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Sandy Hook families settle with gun maker Remington for $73 million

Yahoo Finance Live anchors Brad Smith, Emily McCormick, and Rachelle Akuffo reflect back on the Sandy Hook tragedy, the recent settlement between victims' families and gun manufacturer Remington, and the firearms industry's marketing responsibilities.

Video Transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance. Now, we're going to take a look at the top story of the day on Yahoo Finance. It's a tough one. It's the families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have agreed to a $73 million settlement with gun-maker Remington.

Now, obviously, a very tough story. This happened in 2012. 20 first-graders, six educators killed by shooter Adam Lanza, who got a Remington Bushmaster rifle from his mother, who did purchase it legally. I mean, this is an incredibly tough story. So I mean, I understand the interest in it.

It was a tough story to cover back then in 2012 for a lot of journalists, not to mention parents who had to watch this as well. So I'd love to bring you guys in. Emily, your thoughts on this top story of the day?

EMILY MCCORMICK: Well, certainly, Rachelle. As you mentioned, definitely a difficult topic for many here. But in terms of the impact of the settlement, in addition to the $73 million that we're seeing here as part of this, this also does include an agreement, we should note, that Remington release a number of internal documents which may include the company's thinking about how it marketed the weapon that was used during the massacre.

And this is a step that could open the door to more scrutiny not only for Remington, but for the broader gun industry. So that also is really the center of how the settlement even was able to happen. There are significant federal protections that typically shield gun makers from legal action when their weapons are involved in a crime.

But in this case, the parents of the victims suggested the way that Remington was promoting its products encouraged illegal behavior and so violated state and federal laws around sales and marketing practices. So certainly something to continue to watch going forward here on the gun industry, on the regulatory front. And Brad, I'd love to bring you in on this topic as well.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah. We all remember, of course, hearing the outcries from the families who were impacted, the victims' families who have been calling for gun reform, who have been calling for stricter gun laws and particularly more safety in schools as well. And with regard to even how this settlement-- how long it took, just the proceedings, nearly 10 years after the events, the deadly events, of Sandy Hook. And particularly for the gun manufacturers, they look at this, and they say, OK, we've got insurance that covers us.

Because at the end of the day, I think the gun manufacturers, they got off easy here. It's still the insurance that they're going to be leaning on. That's what's going to be paying out the settlement. And so at the end of the day, now it's up to insurers to be even more strict on these gun manufacturers as well and look into, as you mentioned, Emily, how the gun manufacturers themselves are marketing so many of the products that they produce as well. Rachelle?

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And they-- some of these gun manufacturers, they really are in a tough spot. We saw the plaintiff for the victims' families said this was really a wake-up call for the gun industry to really think about how it markets its products in a way that lowers risks rather than courting it. Now, that's a tough sell if you as a company, it's your goal to try and sell more guns.

So I'm not sure how some of these gun companies are going to balance that. Obviously, we've seen a number of them go into bankruptcy as a result of this, some of these marketing companies, and also with Remington itself having to sell off some parts of its company as well. Emily?

EMILY MCCORMICK: Absolutely. And just to read a quote here from Josh Koskoff, who is the attorney for the victims' family, he's saying-- and this being quoted by NPR-- quote, "For the gun industry, it's time to stop recklessly marketing all guns to all people for all uses and instead ask for-- ask how marketing can lower risk rather than court it.

For the insurance and banking industries, it's time to recognize the financial cost of underwriting companies that elevate profit by escalating risk. Our hope is that this victory will be the first boulder in the avalanche that forces that change." So again, certainly something to continue watching here for the broader regulatory front in the gun industry more broadly, Rachelle.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And so obviously, a lot of things to watch today other than that top story of the day. We were taking a look at markets. We're seeing that they closed green today, a real turnaround from what we saw yesterday with Valentine's Day, all red across the board.

We certainly see what a difference a day makes for markets as they saw some of those tensions in Ukraine and Russia easing back. We also had President Biden coming in, saying, look, we're pursuing this path of diplomacy, not taking sanctions off the table until they get more concrete evidence about Russia's moves, but at least some sort of dialing down. And the markets certainly seem to welcome it. Brad?

BRAD SMITH: Yeah. And just to jump in here with some of the earnings that have come out after the market closed as well and see how those companies are doing, we were seeing roadblocks move lower sharply. And we're going to see what these companies who are-- many of them kicking off or already started their earnings calls, what the executives say. And that's going to be in focus, for sure.

Roadblock shares moving lower by about 12%, 13% now. Viacom or, should we say, Paramount, they're going to have a lot of explaining to do. But they've got some of the growth that they may tout on the Paramount+ side as well. Those shares, though, moving lower in after-hours trading by about 4.4% here right now.