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Judge To Rule On Whether Gun Maker Can Be Sued In Sandy Hook Massacre

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A potentially groundbreaking hearing in Bridgeport, Connecticut will determine whether the families of victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre can sue the companies that manufactured the gun used in the shooting.

As WCBS 880's Stephanie Colombini reported, the hearing is set to commence on Monday.

Gun manufacturers are urging the court throw out the lawsuit filed by nine families and a school administrator who survived the 2012 shooting. The companies argue federal law protects them from liability when their guns are used in crimes.

But U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the gun manufacturers ought to be held accountable "for producing weapons that have no purpose but to kill and maim innocent human beings."

The plaintiffs claim they can sue the companies because manufacturers knew the AR-15 rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting wasn't suitable for civilian use when it was introduced in the market.

If the judge agrees, Blumenthal said, "This decision in Connecticut state court would be profound."

Using a Bushmaster rifle, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 first-graders and six educators at school in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012.

Lanza killed his mother before the school shooting and killed himself afterward.

In December, more than a dozen victims' families split $1.5 million under settlements of lawsuits filed against the estate of the gunman's mother.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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