Gun maker asks judge to dismiss lawsuit by Newtown families

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A gun manufacturer should be held accountable for selling the public semi-automatic rifles that were designed as military killing machines, a lawyer for families of some victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre told a judge Monday.

The argument came during a court hearing on Remington Arms’ request to dismiss a lawsuit by relatives of nine children and adults killed at the Newtown school on Dec. 14, 2012, and a teacher who survived the shooting. A total of 20 first-graders and six adults were fatally shot with a Bushmaster rifle made by Remington.

Judge Barbara Bellis, who rebuffed a similar request by Remington and other defendants in April, did not rule Monday.

The arguments were made on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court rejected challenges to assault weapons bans and other gun control laws passed in Connecticut and New York in response to the Sandy Hook killings. Also Monday, the U.S. Senate was taking up gun control measures a week after 49 people were killed with a similar rifle in Orlando, Florida.

The Orlando killings have reignited debates over AR-15-style rifles, which have been used in several mass killings in recent years, and over whether to reinstate a federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. There has also been renewed debate, including among presidential candidates, over whether to repeal a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products, with some exceptions.

Besides Remington, other defendants in the Connecticut state court lawsuit include firearms distributor Camfour and Riverview Gun Sales, the now-closed East Windsor store where the Newtown gunman’s mother bought the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle used in the shooting.