Law Profs Say Gun Makers Should Be Liable for Sandy Hook Shooting


Publish Date:
April 19, 2017
  • Storace, Robert
Connecticut Law Tribune
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Thirteen law professors who specialize in common-law torts have thrown their weight behind a negligent entrustment appeal lodged against the makers of the AR-15 rifle used in the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Their 35-page amicus brief filed with the Connecticut Supreme Court Monday focuses on how negligent entrustment should apply to Remington and Bushmaster Firearms, the makers of the AR-15 rifle used in the massacre. The brief was submitted in an appeal to the state Supreme Court filed by attorneys representing some of the families of students and educators killed.

The brief’s co-author, Stanford law professor Nora Freeman Engstrom, said negligent entrustment boils down to one question. “That is, did the defendant take adequate precautions given the magnitude of the foreseeable risk? And, here, the jury might ultimately find the defendant failed to take adequate precautions in their sale of military grade assault weapons to an untrained civilian population.”

“I don’t know if our brief will sway the court, but I want them to have our expertise and give them the tools they need to properly construe the tort of negligent entrustment,” Engstrom said. “If you look at the signers of the brief, they are among the most respected and influential voices in tort law in the United States today.”

The brief took about two weeks to put together and involved two Stanford law school students, Engstrom said. The other professors signed onto the brief after reviewing it and providing their input.

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