Fox v. In Site Firearms | Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Fox v. In Site Firearms

Background

Between April and July 2012, 31-year-old Michael Henry purchased six guns at In Site Firearms in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Henry was straw purchasing the weapons for felon Andrew Thomas, who couldn’t pass a Brady background check due to a forgery conviction.

On September 13, 2012, Plymouth Township Police Officer Bradley Fox was shot and killed by Thomas after pursuing him following a hit-and-run car accident. Thomas ambushed Officer Fox on a recreational path and fired four shots, fatally injuring Fox and wounding his K-9 partner Nick before turning the gun on himself.

Officer Fox, a U.S. Marine who survived two tours of duty in Iraq, left behind his wife Lynsay and a young daughter; the couple was expecting their second child at the time of Officer Fox’s death. His murder and the straw purchase that enabled it helped lead to the Pennsylvania state legislature’s passage of the “Brad Fox Law,” which established mandatory minimum sentences for repeat straw purchasers. In August 2013, Michael Henry was sentenced to 20 to 66 years in prison for straw purchasing a total of nine guns for Andrew Thomas.

Lawsuit

The Brady Center and the Dechert law firm filed suit against In Site Firearms for Officer Fox's family on September 8, 2014. According to the lawsuit, each time Henry made a purchase at In Site, Thomas provided him with cash, waited for him to complete the purchase, and then took possession of the gun in the store's open-air parking lot. The suit alleges that this pattern and other factors should have clearly indicated to In Site that Henry was a straw purchaser.
 
The defendants filed preliminary objections to the complaint, akin to a motion to dismiss, in late 2014. At oral argument on May 18, 2015, the judge denied the defendants’ preliminary objections, allowing the case to proceed, but directed the plaintiffs to make some adjustments to the complaint. 
 
In February 2016, the court again overruled defendants' second attempt to dismiss the case. The case is now in discovery.