- Oct 29, 2020
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
After early defeats in Congress, relatives of those lost in the 2012 shooting fought on, besting a renowned gun maker and an infamous conspiracy theorist.
A good synopsis of how lawyers proved that Remington violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, a consumer protection law. Some highlights from the article.
At the heart of the legal strategy against Remington was the families’ claim that the manufacturer had illegally marketed the military-style Bushmaster to troubled young men like the Sandy Hook gunman, Adam Lanza, 20. Remington said the families lacked proof the gunman ever saw its advertising before he killed himself inside the bullet-riddled school.
Before the shooting, Mr. Lanza had spent hours a day playing Call of Duty, a video game in which players used the Bushmaster to wage war. Mr. Koskoff, the lawyer for the families, had played Call of Duty too, introduced to it by one of his sons — and he recognized the duct-taped magazines from a contemporaneous version of the game.
Flashy, militaristic pitches with macho slogans like “Forces of opposition, bow down,” “Clear the room” and “Consider your man card reissued” ran in men’s magazines, but also on online marketplaces and websites frequented by young men immersed in combat weaponry, Mr. Koskoff said. The Bushmaster appeared in combat video games like Call of Duty, which “is a virtual shooting range for potential future users,” Mr. Koskoff said.
“The gun conglomerate formed by Cerberus blew through two very well established lines by targeting younger users who could not be lawful purchasers, and people who presented an increased risk to public safety,” Mr. Koskoff said. “They never asked, ‘How can we market this weapon in a way that reduces the risk of dangerous use?’ It appears from all the evidence that they did the opposite.”
Mr. Koskoff was still exploring legal avenues for the case in the closing days of 2013 when the Connecticut State Police released thousands of photos and records from their investigation of the shooting.
When he saw the image of duct-taped magazines lying on the floor, the leg of a small desk chair at the edge of the frame, “the hair on my arms stood up,” he said. “I knew that without a single document I could make the case that there was a connection between the marketing of the gun in the game, this kid and the shooting.”
Years later, preparing to depose Remington executives, Mr. Koskoff asked a paralegal to create a PowerPoint slide with the classroom photo on the left, and an image of the taped magazines from Call of Duty on the right. They were nearly identical.