Reforming Gun Industry Policies | Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Reforming Gun Industry Policies

Williams v. Beemiller (New York)

High school basketball star Daniel Williams was shot outside his Buffalo, NY home by a gang member who mistook him for a rival. The gun used was supplied by a trafficker who bought almost 200 guns at Ohio gun shows from dealer Charles Brown in 2000; the pistol used to shoot Williams was part of a single cash sale of 85 handguns. The Brady Center filed suit for Williams against Brown, and the gun’s manufacturer in July 2005, arguing that it should have been obvious that the trafficker was not buying the guns for lawful use. 

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Shirley v. Glass (Kansas)

Convicted domestic offender Russell Graham shot and killed his 8-year-old son Zeus and himself on September 5, 2003 using a gun straw purchased for him earlier that day by his grandmother at a rural Kansas pawn shop. According to testimony in the case, the shop owners knew Graham was a felon, and allowed his grandmother to complete the background check for the gun, though Graham provided the cash. The gun dealer claims that the video of the sale failed to record that day. Zeus’ mother Elizabeth Shirley filed suit against the pawn shop on August 3, 2005. 

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Runnels v. KS&E Sports (Indiana)

Officer Dwayne “Dewey” Runnels of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was shot and wounded by a convicted felon during a traffic stop on December 12, 2011. The shooter, Demetrious Martin, obtained his gun through a straw purchase at a leading crime gun dealer, KS&E Sports, in Indianapolis just two months before the shooting. According to court records, the straw purchaser transferred the gun to Martin in the store’s parking lot. The Brady Center and the law firm Arnold & Porter filed suit against KS&E for Officer Runnels in December 2013, arguing that the store knew or should have known that the gun sale was a straw purchase. 

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Delana v. Odessa Gun & Pawn (Missouri)

On June 27, 2012, Colby Sue Weathers shot and killed her father with a gun she had purchased earlier that day at Odessa Gun & Pawn. The lawsuit alleges that Weathers, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, had purchased another gun from the store a month earlier with the intent to commit suicide, spurring her mother Janet to call the dealer on June 25, explain her daughter’s condition, and urge them not to sell her another gun. The store ignored the warning. The Brady Center filed suit for Janet Delana against Odessa on March 12, 2014, arguing that the store was negligent in selling the gun to Weathers and liable for her father’s death. 

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Chiapperini v. Gander Mountain (New York)

On Christmas Eve 2012, convicted felon William Spengler set fire to his home, called 911, and ambushed the firefighters who arrived. Spengler shot and killed Michael Chiapperini, 43, and Tomas Kaczowka, 19, and wounded their colleagues Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter. Despite being a convicted murderer, Spengler was able to obtain the AR-15 used in the shooting through a straw purchase carried out by his neighbor, 22-year-old Dawn Nguyen, at Gander Mountain in Rochester, NY. Nguyen also purchased a 12-gauge shotgun with the AR-15, paying about $1600 in cash. Spengler picked out both guns. The Brady Center and the firm Arnold & Porter filed suit for the shooting victims and families on May 20, 2014, alleging that Gander Mountain knew or should have known that the sale to Nguyen was a straw purchase. 

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Fox v. In Site Firearms (Pennsylvania)

Plymouth, PA police officer Bradley Fox, 34, was shot and killed by convicted felon Andrew Thomas, whom he had pursued on foot after a hit-and-run accident, on September 13, 2012. Thomas was armed with a Beretta handgun, one of six guns Thomas had drug addict Michael Henry, 31, straw purchased for him over a three-month period at In Site Firearms in West Norriton, PA. The Brady Center and the Dechert law firm filed suit against In Site for Officer Fox’s widow on September 8, 2014, alleging that the store knew or should have known that Henry was not purchasing the guns for his own lawful use, but was in fact turning them over to Thomas in the store’s parking lot.

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Allen v. Lock N Load (Florida)

18-year-old Benjamin Bishop of Oldsmar, FL shot and killed his mother and her boyfriend in October 2012. On October 16, 2014, Brady and the White & Case law firm filed suit for the victims’ families against the dealer that allegedly sold Bishop’s gun. The suit alleges that Bishop got the gun through a straw purchase at the dealer carried out by a friend, even though the dealer knew that Bishop was a prohibited purchaser.

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