Ten states and about two dozen members of Congress have joined the National Rifle Association in supporting gunmaker Remington Arms as it fights a Connecticut court ruling involving liability for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown.
Officials in 10 conservative states, 22 House Republicans and the NRA are among groups that filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court this month. They urged justices to overturn the Connecticut decision, citing a much-debated 2005 federal law that shields gun-makers from liability, in most cases, when their products are used in crimes.
Remington, based in Madison, N.C., made the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 first graders and six educators at the Newtown school on Dec. 14, 2012.
A survivor and relatives of nine victims of the massacre filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Remington in 2015, saying the company should not sell such a dangerous weapon to the public and alleging it targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games.
Citing one of the few exemptions in the 2005 federal law, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled, 4-3, in March that Remington could be sued under state law over how it marketed the rifle. The decision overturned a ruling by a state trial court judge who dismissed the lawsuit based on a federal law.
The federal law has been criticized by gun control advocates as being too favorable to gunmakers, and it has been used to bar lawsuits over other mass killings.
The Connecticut case is being watched by gun control advocates, gun rights supporters and gun manufacturers because it could provide a legal path for victims of other mass shootings to sue firearms manufacturers.
One of the supporting briefs was filed by officials in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
“The Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision reads a narrow exception broadly,” the states’ legal brief says. “That reading is inconsistent with the text of the PLCAA. And it creates uncertainty for States seeking to implement sound gun policies consistent with federal law.”
Among the Republican members of Congress who filed a brief were U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Greg Walden of Oregon.
The congressional Republicans’ brief says they “have a strong interest in ensuring the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 ... is interpreted and applied consistent with Congress’s stated purpose, and that the narrow exceptions to the PLCAA are not applied in a way that frustrates congressional intent and renders the PLCAA’s protections meaningless.”
The NRA filed a brief with the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, a fellow pro-gun rights group, saying the Connecticut ruling threatens the gun rights of all Americans.
“The right to keep and bear arms means nothing if the ability to acquire those arms is not possible because the firearm industry is put out of business by unlimited and uncertain liability for criminal misuse of their products,” their brief says.
A lawyer for the victims’ relatives suing Remington defended the lawsuit and the Connecticut court decision: “None of the politically-motivated briefs filed on Remington’s behalf undermine the well-reasoned determination by our state’s highest court that these families deserve their day in court,” Katie Mesner-Hage said in a statement.
Ganim Declared Primary Winner In Bridgeport
After absentee ballots were counted, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim was declared the winner this week after a Sept. 9 Democratic Party challenge by state Sen. Marilyn Moore.
Moore led Ganim by 4,140 to 3,796 votes on Primary Election Night, but was defeated by the incumbent mayor once absentee votes were counted.
Turnout was light on Tuesday: There are about 46,500 registered Democrats in Bridgeport.
Unofficial Board of Elections results had Ganim winning 932 absentee ballot votes to Moore’s 303.
The three Republican mayoral candidates combined for about 600 votes in the largely Democratic city: John Rodriguez got 282, Ethan Book received 167 votes and Dishon Francis had 144 votes.
There are 4,300 registered Republican voters in Bridgeport.
New Greenwich Schools Spokeswoman
Superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools Toni Jones, announced the appointment of Sasha Houlihan as director of communications, effective Aug. 19.
Houlihan takes over for Kim Eves, who left GPS after 19 years for a communications position at Greenwich Country Day School.
“I am thrilled to join the team at Greenwich Public Schools and look forward to combining two of my biggest passions – communication and education. Greenwich is a great community of engaged administrators, teachers, parents, students and many others, and I am so excited to work in partnership with them,” Houlihan said. “Born and raised in this community, I know firsthand the passion and commitment that this school system has for its students, and I look forward to partnering with our administrators, teachers, parents and more to continue this legacy.”
Houlihan was executive communications manager at General Electric Corp., where her role focused on communications for GE’s global employee population.
Houlihan received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Fairfield University, and a master’s degree in communication management from the University of Southern California, Annenberg School of Communications.
“We are incredibly fortunate to welcome Sasha Houlihan to our Greenwich Public School team,” Jones said. “She comes highly regarded in her field and she has the skills to keep us moving forward on a continued path of outstanding communications for our school system and broader community.”
Lamont On Climate Change
Gov. Ned Lamont has signed an executive order designed to help reduce the state’s carbon emissions.
Lamont’s order expands the Governor’s Council on Climate Change and sets the goal for a 100 percent carbon-free energy market in the state by 2040.
Under the order, the council will monitor and report on the progress and implementation of programs designed to reach that goal.
It also will work with every state agency to develop strategies to deal with the possible impacts of climate change on infrastructure, agriculture, natural resource and public health.