Sanders is wrong about the lawsuit we filed after our son’s murder in Newtown

Parents of Sandy Hook school shooting victim, Daniel Barden, correct the record about their intentions in filing a lawsuit against Bushmaster after presidential candidate Bernie Sanders presented the case as attacking the gun maker because its gun was used in the massacre.

Mark and Jackie Barden are among the 10 families suing the Bushmaster, its parent company Remington Outdoor Company and the retailer of the rifle used in the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012.

In the lawsuit, the families argue Bushmaster marketed the AR-15 rifle as a weapon of war and in turn the gunman — a mentally disturbed teen — used the rifle as such.

This case is about a particular weapon, Remington’s Bushmaster AR-15, and its sale to a particular market: civilians. It is not about handguns or hunting rifles, and the success of our lawsuit would not mean the end of firearm manufacturing in this country, as Sanders warned. This case is about the AR-15 because the AR-15 is not an ordinary weapon; it was designed and manufactured for the military to increase casualties in combat. The AR-15 is to guns what a tank is to cars: uniquely deadly and suitable for specialized use only.

We have never suggested that Remington should be held liable simply for manufacturing the AR-15. In fact, we believe that Remington and other manufacturers’ production of the AR-15 is essential for our armed forces and law enforcement. But Remington is responsible for its calculated choice to sell that same weapon to the public, and for emphasizing the military and assaultive capacities of the weapon in its marketing to civilians.

Indeed, Remington promotes the AR-15’s capacity to inflict mass casualities. It markets its AR-15s with images of soldiers and SWAT teams; it dubs various models the “patrolman” and the “adaptive combat rifle” and declares that they are “as mission-adaptable as you are”; it encourages the notion that the AR-15 is a weapon that bestows power and glory upon those who wield it. Advertising copy for Remington’s AR-15s has included the following: “Consider your man card reissued,” and “Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered.”

Of course, causing forces of opposition to bow down is exactly what the AR-15 was engineered to do — in combat. But history has shown us, time and again, that it is innocent civilians in malls and movie theaters, and children in their classrooms, who have been made to bow down to the singular power of a gunman wielding an AR-15.

This is not a theoretical dispute. The last thing our sweet little Daniel would have seen in his short, beautiful life was the long barrel of a ferocious rifle designed to kill the enemy in war. The last thing Daniel’s tender little body would have felt were bullets expelled from that AR-15 traveling at greater than 3,000 feet per second — a speed designed to pierce body armor in the war zones of Fallujah.

 Read the full piece at The Washington Post

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