Badger Guns in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is one of the largest sellers of crime-linked guns, was found liable on Tuesday and ordered to pay nearly $6 million in damages to two Milwaukee police officers who were injured when a man shot them with a so-called “straw purchase” gun.
The gun store was accused of encouraging an illegal straw purchase of the gun used in the crime. A straw purchase is when a gun is purchased in someone else’s name for another person who legally cannot own a gun.
Jurors in Milwaukee County found for the cops who filed the lawsuit, Officer Bryan Norberg and now-retired Officer Graham Kunisch, both of whom were shot in the face in the line of duty in 2009.
Julius Burton paid a 21-year-old friend $40 to come with him and buy a gun at Badger Guns. Surveillance video even showed Burton pointing to the Taurus semiautomatic he wanted and saying, “That’s the one that I want.” A month later, Burton shot the two police officers with the Taurus handgun. One officer lost an eye and has brain damage, while the other was badly wounded in the face.
The case is incredibly significant because there have been very few successful lawsuits against gun stores for straw purchases.
Timothy D. Lytton, an expert in tort law and gun cases at the Georgia State University College of Law, remarked afterthe verdict:
“It may well embolden more plaintiffs to bring lawsuits. And give new momentum to a litigation campaign that looked all but dead after 2005.”
In 2005, President George W. Bush, operating as the obedient puppet of the National Rifle Association, signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was a sop to gun nuts across the country.
Today, however, the NRA may be looking over their shoulder. This will likely be only the first of numerous lawsuits of its type. To which I say, Good! Hey, NRA, feeling a little queasy? You ain’t seen nothing yet.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.