Bushmaster case transferred back to state court

Bushmaster rifle

The murder weapon, a Bushmaster rifle, used by the gunman who killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012. (Photo: Connecticut Attorney General)

A federal judge approved a motion to send a lawsuit against Bushmaster Firearms back to a Connecticut court where family members of Sandy Hook victims will have a better chance of winning.

Judge Robert Chatigny, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, signed the order on Sept. 30 approving a motion to remand the case back to a Connecticut Superior Court after roughly three months of reviewing arguments.

In state court, attorneys representing families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook massacre plan to argue their case under a state law called the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. They contend Bushmaster acted negligently by advertising military-style weapons to civilians.

During the Sandy Hook massacre — one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history — the gunman murdered 20 first-graders and six educators using a Bushmaster rifle on Dec. 14, 2012.

Attorneys representing Bushmaster had the case pushed to federal court in January 2015, a month after it was filed, on the argument that only one of the plaintiff’s listed, Riverview Gun Store, was actually located in Connecticut.

Also, if the case proceeded in federal court it would have likely been dismissed under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which shields gun makers from lawsuits if a consumer uses their products with malice toward another person.

Bushmaster, with facilities in Maine and North Carolina, is a company under the larger Remington Arms Company, formerly Freedom Group, which is headquartered in North Carolina.

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