A recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court has upended a long-standing legal roadblock that has given the gun industry far-reaching immunity from lawsuits in the aftermath of mass killings.
The court last week allowed families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre to sue the maker of the AR-15 used in the attack. The case against Remington will now proceed in the Connecticut courts.
Remington is widely expected to win the case, but critics of the gun industry are eyeing what they see as a significant outcome even in the face of defeat: getting the gunmaker to open its books about how it markets firearms.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs are certain to request that Remington turn over volumes of documents as part of the discovery phase, providing a rare window into the inner workings of how a major gun manufacturer markets its weapons. Those materials might include company emails, memos, business plans and corporate strategies, or anything that might suggest the company purposely marketed the firearm that may have compelled the shooter to use the weapon to carry out the slaughter.
The plaintiffs also believe the ruling will put gun companies on notice about how they conduct business knowing they could wind up in the courts in similar fashion.