Josh Koskoff Takes On The NRA

In 2005, President Bush signed into law a bill pushed by the NRA. It shields gun manufacturers from most forms of civil litigation.

But yesterday — the day after the 2nd anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre — 10 Newtown families sued Bushmaster Firearms, the maker of the gun used in that rampage.

Josh Koskoff

Josh Koskoff

Josh Koskoff represents the victims. Last night, the 1984 Staples High School graduate and longtime Westport resident talked to Rachel Maddow about that wrongful death suit.

It’s a tough case, he admitted. Gun manufacturers have broad immunity.

“This is an industry that makes the world’s most dangerous product,” he said. “But you can’t sue them.”

However, he told the MSNBC host, he’s undaunted. His clients are “so worthy.” He and his colleagues at Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder believe they have found a way to win.

“We’ve got a case here,” the attorney told Maddow.

Josh Koskoff on "Rachel Maddow" last night.

Josh Koskoff on “Rachel Maddow” last night.

It’s clear he feels a personal stake in this battle.

“If we didn’t take this case — in our own backyard — we might as well just fold up,” he said.

Maddow said that Bushmaster refused to comment.

(To see the Koskoff interview, click on “The Rachel Maddow Show.”)

(Hat tip to Peter Propp)



100 responses to “Josh Koskoff Takes On The NRA

  1. Go Josh go!!! Thank you.

  2. So glad to hear Josh and his firm are taking on Bushmaster Firearms. I saw the piece on Rachel Maddow last evening. Josh has the perfect combination of being a brave, intelligent lawyer with a huge heart. Way to go, Josh!

  3. “the world’s most dangerous product”? Doesn’t he mean America’s?
    Nothing will change in the U.S. until the antiquated “right to bear arms” idiocy is erased. Good luck with that.

  4. Here’s another reason to fight:

    Nicole Hockley: To the mom I used to be

    Two years ago, you were happy and whole. You had a plan for life — start a new business, get involved in the school PTA, teach your sons how to ride bicycles and play sports, spend as much time with your friends and parents as possible, watch your children mature, grow old with your husband.
    You were painfully optimistic — a “glass half full” person who saw the silver lining in every cloud and often felt so much joy you thought you would burst. You always looked forward — never backward, no regrets. You smiled and laughed a lot. You danced.
    You aren’t that person anymore.
    Two years ago, on Dec. 14, 2012, the world changed and you changed with it. A disturbed young man with access to high-powered firearms went to the school where both of your sons were and killed six educators and 20 first-graders.
    Your eldest son Jake survived, but was also changed by the day he describes as “when hell came to my school,” the day he discovered some monsters are real.
    Your youngest son, Dylan, your beautiful baby boy who you thought of as pure love, with his captivating eyes, infectious giggle and warm deep cuddles, was killed. Shot multiple times, dying instantly in the arms of his special education assistant who also died while trying to protect him.
    The tragedy changed every single aspect of your life, not only because of the obvious absence of your child, but for the constant hole inside yourself that can never be filled again.
    Your eldest son has been forced to grow up way too fast because of the unfathomable loss of his baby brother. The pain has altered the lines on your husband’s face.
    The way you look at the world has changed dramatically. Your interactions with friends and family seem foreign. You’ve become much harder now. No longer brimming with optimism, you are now someone far more realistic and still. And you look back so much more.
    The prism by which you view life is now defined as “before” and “after.” Jake’s fifth-grade school photos came recently. They are still sitting on a table because you haven’t replaced them in the frame over his third-grade picture, because it’s the same picture frame that sits next to Dylan’s last school photo.
    It’s too hard for you — too soon. Jake is getting older and changing. But Dylan is frozen in time forever.
    There’s this ongoing denial, that even after two years, is still very present inside you. You have Dylan’s baby teeth and a lock of his hair on your bedside cabinet, beside the urn holding his ashes. That’s all you have of your little boy now.
    It hurts. You know . . . it just hurts. You suppress your feelings as much as you can because you fear if you really let it out, you would never recover. If you started truly crying, you would never be able to stop. It would destroy you.
    And here’s the thing — you didn’t have to be that Mom. For all the Moms and Dads reading this now — this doesn’t have to be you.
    Because every gun-related death is a preventable death.
    These are not random acts. You can’t ever say, “This will never happen to me.” It can happen to anyone, at any point, at any place. You have to care enough and be insightful enough to do something before it’s too late.
    Taking action to protect children from gun violence can take many forms. For some people that means fighting for policy and political change — that can be a long, frustrating road, and certainly not the only option.
    Small but meaningful actions create long-term change. If you have five minutes, start a dialogue at the dinner table about gun violence with your kids. If you have two hours, host a conversation with other parents in your community. If you can dedicate one day a month, work with educators on how to better recognize the signs of children who may be troubled and reach out to their parents immediately.
    But to do nothing . . . doesn’t honor the dead and doesn’t protect the living.
    One of the most important actions families, schools, employers, communities, can do is learn the signs of someone in crisis and then make an intervention before they hurt themselves or someone else.
    We need to instill better anger management and conflict resolution skills in our kids, because much of gun violence stems from anger and fear. Learning other ways to deal with anger and fear rather than striking out at someone, is a good first step.
    We need to recognize the signs on social media — and know the difference between someone who is just angry and someone who poses an imminent threat. Lines of communication always need to remain open between ourselves and our children.
    I am beginning to feel some of my old optimism returning, because more and more people are engaging around this issue. Our conversation is gaining momentum. I sense a sea change is coming.
    I know everything we’re doing at Sandy Hook Promise will protect more children. We’re fighting a good fight.
    But I can’t help but feel that after every sort of victory, there’s also an incredible moment of sadness for me, for whatever happens, I know I still can’t bring Dylan back. That hole will never be filled. No matter how many lives get saved in his name, or in the name of others, I can’t go back.
    But you can go forward and make a difference. And that’s what this day, 12.14, should always be about.
    With love,
    Nicole Hockley, aka Dylan’s mom

  5. Josh and his family are amazing people and I stand right beside him in this battle.

  6. Several of Josh’s facts concerning Sandy Hook need checking – Starting with this — “Prescription Drugs More Deadly Than Car Accidents, Guns, and Suicide”
    Here’s the link:


  8. Michael Lawrence

    Sorry. Raising your voice is unacceptable.
    A little research is in order. Here’s a good start –

  9. Michael, why don’t you take on the AMA and Big Pharma? That is a very worthy cause in our grossly overmedicated society. However, it has nothing to do with the lunacy of semi-automatic weapons in the public domain. Go Josh!!!

    • Sure Ted –
      If you’re so anti-guns, why are you so quick to shoot the messenger?
      Josh just doesn’t have his facts correct – and neither does the main stream media… Here’s a fact we should all be checking in depth. And you won’t ever find it on the 6:00 (so called) news — > Research!

      • Peter Gambaccini

        None of what you’re posting is “fact,” Michael. Your cruelty and insensitivity is astonishing, as is your decision to believe the unfounded nonsense you post. The video you posted begins with a long comment by a guy who says he doesn’t think the shooter could have carried all of his equipment. How is that a “fact,” or anything other than unfounded opinion?
        So Sandy Hook was not even an operating school, and the victims were only “alleged,” according to the second thing you posted? Really? I’m going to assume you’re playing one very sick joke, for reasons known only to you.
        The willingness and even eagerness to embrace cockamamie lunacy does not speak well of the person doing the embracing.

        • I think everyone in Westport knows someone directly impacted by Sandy Hook. That knowledge is far more powerful than anything Michael Lawrence posts.

          • Dan – you really said “none of what I said is fact”. – Well 2 things Sir.
            1. I’m not the one saying it – professional researchers are.
            2. Your comment are not factual either.

            • Peter Gambaccini

              Professional researchers? You mean, like, people who are willing to take money?

              • Money? Oh, are you referring to the donated millions to the Sandy Hook families?
                Look – it’s has become abundantly clear after having the words “vile” and “liar” thrown at be by Ted and Dan that clear attempts have been made to discredit the information I’ve brought. The information falls into the realm of information NOT gathered by the main steam media. Just look at that.

                Then ask yourselves this – If the huge amount of material gathered by the non-mainstream have at issue, we all have two choices.
                1. If Sandy Hook school was in fact closed, then what other backdrop was used? If another backdrop was used, why say the event happened at Sandy Hook School.
                2. If, in fact no other back drop was used, then that upsets those clinging to the mainstream version. So, again I invite anyone to PROVE that Sandy Hook School was IN FACT operational. Don’t just say “we all know someone…”
                Then, decide which you prefer:
                a. That children were actually killed.
                2. Or that no children were murdered, and you government and media have been lying to you.

                Once again – Sophia Smallstorm
                (invest 90 minutes of you time)

                Most sincerely, and Happy holidays.

                • Peter Gambaccini

                  This will be my last reply to you because this is a waste of all of our time. What you call “information” is nothing of the kind. It’s manufactured speculation based on absolutely nothing that qualifies as evidence. Your justifications are getting even more lame, as if it’s just fine to believe whatever you want despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.

                  You’ve played your hand. End of story.

          • Dan – your blog, your views, of course. Aside from that, your title is at odds with the story of a local plaintiff’s lawyer taking on Bushmaster Firearms International LLC (for a fee equal to a portion of the recovery, of course). I don’t believe he has included the NRA as a defendant in this litigation (nor those who manufacture knives, explosives, or other things that have been used by psychopaths to kill schoolchildren recently).

            • True. But the NRA was a driving force behind the bill that shields gun manufacturers from lawsuits. And the NRA has also been a major reason much gun legislation has stalled, even after Sandy Hook. So, by taking on Bushmaster, Josh is in effect taking on one of its chief enablers. But you are right, the headline is not entirely accurate.

  10. Dan, while you are a big supporter of free speech, I implore you to remove this vile conspiracy theory crap ASAP.

  11. Further – what IS vile is NOT being properly informed.

    • Peter Gambaccini

      What’s vile is choosing to believe the disinformation you spew. You are fooling absolutely no one.

  12. Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

    And to underscore their angst, they are taking the case pro bono?

    • No answer to your question yet.

      • Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

        Of course not.

        • If this is not a pro bono case, then this is a dog bites man story .

          • You are referring to “for the public good”.

            • Why the heck should Josh work Pro Bono? He will be investing HOURS and MONTHS and possibly years of his time, as will his legal assistants and other staff. He went to college AND law school. Why shouldn’t he get paid? Not to mention, if they lose, he gets nothing!!!!

              • No one said this SHOULD be a pro bono case.

                • Several people said snarky things implying Josh “certainly wasn’t working pro bono” as if he’s some kind of hypocrite if he gets paid – IF he wins the case. That’s what I was referring to. Lawyers get a bad rap but in addition to playing music I’ve worked for them on and off for years and most of them work really hard.

                  • Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

                    Whether he’s paid or not, this case will not punish the true perpetrators and will not restore the precious lives lost. Putting Bushmaster out of business through a financial judgment won’t reduce demand for firearms as there are many alternative suppliers for the same weapon. No one said Josh was not sincere in his beliefs and no one called him a hypocrite. You injected that term into this dialogue.

                  • If he is getting paid, then his effort represents a commercial enterprise. There is nothing wrong with commercial enterprise. He is doing exactly what you would expect a plaintiff’s lawyer to do; sue the deep pockets.

                • Paid or unpaid, he’s doing a very good thing, and has the courage to do so.

  13. Elizabeth Thibault

    For anyone approaching this topic with bile and vitriol, clamboring for their 2nd amendment rights, first think about these parents and the rights their children have lost. There will never be a day where they awaken to their children’s smiles or laughter, there will never be a day when they see them riding a bike, there will never be a day when they graduate from school, nor the days they would get a call hearing about their first day on the job or that they have found the person they want to marry. So much more than the right to bear arms, these other freedoms and rights also protected by the constitution and bill of rights, all denied to these many families and those who loved them.
    Our rights are not without limits, and with what these families and their children have lost, they have endured well beyond the limits of what a reasonable and just society claims is right. As we are not allowed to endanger public safety by screaming “fire” in a crowded theater, why is it deemed acceptable to frighten and endanger others by an unnecessary and ridiculous demand that all armaments be protected and allowed. In addition, our first responders are endangered when aged munitions are improperly stored in homes.
    Reasonable and well thought out regulation only protects our rights and the lives of those around us. Beyond that, ask yourself if it’s worth this type of anguish and ruination on the lives of those who are victimized in the many types of school shootings that have occurred and continue to be repeated.

  14. Claire Hurley Hertan

    GO JOSH!!!

  15. I am very disappointed, Dan that you are not removing the hateful lies and conspiracy theory b.s. spewed on this page. Free speech is sacred but IMHO this is not the place for hurtful lies. These are our neighbors!! As others have said, your forum, your rules but I thought this was the reason comments are screened before publication. Tragedy seems to bring out great love but also, inexplicably, vicious trolling. I didn’t expect to find it here but I guess it’s pervasive.

    • Tough call. I can’t imagine anyone is swayed by these lunatic posts. I do think it’s important for people to know what some very misguided people are thinking.

      • I understand what you mean. I deal with it every day on other media, there are always trolls. Journalistically, of course I see your point. I just find it incredibly hurtful and upsetting to read (as of course I’m sure many do).

  16. I then think we should ban knives next….after all ….A poor woman was stabbed to death in a bathroom in of a middle eastern country and we are really debating suing a gun manufacturer. Slippery slope… Let’s sue BMW for the X3 that ran a poor woman off the road in Bridgeport and killed her….wait….what about the Henckel knife that was used to kill the person in Stamford…
    What happened in Sandy Hook is horrific and a crime of unspeakable proportions but we better focus on getting people, like the Adam Lanza’s of the world help… How about suing his father who thought that a great bonding experience would be to take his son shooting? What about his crazy misguided mothers estate? Why not sue Colt or Armalite or all the other manufacturer’s of “assault weapons.” Yes, just another tort lawyers dream!

  17. Sadly, it is impossible to reason with the Michael Lawrences of this world, those who embody hate, violence, and ignorance. Those who enjoy making others cry.

  18. Hey Jamie, why don’t you read the lawsuit. It is very limited in scope and focuses only on the AR15, a weapon that is not even remotely recommended for home defense or hunting. The AR15 has two purposes: 1) giving people the ability to live out their Rambo fantasies at the shooting range and 2) mass destruction as we saw at Newtown.

    • Koskoff is wrong. He is confusing the AR-15 with the M-16.

      “The AR-15 was specifically engineered for the U.S. military to meet the needs of changing warfare,” said lawyer Josh Koskoff of Koskoff, Koskoff & Beider of Bridgeport. “The weapon was not designed for home defense or hunting. This weapon was designed to efficiently kill other human beings in combat.”

      • They both kill.

      • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

        Everybody mourns Newtown but it would be nice if the most vocal opponents of an armed citizenry knew what they were talking about.
        The truth is, The AR-15 was originally designed as a perimeter defense weapon for the US Air Force and for that purpose it excels. Perimeter defense is actually not too far removed from home defense so there is a justification for home ownership of a semi-auto version of the AR-15. Under the McNamara era of DOD economizing through standardization, it was pushed off on all of the armed services and it was handy in jungle warfare aka Vietnam. As perhaps the only armed service that teaches (and practices) true marksmanship as a primary infantry doctrine the Marines have little use for it, but they’re stuck with it. Real killing requires an M-14 or a bolt action Winchester (similar to what hunters use). The Army likes the M-16 (AR-15) because as a selective fire (semi-auto or full auto) weapon its good for “spray and pray.” But spray and pray doesn’t work so well in those wide open spaces of the Middle East.
        Most of the people who favor gun control want to disarm the entire population of all weaponry and it would be nice if they’d just come out and admit it. But if we’re going to go weaponless, why not disarm the police as well like they do in England?

        • So what if the “original purpose” of a weapon of slaughter was one thing or another? THAT guy didn’t need one, and neither did his psycho mother.

          • Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

            And none of this was any doing of Bushmaster’s. End of story.

            • “End of story”?? Now there is the idea of arming teachers in American schools (or is this now a fact?). Just that idea itself speaks volumes about a culture of which the civilized world cannot comprehend. Shame.

        • Eric, I disagree that “most of the people who favor gun control want to disarm the entire population of all weaponry.” On what do you base that? I think — though I can’t prove it — that “most of the people who favor gun control” are like me. We want “gun control.” We are not out to ban deer hunting. We are out to stop the senseless violence that has overtaken our country, from drive-by and accidental shootings to massacres like Newtown (and so many more).

          If you can prove what you say is true, then please do so. Otherwise, please say, “I think that most of the people…”

          • Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

            No problem Dan. I don’t disagree with your alteration of my post. But your blog doesn’t allow me to edit after I’ve posted. I am not a hunter. I quit in ’68 after my brother in law (a Westport cop) almost shot my head off while we were pheasant hunting ( I still have five pellets under the skin of my neck). However, I have never known a person who favored gun control who also didn’t think hunting was an anachronism and/or thought the same of the 2nd Amendment. Maybe you hang out with more conservative liberals than I do. I think the 2nd amendment should be amended to require competency certification of all gun users. Not registration. Registration records can be misapplied by a tyrannical government or foreign invaders. But EVERYONE who has a gun should know how to use a gun and NOONE should have a gun who is not mentally competent (which would have prevented Newtown). I think all open/concealed carry laws are a threat to domestic security and should be outlawed and the Constitution perhaps provides a rationale for so doing. In other words, you take weapons to a range or other safe location and you do not upholstery/uncase them in public.

        • Yes, disarm the police as in England. Then again, how does one teach America a culture of non-violence? You’d have to take away those all –important god given “rights”. The entire culture would have to be re-taught. (now, I expect someone to chime in: “But what would that cost??”)

          • Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

            With God-given rights come God-given responsibility Nancy. That’s how you teach it. That is universal to all religions although all religions do a poor job of teaching it.

            • What does religion have to do with personal responsibility and respect?
              Are you saying one can only learn this at “church”?
              Why must the Constitution be strictly adhered to today, word for word, in an America of 2014? Stop living in the 1700’s. Start learning about the outside world. Then, maybe, you won’t feel so afraid.

  19. No confusion whatsoever. Read the lawsuit.

  20. I can’t imagine that this lawsuit has any merit. What happened at Sandy Hook is beyond sad. The only person to truly blame is the mother for keeping an arsenal in a house with a crazy person. If the firearm is allowed to be sold in the U.S. by ATF I can’t figure out how the manufacturer, distributor or retailer have any blame.

  21. Americans have no one to blame for the never-ending violence than themselves (oh, and an amendment written centuries ago). Crazy, indeed.

  22. Mr. Friedman, I was not comparing the AR-15 to the M-16 although not much is technically different. I would think you would want to also ban the M-16 also if this is the argument. What happened at Newtown is one of our areas greatest tragedies but the most dangerous weapons used were Adam Lanza, his parents and those who failed to recognize this madman had bigger issues!!!

  23. Jamie, M-16’s pretty much are banned for civilians (you need a class III weapons license of which there aren’t many). They don’t even manufacture them anymore. Colt only makes the M-4.

  24. Thanks Jack. The M-4 was issued after I served. They are all the same rifle AR-15, M-16 and M-4 the m-4 and the M-16 are the only ones that have an auto, and semi-auto function. Thank you Mr. Buchroeder for your accurate description and can we get back to focusing on those who pose a threat like the Adam Lanza’s of the world and his misguided parents who enabled this behavior. Bushmaster did not raise him… his parents did and they as well as all the people that interacted with him… That’s a really good place to start suing people. Oh… Not sure but is this attorney donating his entire fee to the welfare of those killed with a Bushmaster, or a Colt or and Armalite? I would at least hope he walks the walk and gives up his entire fee if he wins.

    • Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

      The AR-15 was in use by the Air Force for at least six years before the contract was given to Colt and the weapon redesignated as the M-16. The AR-15 was developed/produced by Armalite who was unable to fulfill a DOD-wide contract for all services. The AR-15 is a good home/domestic defense weapon it is a mediocre battle rifle. If this lawsuit prevails Bushmaster will go out of business but it will do nothing to take the weapon off the market. Lawyers will make money and families will receive no justice.

  25. Oh also… If we are going to start suing the gun manufacturers then let’s start suing the makers of violent videos games and movies that have proven to desensitize kids who are constantly exposed to these equally disturbing games and movies. If we are going to sue everyone let’s not forget the industries that can really an “afford” to pay these poor families for their losses.

  26. Jamie you took the words out of my mouth. That’s the biggest problem. But the liberal view is lets try to punish the 99.9% of law abiding citizens that own guns. Also instead of parents being parents to there kids they just put them on medications because that’s the easy way to deal with there kids.

  27. What amazes is me most is that Mr. Koskoff is comparing the safety of the gun manufacturers to that of pillow safety? not sure one is like the other? He actually used this comparison on Rachel

  28. Also, where is the equal moral outrage for the 132 young lives in Pakistan that were murdered and set on fire for educating these youth…under the guise of peace! Outrage anyone!

  29. What amazes me most are deaf, testosterone – filled ears.

  30. Not exactly Nancy but I do think you got a dose of testosterone yourself if you are saying “all live don’t matter equally”… That was my point…

  31. Oh Nancy, you have a little excess T flowing from your ears!

    • “all live don’t matter equally”? What does that mean? Sounds like you should get a good night’s sleep… without a gun under the pillow.
      Pleasant dreams.

  32. Must be a bitch to hate firearms and go through life with a name like “Hunter!” Oh…and sleeping with a gun under your pillow does not promote safe firearms handling but I did have a fantastic sleep last night!

  33. Elizabeth Thibault

    I don’t think ad hominem comments add to the discussion, and frankly, they’re an indication that it’s devolved past the point of being constructive. Dan’s blog allows for informative discourse in a respectful manner, lets all aim to keep it this way.

  34. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    It might be more respectful to delete “aim” and substitute “strive”, “endeavor” or, for the ecumenically-minded, “pray.”