What the Sandy Hook settlement with a major gun manufacturer might mean for gun control

The families of nine victims in the Sandy Hook School shooting agreed to settle with gun-maker Remington for $73 million. The company made the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 first-graders and six teachers in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut and the families sued over the weapon's marketing. John Yang reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    As we reported, families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre reached a historic settlement with the manufacturer of the rifle used in that attack. Experts say the $73 million settlement is a landmark development, because the gunmaker agreed to release specific documents for the first time.

    John Yang has the story.

    Francine Wheeler, Mother of Ben Wheeler: Today is not about honoring Ben. Today is about how and why he died. Today is about what is right and what is wrong.

  • John Yang:

    Francine Wheeler's son Benjamin was one of 26 students and educators murdered in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. She said today's settlement is the first piece of accountability in nearly 10 agonizing years.

  • Francine Wheeler:

    Our legal system has given us some justice today, but David and I will never have true justice. True justice would be our 15-year-old healthy and standing next to us right now.

  • John Yang:

    The agreement ends litigation from families of nine victims alleging that gunmaker Remington, whose Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle was used in the massacre, knowingly and negligently marketed military-grade weapons to unstable people.

    In 2020, Remington filed for bankruptcy a second time. In addition to the financial settlement, Remington will release thousands of pages of internal documents, including marketing plans.

    Parents, including Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son, Dylan, was among those killed, said that was key.

  • Nicole Hockley, Co-Founder, Sandy Hook Promise:

    For eight long years, we have continued our fight to hold Remington accountable for its role in prioritizing profit above safety and using reckless marketing techniques to appeal to at-risk and violence-prone young men.

  • John Yang:

    While federal law gives broad immunity to gunmakers, the lawsuit used an exemption for challenging marketing practices.

    Josh Koskoff is one of the lawyers for the families.

    Josh Koskoff, Attorney for Sandy Hook Families: From the beginning, it was just — it was not about money. It was about finding out, getting answers, learning about these decisions.

    And a linchpin of this settlement is that it allows these families the rights to share the information as to what they learned.

  • John Yang:

    As the families spoke today, the deep pain from that dark day a decade ago remains.

    Mary D'Avino, Mother of Rachel D'Avino: This is a picture of Rachel, and we still feel her spirit, but, every single day, we miss who Rachel would be.

    Veronique De la Rosa, Mother of Noah Pozner: My little boy, Noah, never came home from school that day. I invite you all to imagine: One moment we had this dazzling, energetic 6-year-old little boy, and, the next, all we had left were echoes of the past.

  • John Yang:

    A past that still haunts them, as they hope today's settlement could help prevent others from suffering as they have.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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