Sandy Hook attorney promises appeal

The attorney representing Sandy Hook families against gun-maker Remington promised to appeal a recent state court decision rejecting their lawsuit.

"It goes to the Connecticut Supreme Court," attorney Joshua Koskoff said at a Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV) event in Bridgeport on Oct. 26.

Koskoff said the families involved in the lawsuit remain resolute in their pursuit of justice, and he expects to file an appeal within 20 days. In the ruling, the judge cited a federal law that gives gun manufacturers immunity from liability lawsuits.

Koskoff was highly critical of the profits made by gun companies. "The more massacres there are, the more money they make," he said.

"They make a killing from killing. It's terrible," added Koskoff, who works for the Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder law firm in Bridgeport.

He said he became "really mad" as he studied the federal law while preparing the lawsuit, claiming the 2005 statute makes it virtually impossible to sue a gun maker. In contrast, Koskoff said, cars today are much safer than they were a few decades ago because car makers can be sued, saving many lives through the years.

At Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, 20 first-grade students and six adult educators were killed by gunman Adam Lanza on Dec. 12, 2012. Lanza used a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle made by Remington in the attack.

Koskoff was one of five panelists at the CAGV event, which featured a screening of the documentary "91%: A Film About Guns in America" was well as a discussion afterward with questions from the audience.

John Richie,, who made the film, was one of the other panelists. The film's name is based on polls that show 91% of Americans support universal background checks for gun purchases, including a large majority of National Rifle Association (NRA) members, according to information in the movie.

Richie, noting his native New Orleans has been devastated by gun violence, emphasized that most Americans are in agreement on this issue despite living in a country divided on many political matters. He said he wanted to make a film focusing on possible policy solutions, such as background checks.

"The government really needs to step up," Richie said.

About 33,000 people a year die from guns in the United States annually. There are an estimated 347 million privately-owned firearms in the country.

In addition to Koskoff and Richie, the other panelists were Harold Dimbo, program director of Bridgeport-based Project Longevity and a former police officer in the city; Ron Pinciaro, CAGV executive director; and Carolyn Vermont, CAGV director of urban initiatives.

"Congress has been stalemated on this issue," said Pinciaro, pointing to the role of the "gun lobby" that includes manufacturers and the National Rifle Association. He urged people to become involved in the issue by contacting legislators, being active at election time, and writing letters to the editor.

Based in Southport, CAGV is a nonprofit organization founded in 1993 that advocates for gun violence prevention measures.

The event Wednesday evening took place at the Bijou Theatre in downtown Bridgeport and was attended by about 75 people.