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US court rules families can sue gun maker over Sandy Hook shooting

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The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday allowed a lawsuit against Remington Outdoor Co Inc to go ahead, giving families who lost loved ones in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting the chance to pursue their claims in an effort to hold the gunmaker liable.

The families of nine of the victims and one survivor have said the manufacturer, along with a gun wholesaler and local retailer, are partially responsible for the carnage at the Newtown, Connecticut, school because they marketed the weapon based on its militaristic appeal.

Adam Lanza, 20, used a Remington AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, a semi-automatic civilian version of the U.S. military’s M-16, to kill 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7, as well as six adult staff members, at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. He then killed himself.

Remington on Thursday did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm industry’s trade association, said it was reviewing the decision and did not have immediate comment.

Josh Koskoff, one of the lawyers for the victims’ families, said in a statement the families were grateful for the court’s rejection of the gun industry’s bid for complete immunity.

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“The families’ goal has always been to shed light on Remington’s calculated and profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users, all at the expense of Americans’ safety. Today’s decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal,” Koskoff said.

Legal experts have said any appeal of the ruling by the gunmaker would likely be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, where it could face steep legal hurdles.

The tragedy led then-President Barack Obama to urge federal gun control legislation, but proposals died on Capitol Hill.

The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, has provided the U.S. firearms industry an almost impenetrable defense against lawsuits by victims of mass shootings and gun violence, broadly shielding Remington and others such as American Outdoor Brands Corp, Sturm Ruger & Co and Vista Outdoor Inc from liability stemming from such incidents.

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Since Sandy Hook and subsequent school shootings, most federal efforts at gun control or gun rights expansion have faded and the bulk of firearms legislation has been in state legislatures across the country.

Reporting by Tina Bellon; Editing by Dan Grebler

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Sailing among the stars: Here’s how photons could revolutionize space flight

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A few days from now, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will lift off from Florida, carrying a satellite the size of a loaf of bread with nothing to power it but a huge polyester "solar sail."

It's been the stuff of scientists' dreams for decades but has only very recently become a reality.

The idea might sounds crazy: propelling a craft through the vacuum of space with no engine, no fuel, and no solar panels, but instead harnessing the momentum of packets of light energy known as photons -- in this case from our Sun.

The spacecraft to be launched on Monday, called LightSail 2, was developed by the Planetary Society, a US organization that promotes space exploration which was co-founded by the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan in 1980.

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Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

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Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

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