Newtown Families Sue Gun Maker

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

The families of several victims killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the gun Adam Lanza used to kill 27 people, 20 of them children, and himself, according to a law firm representing them.

The plaintiffs include the families of 29-year-old Rachel D’Avino, a behavioral therapist who had recently started working at Sandy Hook; Victoria Soto, 27, a first-grade teacher; Daniel Barden, 7, who aspired to be a firefighter and whose casket was saluted by firefighters during his funeral; and Benjamin Wheeler, 6, who couldn’t decide whether to be an architect, paleontologist or a lighthouse keeper. Natalie Hammond, a teacher who survived after being shot in the foot, leg and hand, is also one of the plaintiffs.

The wrongful death suit is set to be filed Monday morning in the Bridgeport, Conn., Superior Court, according to Josh Koskoff of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, the Connecticut firm representing the families. The two-year anniversary of the shooting was Sunday.

Also named in the suit are Camfour, the distributor of the gun Lanza used, and Riverview Sales Inc., the gun shop that sold him the gun. Federal agents raided the store in 2013, just days after the shootings, and the shop later lost its federal license to sell firearms due to record-keeping violations on gun sales. Authorities have said that the gun Lanza used was purchased legally.

The 40-page lawsuit calls the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the attacks a “military weapon” that was marketed to civilians, despite “no evidence that semiautomatic rifles are … necessary for legitimate self-defense by law-abiding citizens.”

“The risk of a mentally unstable individual gaining access to an assault rifle and unleashing its military firepower on innocent civilians is not theoretical for Bushmaster. It’s a fact,” Katie Mesner-Hage, one of the attorneys representing the families, said in a statement.