Sandy Hook Parents Sue Bushmaster: You Sold ‘Weapon of Choice’ for Mass Murderers

The families of 10 of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre have filed a joint lawsuit against the makers of the gun that killed their children.

Jessica Hill/AP

A lawsuit filed Monday by 10 Sandy Hook victims’ families claims Adam Lanza would not have been able to kill 26 people in five minutes without his “weapon of choice,” a Bushmaster AR-15.

“The number of lives lost in those 264 seconds was made possible” by the rifle that was “engineered to deliver maximum carnage with extreme efficiency,” according to the lawsuit against AR-15 manufacturer Bushmaster.

The lawsuit was filed Monday morning in Connecticut superior court against Bushmaster, several other manufacturers, and Riverview Gun Sales, where Lanza’s rifle was purchased.

These defendants know that “as a result of selling AR-15s to the civilian market, individuals unfit to operate these weapons gain access to them... Despite that knowledge, defendants continue to sell the XM15-E52 rifle to the civilian market.”

In making the case against any civilian sales of AR-15s, the plaintiffs say—among other things—“there is not a single state that requires a mental-health examination of a potential purchaser of an AR-15” or to “answer questions about other individuals with whom they intend to share access.”

The reference is unmistakably to Nancy Lanza, who purchased the AR-15 that her son would use to massacre 20 first-grade students and six adults before taking his own life.

Under the title “The Road to Sandy Hook,” the lawsuit painstakingly details the use of the AR-15 in other mass shootings, including those at schools. Yet Bushmaster continued to market the AR-15 as a weapon that would make others “bow down” and kept selling high-capacity magazines with it.

After recounting the individual lives taken by Lanza and his Bushmaster AR-15, the lawsuit says the defendants “knew, or should have known” that the sale of the AR-15 “posed an unreasonable and egregious risk of physical injury to others.” In addition, it should’ve known it would’ve been used in a mass shooting to inflict maximum casualties.

The families created estates in their childrens’ names (with parents as administrators) so they could sue on behalf of the victims. Bushmaster and the other defendants’ conduct, the plaintiffs say, was a “substantial factor resulting in the following injuries and losses.” They are listed for the dead as “terror; ante-mortem pain and suffering; destruction of the ability to enjoy life’s activities; destruction of earning capacity, and death.”

The plaintiffs claim damages in excess of $15,000 and seek further relief for monetary damages, puntitive damages, attorneys’ fees, costs, and injunctive relief.