to young, male consumers. 

Furthermore, this past summer, New York enacted legislation which makes clear that gun companies that engage in dangerous  conduct and thereby create a public nuisance in New York can be sued for it. The bill also requires all gun companies who do business in New York to put in place reasonable safeguards to prevent their guns from ending up in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, subjecting those who fail to do so to civil liability.