Judge to rule by late April if Sandy Hook lawsuit against Remington can proceed

Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis will decide by late April if a lawsuit against Remington Arms filed by nine victims’ families and a school administrator who survived the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting can continue.

In a Feb. 22 hearing, Remington attorneys claimed the federal 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act grants gunmakers immunity from lawsuits related to the criminal misuse of their products. They requested Bellis dismiss the suit. She agreed to take up to 60 days to think about it.

The lawsuit maintains that Sandy Hook victims can sue Remington Arms because the privately owned manufacturer “knew” its AR-15 rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting “wasn’t suitable for civilian use when it was introduced in the market.” The suit argues that the way Remington markets its “military-style weapon to the civilian market” is a form of “negligent entrustment,” which is an exception to the immunity legislation.

If Bellis rules in favor of the families, the case would move to a discovery, or fact-finding, phase, and one step closer to a possible trial. Legal analysts say such a ruling could have a significant precedential influence nationwide in eroding the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother and then drove to the school, where he used a Bushmaster AR-15 to shoot to death 20 children and six adults before killing himself. Remington is the parent company of Bushmaster.

The lawsuit, filed in December 2014, seeks unspecified financial damages.

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San Francisco wants to be ‘testing ground’ for ‘smart gun’ market

San Francisco wants to become a testing ground for “smart gun” technology, according to Police Chief Greg Suhr, who wants to give tech-savvy officers the option of trying a “smart gun” that can be fired only by its authenticated owner.

Suhr made the offer during a Feb. 23 news conference at the San Francisco Smart Gun Symposium, co-sponsored by the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation, which finances smart-gun entrepreneurs, and Washington CeaseFire, an anti-gun group.

“Officer safety is huge, so you wouldn’t want to compel that upon officers,” Suhr said. “But we have so many officers who are so into technology, I am all but certain there are officers that would be willing to do such a pilot.”

Smart-gun technology isn’t about gun control, but “about giving consumers the right to chose technologies that will make guns safer,” Smart Tech Challenges Foundation President Margo Hirsch told The San Francisco Chronicle.

According the Chronicle, the symposium focused on guns that use biometric technology to identify the proper owner, much like an iPhone gets unlocked by a fingerprint reader.

Smart-gun entrepreneurs said prototypes using fingerprint technology could be in production in less than four years. To create a market, they must prove to skeptical gun owners that their smart guns are as reliable as traditional weapons, smart-gun designer Ernst Mauch, a former executive of German firearm maker Armatix, told the Chronicle.

“I’m sure there are some people who want to replace their dumb guns,“ Mauch said. “This is not a toy. It needs to do the job when a soldier or policeman needs it, but it does not need to kill friends.”

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Proposed California bill requires videotaping all gun sales

A bill that would require firearms sellers videotape all gun sales, carry liability insurance and ban home-based firearms sales businesses has been proposed in the California State Assembly.

The bill — AB2459 — is similar to an ordinance adopted by San Francisco in November 2015 that prompted that city’s last gun store to close. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), says video recordings would deter straw purchasers who buy guns for others who can’t pass background checks.

“The reality is, too many people who go into shops to buy guns for people who shouldn’t be able to buy guns,” he told the Associated Press.

Gun store owner said there already are strict rules for gun buyers. Many say videotaping sales and customers goes too far.

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Anti-gun politician sent to prison for … gun trafficking

You didn’t have to live in California to know the name Leland Yee. During this years as a State Senator, he’d established some national renown as a rising star among the weasel-tyrants of gun control for his staunch support for civilian disarmament.

But while most gun-control advocates are motivated by misguided safety concerns, it turns out Yee was a gun trafficker and his incentive was financial. After all, nothing boosts profits in the illegal gun market than gun control.

Senior District Court Judge Charles Breyer on Feb. 24 sentenced Yee to five years in federal prison after he acknowledged in a plea deal that he accepted thousands of dollars in bribes and discussed helping an undercover FBI agent buy automatic weapons from the Philippines.

Yee, 67, pleaded guilty in July to one count of conspiracy to engage in racketeering. He acknowledged accepting $11,000 in exchange for setting up a meeting with another state senator, $10,000 for recommending someone for a grant, and discussing buying automatic weapons in the Philippines and smuggling them into the U.S. with an undercover FBI agent.

The long-time politician also served in the state Assembly and on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, before serving as a state senator. He was allegedly looking for money to win the race for secretary of state as he was being forced from the state Senate by term limits.

Yee was known for his gun control legislation, even being once honored by the Brady Campaign. Breyer said it was frightening that Yee would be willing to go against his public position on guns in exchange for money.

“The hypocritical position on your part to be for gun control and that automatic weapons would be brought into the United States is frightening and unfathomable. I cannot tell you how disturbing it is,” Breyer said. “You were willing to go entirely contrary to your stated position for money, and that is the most venal and dangerous thing you’ve done.”

“Maybe the Brady Campaign should do universal background checks on people it decides to honor,” Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman Alan Gottlieb said in a statement emailed to “Remember, the Brady bunch, and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown group thinks gun owners should all be treated like criminals. Well, here’s a guy who pushed the gun control agenda, and he is a criminal.”

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