Families of Newtown victims sue gun-maker, seller

FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2013 file photo, a makeshift memorial with crosses for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre stands outside a home in Newtown, Conn., on the one-year anniversary of the shootings. Newtown is taking its time to decide what a permanent memorial should look like. A commission has been hearing proposals for concepts including murals, groves and memorial parks, while looking for lessons from paths chosen by other tragedy-stricken communities. Public forums are planned for 2015, the next step in a process that is expected to last several more years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The families of nine of the 26 people killed and a teacher injured two years ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary School filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the rifle used in the shooting.

The negligence and wrongful death lawsuit, filed Monday in Bridgeport Superior Court, asserts that the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle should not have been made publicly available because it is a military weapon unsuited for hunting or home defense.

“The AR-15 was specifically engineered for the United States Military to meet the needs of changing warfare,” attorney Josh Koskoff said in a release. “In fact, one of the Army’s specifications for the AR-15 was that it has the capability to penetrate a steel helmet.”

In addition to Bushmaster, the families have named Camfour, a firearm distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, the store where the Bushmaster rifle was purchased in 2010.

Messages seeking comment from the defendants were not immediately returned.

Bill Sherlach, whose wife, Mary, was killed in the shooting, said he believes in the Second Amendment, but believes the gun industry needs to be held to “standard business practices” when it comes to assuming the risk for producing, making and selling a product.

“These companies assume no responsibility for marketing and selling a product to the general population who are not trained to use it nor even understand the power of it,” he said.

The plaintiffs include Sherlach and the families of Vicki Soto, Dylan Hockley, Noah Pozner, Lauren Rousseau, Benjamin Wheeler, Jesse Lewis, Daniel Barden, Rachel P’Avino and teacher Natalie Hammond, who was injured in the shooting.

Nicole Hockley, Dylan’s mother, planned a news conference later Monday morning with U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty and U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.

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