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Knapp: Sandy Hook suit victimized families yet again for political gain

It’s been nearly four years since Adam Lanza murdered his mother at the Newtown, Connecticut home they shared, then assaulted Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children, six staff members and, finally, himself.

Naturally the usual suspects — including but not limited to U.S. President Barack Obama — immediately began rolling around in the victims’ still-wet blood and dancing on their graves, screeching for more of the very laws which had made Lanza’s atrocity possible in the first place (for example, the Gun Free School Zones Act, which virtually ensured that he enjoyed an extended timeframe in which to murder with impunity before facing an armed response).

The ghouls have marked time since the massacre with a chest-beating ritual designed to keep the victims traumatized and periodically reopen their wounds. Newtown made a spectacle of acquiring Lanza’s home and demolishing it. The school district spent more than $50 million closing, demolishing, and rebuilding Sandy Hook Elementary.

And of course, the victim disarmament lobby deployed one of the perennial favorites in its propaganda arsenal (pun intended): Malicious litigation in the form of “lawfare” (“the abuse of Western laws and judicial systems to achieve strategic military or political ends”).

Freedom won an important battle on the lawfare front on October 14. Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed a lawsuit filed in the names of 10 of the Sandy Hook victims’ families against Remington Arms, Camfour Holding LLC, and Riverview Sales — respectively the manufacturer, distributor and retail seller of the Bushmaster rifle Lanza used in his killing spree.

The dismissal was clearly mandated by a specific law, the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” passed by Congress in 2005 to protect gun manufacturers from litigation of this sort.

But that law shouldn’t have even been necessary. Such litigation is meritless and frivolous on its face. The attorneys who drummed up the suit on behalf of (or to pitch to) the plaintiff families should be denied any monetary compensation from the families for their morally reprobate “work,” personally financially sanctioned by the court to recoup the costs of this farce to the taxpayers, and disciplined by their state bar association for ethics violations (e.g. barratry, “vexatious litigation or incitement to it”).

Remington Arms manufactured an indisputably legal item of a type available for general sale for more than a century. Camfour Holding LLC distributed that legal item to retailers. Riverview Sales legally sold that legal item to Lanza’s mother.

The item was not defective, at least in any way which incited, encouraged, or brought about the killings. It was an inanimate object.

The cause of the killings — the ENTIRE cause of the killings — was Adam Lanza’s intent to kill, full stop. None of the defendants bears so much as an iota of responsibility for Lanza’s actions. But the ambulance-chasers who brought this suit bear full responsibility for THEIR actions. They should be made to feel that responsibility, preferably in the form of finding themselves destitute, unemployed, and unemployable (other than, perhaps, at a “would you like fries with that?” level).

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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