FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP/WSVN) — The families of two students killed in the Parkland, Florida, school shootings are planning to sue the gun manufacturer that built and the store that sold the weapon used in the attack that killed 17.
The families of Jaime Guttenberg and Alex Schachter are planning a lawsuit against Smith & Wesson, American Outdoor Brands and the Sunrise Tactical Supply, claiming they are complicit in the use of an AR-15 style rifle to kill 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
“Their marketing of this weapon had to have one known fact, that by pushing them onto the streets as aggressively as they have over the past 10 years, they were going to end up in the hands of people who intended harm,” Fred Guttenberg said.
“All of my time now is dedicated towards gun safety,” Guttenberg added. “Period, the end, and every step that is required, whether it be legal, or political, or education – I have time to do, and I will do. It is all that I think about now.”
However, lawyers said a Florida law would make the families pay all of the legal fees if they sue gun makers. Also, the families would have to assume the cost of loss of revenue for the gun makers.
“It says you have to pay any lost income to the company,” said attorney Stephen Rosenthal. “The company could claim that it’s stock price goes down, company could claim as a result of the suit, it sold fewer weapons. That could be crushing for a company this large.”
Before moving forward with the lawsuit, their lawyer said they will have to have to first convince the court they should not be responsible for paying the companies if they sue them.
“I want to have this suit so that we can put in place measures to make sure manufacturers, marketers and retailers put in place systems to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Guttenberg said.
Guttenberg was asked whether he will go through with the lawsuit after learning of this legal hurdle, and he said he remains undecided.
The lawsuit would also call into question a 2001 Florida law that prohibits state and local governments from suing gun manufacturers if their products are used in unlawful ways. The law doesn’t mention lawsuits by victims or their families.