Sunday, December 14, is the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the shooting that took the lives of 20 children and seven adults. It’s also the day that some of the children’s parents are reportedly filing suit against the manufacturer of the AR-15 that was used to kill their kids.
Dec. 14 is both the 2nd anniversary and the deadline for filing suit.
In recent weeks, parents of thirteen of the children have opened estates in their names at probate court. At least 11 of the applications signaled the intention to file a wrongful death suit. This was a first step toward such a filing; December 14 is the legal deadline.
The Guardian reports that an official announcement of the action will be made on Monday, December 15, by attorney Michael Koskoff and Democratic lobbyist Karen Hinton.
Koskoff represented the Michael Jackson estate in its unsuccessful wrongful death suit. Hinton is known for taking on big corporations over issues like pollution of the Amazon rain forest.
The parents’ task was made much harder by a Congress that is shamefully in the pocket of the National Rifle Association. In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which prohibited civil suits against manufacturers due to “the misuse” of their weapons by others.
According to News.Mic, the parents’ legal strategy will avoid the misuse argument and focus instead on a tactic used in the 60’s and 70’s to force car manufacturers to install seatbelts. The suit will allege that Bushmaster failed to incorporate appropriate safety mechanisms in the AR-15 that would have prevented Adam Lanza from firing his mother’s weapon.
These kids are not mere ‘statistical blips.’
Last year, Veronique Pozner, mother of shooting victim Noah, told the media:
I am looking at anything that can be done to prevent this from happening to another family. I don’t want his life to be a statistical blip.
Noah’s estate is party to the suit against Bushmaster, which may be only one of several. The families are also reportedly considering suits against the estate of the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza; the insurance company that issued her homeowner’s coverage; and the town of Newtown, CT, for providing inadequate security to the school.
It took years for activists to force car companies into making safety measures a part of their product. It may take years for this effort to succeed as well.
The consequences of inaction are horrifying. A recent analysis by Everytown For Gun Safety reports that an unconscionable 94 school shootings have occurred in the two years since the Sandy Hook massacre. Only a handful of states have been spared.
If this country is ever to arrive at the day when it can truly say, “Not One More,” it will be thanks to the courage of parents like these — people who continue on through sheer force of will for the sake of others. Parents who are determined that their children’s lives will have more meaning than becoming mere “statistical blips.”
Feature image from Sandy Hook Promise Facebook page