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Triple-I blog | Development of perceptions of weapons responsibility



By Max Dorfman, research writer, Triple-I

Two new events ̵

1; one the result of litigation, the other imposed by law – justify the attention of insurance companies, as they reflect changes in legal thinking about potentially firearms-related liability.

Nearly 10 years after the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, during which 20 first-graders and six employees were killed, a federal bankruptcy court in Alabama agreed to $ 73 million in insurance payments from arms manufacturer Remington Arms. The payment will be distributed to the families of the victims who took part in the trial.

This is the first time a gunsmith has been held responsible for a mass shooting in the United States. The ruling could force insurance companies to be more cautious about how they cover these companies. The risks of such agreements must be taken into account, especially as the political and legal landscape continues to evolve.

The case revolved around the notion that Remington negligently sold civilian assault rifles, which the plaintiffs claimed were only suitable for use by military and law enforcement personnel. This, they claimed, violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act through the sale or improper marketing of the rifle.

Remington, who filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2020, denied that the plaintiffs’ legal arguments did not apply under Connecticut law and invoked a federal law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which generally immunizes firearms manufacturers, distributors and dealers from civil liability for crimes committed by third parties with their weapons.

Plaintiffs were able to show that Remington used an “aggressive multimedia campaign that drove AR-15 sales by product placement in first-person shooter video games and by highlighting AR-15’s effectiveness as a killing machine,” according to Josh Koskoff, senior adviser and partner at the Connecticut Law Firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, which represented the Sandy Hook families.

San Jose notices that

San Jose, California, recently approved the country’s first mandatory gun liability insurance claim. The news comes four months after a mass shooting on a tramway in the city, which resulted in nine deaths.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said the gun liability insurance will be similar to car insurance and promote responsible gun ownership, storage and use, with firearms possession charges potentially between $ 25 and $ 30 per year.

Although this insurance can not legally cover intentional damage caused by a gun owner, it still marks a new way of confronting potential mass shootings. Other additional activists in San Jose dispute the compulsory insurance, saying it will primarily affect legal gun owners and not criminals.

Although the San Jose action may remain an anomaly, it reflects a shift in thinking about firearms-related responsibilities. Most insurance companies do not offer independent weapons liability protection, and no other municipalities seem to be in the process of requiring it. But changing public sentiments can lead to other ways of dealing with gun violence through courts and through law.


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