Steve Halbrook, a lawyer who specializes fighting gun laws, said this week that survivors in Newtown had been “extremely irresponsible” to sue the maker of the military-style assault rifle that was used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Earlier this week, nine families of Sandy Hook victims filed a wrongful-action lawsuit against Bushmaster and the gun shop that sold the rifle, claiming that the weapon was not fit for civilian use. Although Congress sought to protect gun manufacturers with the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005, the families based the suit on a negligent-entrustment exemption provided by the law.
Lawyers for the families asserted that “entrustment” should include putting weapons into the marketplace because those weapons would eventually end up in the hands of consumers.
Halbrook insisted to NRA News that the lawsuit would have been “frivolous” even before Congress provided additional protections to gun manufacturers.
“That act was passed to basically put the lid on any further frivolous lawsuits,” he explained. “And the plaintiffs in this case, the attorneys who filed this case, are acting extremely irresponsible in filing it.”
“The rifles that are being made are totally legal to sell on the street,” he continued. “He said in the complaint that the guns are only useful for military. I can tell you one thing. The military doesn’t buy these guns. They buy fully automatic M-16s, M-4s and whatnot. A semi-automatic does not, by and large, fill the criteria for a service rifle.”
“I would not be surprised if the defendants ask for attorneys fees for filing a frivolous lawsuit.”
According to a 2013 report from the Violence Policy Center, Bushmaster’s parent company, Remington Outdoor Company (ROC), donated between $1,000,000 and $4,999,999 to the National Rifle Association since 2005.
Watch the video below from NRA News via Media Matters.