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Sandy Hook families argue in court gun companies ‘courted’ shooter

Family members of Newtown victims say gun companies’ macho advertising for AR-15-style rifles helped draw Adam Lanza to ‘the weapon he needed’

A vigil for those killed in the shooting in Las Vegas and calling for action against guns on 4 October 2017 in Newtown, Connecticut. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Family members of victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting are in court, once again, on Tuesday to fight an uphill battle to hold gun companies accountable for marketing and selling the AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 children and six adults in December 2012.

Legal experts have said the case is unlikely to succeed, thanks to a 2005 federal law designed to shield gun companies from liability when their products are misused by criminals. But the case, which became a flashpoint in the 2016 presidential primary, has continued to strike a political chord in a country where federal lawmakers refuse to even consider stricter gun control laws.

The latest court hearing also comes less than two weeks after a gunman used the AR-15-style rifle, the semi-automatic civilian version of a military M-16, to execute 25 people, many of them children, at a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

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Lawyers for the Sandy Hook families have argued that gun companies were negligent to market a dangerous military-style weapon to civilians. They have put a spotlight on gun companies’ macho, militaristic advertising for AR-15-style rifles, with ad slogans like, “Consider your man card reissued,” and “Forces of opposition, bow down.”

“Remington may never have known [Sandy Hook shooter] Adam Lanza, but they had been courting him for years,” Josh Koskoff, an attorney for the Sandy Hook plaintiffs, told a packed Connecticut supreme court hearing on Tuesday morning.

“The weapon he needed for his mission that day was never in doubt,” Koskoff said, saying the Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle the shooter used had been marketed as “the…

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