Remington: Bushmaster not a ‘dealer’

Remington Arms targeted the indirect relationships contained in the “negligent entrustment” argument made by families of Sandy Hook victims in a motion for summary judgment.

In a supporting document filed Aug. 1, Remington called the claims “legally insufficient” because Bushmaster Firearms, a manufacturer owned by Remington, did not directly sell the rifle to the gunman who later used it in the horrific crime on Dec. 14, 2012.

“To be a ‘seller’ under the relevant provision of the (Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act), one must be engaged in the business as a firearms ‘dealer’ and also be licensed by the federal government as a firearms ‘dealer,” the motion says. “The undisputed evidence is that the manufacturer of the firearm used in the shooting, Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC, was not licensed as a firearms ‘dealer’ and therefore did not meet the statutory definition of a firearm ‘seller.’”

The North Carolina gun maker also challenged claims under a state consumer protection law because plaintiffs “were not consumers of Remington products, were not competitors of Remington and were not otherwise in business relationships with Remington,” the motion says.

Remington’s attorneys filed the motion for summary judgment within the same timeframe as the judge presiding over the case issued a protective order on behalf of the gun maker. The company had been fighting the court over discovery, which would force it to turn over internal documents. While Remington must still turn over documents, confidential information — market research, pricing, personal info, etc — will be protected under the order.

Plaintiffs filed suit in December 2014, arguing ARs — the civilian version of standard U.S. military rifles — are weapons of war and should not be sold to civilians. They argue Remington knew the military aspect would entice the gun owning public and the carnage it could cause.

At the Newtown school on Dec. 14, 2012, the gunman fired 154 rounds in less than five minutes and killed 20 first-graders and six educators, according to the final report by state authorities.