A jury ruled against the Milwaukee gun dealer known as Badger Guns to the tune of 6 million dollars in awarded damages. Just one month after a straw pistol purchase back in 2009, two police officers were injured by the illegally purchased weapon—one of them lost an eye in the incident and was unable to return to the line of duty.
The jury ruled that the gun shop employees should have picked up on the obvious signs of an illegal firearm purchase, which would have lead to the cancellation of the sale and prevented the shooting from ever happening. While that may, or may not have been true isn’t up for discussion. The decision has already been made.
What is up for discussion, however, is what this means for the rest of the gun community as a whole.
While some speculate that this isn’t actually that big of a deal for the firearms community, I believe that this could be a stepping stone that eventually leads to a place we don’t want to go. Because, even though it was an illegal straw purchase (when one person buys a gun for someone who cannot legally buy their own) that caused the police their injuries, this opens the door for similar cases even if there aren’t any laws broken by the FFL holder.
Eventually, this could lead to the gun manufacturers themselves being sued by people who were hurt or killed by one of their firearms. And, let’s face it, Hillary made it clear that she plans to go after the gun manufacturers at last night’s democratic debate. Though I’m not a betting man, I’d wager that she doesn’t stand alone with these radical ideas.
There are, however, hurdles to be crossed before we ever get to that point. For example, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act insures that those who make and sell firearms cannot be held responsible when someone else shoots people with said firearms. The caveat to this law, is that the seller can’t have the slightest suspicion that the firearm will be used, or is being purchased, illegally.
And, as we said above, the jury believed that the gun shop knew that it was an illegal purchase and sold the gun anyway, which is why they were sued to begin with.
In other words, if you own a gun shop, make sure you and your employees are up to speed on your policies against illegal purchasers. And, if there’s any doubt, throw their asses out.
Do you think there could eventually be an impact on the gun community because of this ruling? Let us know in the comments below.
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