Sandy Hook families settle with AR-15 manufacturer Remington
Families of the first-graders and school staff who were killed in Sandy Hook reached a historic settlement in their suit against gun manufacturer Remington.
This is the first time a gun manufacturer has been held liable for a mass shooting. The $73 million dollars that the families were awarded will be paid by Remington’s four insurers, as the company filed for bankruptcy in 2020.
In a press conference, the families’ lawyer explained that the terms of the settlement require Remington to make public a large trove of internal documents.
“We can’t wait to share those documents,” said Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan Hockley, who was shot in his first grade classroom on December 14, 2012, dying in the arms of one of his teachers.
At the press conference, Hockley described kissing the urn that holds her son’s ashes every night, and her promise to him that she will work to prevent future tragedies. “Our nightmare is the same as far too many families’,” she said. “No one wants to experience what we live with every day.”
Francine Wheeler, mother of Ben Wheeler, another child murdered in the massacre, said, “Our legal system has given us some justice today.”
“True justice would be our 15-year-old, healthy and standing next to us right now. But Benny will never be 15. He will be six forever because he is gone forever.”
Ben’s father, David Wheeler, described the AR-15 assault rifles at the center of the lawsuit as “the most intentionally lethal product our species has devised.”
Hockley noted that when they first approached law firms with their case, they were told it was impossible, that firearms manufacturers were untouchable.
Josh Koskoff, the families’ lawyer, noted that, “this case has gone farther than anyone thought it would ever go.” He said that he initially thought “the case was about the gun, but it’s just as much about greed.”
Hockley predicted that gun manufacturer’s premiums would go up as a result of this settlement.
“It’s over,” said Koskoff, speaking to manufacturers. “You’re not invincible.”
The brother of first grade teacher Vicki Soto, who died shielding her students from the shooter, said the settlement “sends a message that they are not untouchable, and our lawsuit is just the start.”