Earlier this week, news broke that the families of Sandy Hook school shooting victims had advanced a lawsuit against Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle used in the shooting. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the parents, allowing them to proceed with the lawsuit.
Remington filed an appeal with the United States Supreme Court, which was rejected on November 12, 2019.
One of the key figures in the lawsuit is David Wheeler, the father of 6-year-old Ben who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. One of Wheeler's biggest qualms is how assault rifles are marketed. Wheeler recalled one of Remington's ads for the gun that carried the tagline, "Consider your man card reissued," to which Wheeler responds, "What kind of society allows manhood to be defined in this way?"
Individuals on both sides of the gun control debate have strong feelings about this lawsuit.
Some are for it and want the gunmakers to be held responsible. Some are against it, arguing that "suing gunmakers won't bring back the dead."
Here's the thing. I don't think gunmakers should be held responsible for mass shootings. I also don't think that the shooter would have given up on his plan had the AR-15 been unavailable. But I do think that if these weapons capable of mowing down tens of people within a couple of seconds — probably the reason these guns have become the most commonly used weapon in mass shootings in the U.S. — weren't legally allowed to make their way into the hands of civilians, these mass shootings would be much fewer and further between, and when a tragedy like a school shooting does occur, there might be fewer lives lost and fewer kids being buried.
Let me make this clear: there is no reason an individual in the United States needs a military-grade assault rifle.
Along with the impact that decreasing the availability of these weapons could have on society, it's also worth noting that this lawsuit could change the culture surrounding guns in the United States and send the message loud and clear that these are dangerous weapons that have no place being marketed to the everyday American. Laws and lawsuits have the ability to change the social norms that we've all grown so comfortable with.
We can have a future generation that looks down on these weapons and raises their own children to want nothing to do with them.
You can quote the Second Amendment all day, every day, but the reality is, these weapons are not what the founding fathers had in mind when they put those dangerous words to paper and they're not doing any good in the hands of civilians. And while we're on the subject of the founding fathers, they had a lot of other things in mind, too, that we've outlawed and amended throughout the years. Why should this be any different?
Sandy Hook was a devastating tragedy that has shaken the country to its core. Nothing will bring those children back. But we can't keep waiting to have these conversations until after another school has been turned into a warzone.