A lawsuit seeking to hold a Maine gun manufacturer responsible for sniper murders committed in the Washington, D.C., area last fall will go forward, a Washington state judge has ruled, the Portland Press Herald reports. At the same time, Maine’s two U.S. senators are backing a bill that would halt the case.
Washington state Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson turned down an attempt by Bushmaster Firearms of Windham, Me., to be dismissed from the suit. It was filed by the survivors of some of the 10 people killed and three wounded in the sniper cases. The gun, a Bushmaster product, was traced to Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply in Tacoma. The suit alleges that negligence by the store and the manufacturer made it possible for the sniper suspects to acquire the gun illegally.
The ruling will have little impact if a bill that gives gun manufacturers immunity from such suits becomes law. Sen. Susan Collins a co-sponsor, said companies like Bushmaster should not be vulnerable to lawsuits. Sen. Olympia Snowe also is a co-sponsor.