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CT State Supreme Court hears appeal in Sandy Hook shooting lawsuit

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NEWTOWN --  A lawyer for relatives of some Newtown school massacre victims has asked the Connecticut Supreme Court to reinstate a lawsuit against gun maker Remington Arms, saying a rifle made by the company and used in the shooting was too dangerous to sell to the public.

The parents of a child who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre say they have faith the company that made the military-style rifle used in the shooting will be held responsible.

Ian Hockley and his ex-wife Nicole Hockley lost their son Dylan. They attended a Connecticut Supreme Court hearing Tuesday where attorneys argued over whether justices should overturn a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit against Remington Arms.

"What we have here is the conduct of a corporation that thought it was above the law and still thinks it's above the law," said Josh Koskoff, an attorney for the nine families and a survivor filing the suit.

The case centers on a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle made by North Carolina-based Remington and a 2005 federal law that shields gun makers from liability in most cases.

Remington's lawyer argued the federal law prohibits the lawsuit, and that the company is far removed from the point of sale.

"The manufacturer, one and two steps removed, has no opportunity to assess that buyer. Remington had no opportunity to assess Nancy Lanza," said James Vogts, an attorney for Remington Arms Co. referring to the mother of the shooter who originally bought the gun as a gift for her son.

20 children, all first graders, and six educators died in December 2012 during the shooting.

Ian Hockley says the military provides training and mental health testing to soldiers who use rifles, but gun-makers don't make similar safety precautions when selling military-style rifles to civilians.

"Five years have passed since our son Dylan was murdered in his first grade classroom. Shot at least five times at point blank range with the bushmaster variant of the military's primary battlefield rifle," said Hockley. "They could not care less what happens to their guns once the case is in the bank, showing utter disregard for the lives this weapon takes and the families it destroys."

A decision from the justices could take weeks to months. Legal experts believe that, if the suit is reinstated, the case will wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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