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Gun shop owner, family member of Sandy Hook shooting victim react to Supreme Court ruling

Posted at 6:55 AM, Nov 19, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS — A lawsuit against gun maker Remington is one step closer to trial.

It's been a five-year battle for family members and a survivor of the Sandy Hook school shooting. That elementary school massacre which was almost seven years ago left 26 people dead, most were small children.

The marketing line for the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that was used reads "Consider your man card reissued." The lawsuit is against how the company used that advertisement. Earlier this month the U.S. Supreme Court said it would allow this lawsuit to proceed. This ruling is a win for some, but others think it could be dangerous.

December 14, 2012 is a day that America will never forget.

For Jane Dougherty, it started out like any other day. That is, until she got a phone call from her husband. Dougherty said, "He had told me that there had been a shooting in Connecticut." She soon found out it was at her sister's school, Sandy Hook Elementary.

"We got the tragic life-changing news that we'd lost Mary...Mary was the brave school psychologist that ran towards the shooter in the lobby. She gave her life trying to protect her students that day."

20 children and six adults were lost that day. Now, almost seven years later, family members of the victims and a survivor are seeking justice through a lawsuit filed against gun maker Remington.

Dougherty said, "It's not about the's about the marketing and how Remington marketed this gun." She said the AR-15 style rifle used in the shooting is a weapon of war. "They young men using...glorified marketing about, you know, you're going to get your man card."

Dougherty isn't involved in the lawsuit, but her brother-in-law, Mary's husband, is. "I've supported Bill wholeheartedly in this. I believe in this lawsuit and I am so thankful that the Supreme Court has decided not to block the suit."

It's a different story for Paul Paradis, owner of the gun shop Paradise Sales. He said, "Obviously, I'm not happy with the court's decision...I think anybody that manufactures anything should be afraid. Are we going to go after automobile manufacturers because criminals use them in getaway cars or run a car into a crowd? So, I think this sets a bad precedent."

As for the gun industry he said, "It has sent ripples of fear through manufacturers. A huge part of the cost of a gun nowadays is preparing for litigation and the future by companies so I see that, you know, ammunition and firearm manufacturers are going to increase the cost of their products."

He said part of this suit is that there's a lot of people who simply don't believe in the Second Amendment.

"They keep chipping it away at our rights and I think that that's a problem for the future as well."

As for Remington - legal counsel for the company has said that it should be protected under the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. That has been used by other courts that rejected lawsuits against gun makers in other mass shootings. Remington tried to appeal the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling by citing this act, but that was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dougherty said, "I hope that this suit brings about the end of the protection and the secrecy that goes on behind the marketing of these weapons."

She believes it's something that holds all of us hostage. "We just never know when what happened to Mary can happen to any of us."

The next step for the lawsuit is to continue gathering evidence and after that take it to trial. News 5 will keep you updated.