The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a ruling rattling the firearms industry.
It rejected a claim by gunmaker Remington Arms to quash a lawsuit brought by the families of victims killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre.
20-year-old Adam Lanza used a Remington Bushmaster rifle and other weapons to murder 20 children and six adults.
A 2005 federal law shields firearms companies from liability when their guns are used to commit crimes.
But the survivors' lawsuit claims that Remington's aggressive marketing of its Bushmaster rifle, used in the shooting, knowingly violated a Connecticut law banning ads that promote violent, criminal behavior.
The plaintiffs' lawyer made the case before Connecticut's top court in 2017, saying it was no accident the Bushmaster and other AR-15 style rifles have become the weapon of choice for mass shooters.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) 2012 SANDY HOOK SCHOOL SHOOTING VICTIMS' FAMILY, JOSHUA KOSKOFF, SAYING (NOVEMBER 14, 2017):
"We have evidence that Adam Lanza heard the message, and was driven specifically to the Bushmaster for his lone-gunman combat mission. Remington's words, this is their words advertising the weapon: 'Forces of opposition bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered.' Those words in a marketing campaign, they don't happen accidentally. We all know that."
An attorney for Remington argued the company should be insulated from the lawsuit.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REMINGTON ATTORNEY, JAMES VOGTS, SAYING (NOVEMBER 14, 2017):
"What happened in the school that morning was horrific. It was a tragedy that will not be forgotten. But no matter how tragic, no matter how much we wish those children and their teachers were not lost and their families had not suffered, the law needs to be applied dispassionately."
The National Rifle Association and other gun-lobby groups backed Remington in the case. The NRA called the lawsuit "company-killing."
The Connecticut state Supreme Court ruled that the lawsuit could go forward, and Remington appealed to the Supreme Court.
But the justices did not hear the appeal, and did not include any comment when refused to take the case.
The move paves the way for the case against Remington to proceed.