US gunmaker offers £24 million to Sandy Hook school shooting families

A police detective holds up a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle (Jessica Hill/AP)
17:39pm, Wed 28 Jul 2021
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The maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in the US has offered some of the victims’ families nearly 33 million US dollars (£24 million) to settle their lawsuit over how the company marketed the firearm to the public.

Lawyers for now-bankrupt Remington filed the offers late on Tuesday in Waterbury Superior Court in Connecticut. The nine families suing the company, who are being offered nearly 3.7 million US dollars apiece (£2.2 million), are considering the proposals, their lawyers said.

James Rotondo, a lawyer representing Remington, declined to comment on Wednesday.

The settlement offers were filed a day after a judge denied Remington’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.

A Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle made by Remington was used to kill 20 pupils and six members of staff at the Newtown, Connecticut, school on December 14 2012.

The 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, killed his mother at their Newtown home before the massacre, then killed himself with a handgun as police arrived at the school.

Relatives of nine victims killed in the shooting say in their lawsuit that Remington should have never sold such a dangerous weapon to the public and allege it targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games. They say their focus is on preventing future mass shootings.

(Remington insurers) Ironshore and James River ... deserve credit for now realising that promoting the use of AR-15s as weapons of war to civilians is indefensible

One of the complainants, Nicole Hockley, whose six-year-old son Dylan died in the shooting, said on Wednesday that the families needed to talk with their lawyers about the settlement offers and declined to comment further.

Joshua Koskoff, a lawyer for the families, said the settlements were offered by two of Remington’s insurers.

“Ironshore and James River … deserve credit for now realising that promoting the use of AR-15s as weapons of war to civilians is indefensible,” Mr Koskoff said in a statement.

Remington’s lawyers have denied the lawsuit’s allegations. In their request to dismiss it, they argued there were no facts presented to establish that Remington’s marketing had anything to do with the shooting.

Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, filed for bankruptcy last year for the second time in two years. Its assets were later sold off to several companies.

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