Sandy Hook families settle with gunmaker over school massacre

In this file photo taken on January 14, 2013 family members of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting attend a news conference in Newtown, Connecticut.

Families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting have reached a $73 million settlement with US gunmaker Remington, in a landmark deal for a country traumatized by campus massacres.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the settlement marks the first time a gun maker has been held liable for a mass shooting in the United States.

Twenty-six children and teachers were shot dead in 2012 at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut by Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old with known developmental disabilities.

The killings -- the second-deadliest school massacre in US history -- stunned Americans, with many thinking they would mark a watershed moment that would lead lawmakers to tighten gun control.

A "settlement agreement has been executed between the parties," a notice from lawyers for the families said Tuesday.

Calling the move "historic," US President Joe Biden said it begins "the necessary work of holding gun manufacturers accountable."

Manufacturers and dealers must either change their business models or "bear the financial cost of their complicity," he said in a statement.

Lanza's mother, a gun enthusiast, had bought him an AR-15-style Bushmaster XM15-E2S semi-automatic rifle more than two years before the shooting.

Lanza murdered his mother before attacking the school, and killed himself afterward.

The lawsuit alleged that Remington and the other two defendants are culpable because they knowingly marketed a military grade weapon that is "grossly unsuited" for civilian use yet had become the gun most used in mass shootings.

(Source: AFP)

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