Reforming Gun Industry Practices | Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Reforming Gun Industry Practices

Englund v. World Pawn Exchange (Oregon)

On April 28, 2013, Kirsten Englund was driving up Highway 101 in Oregon, on the way to visit her son. A nature lover, she pulled over to a scenic overlook to view a nearby lighthouse. It was there that she was shot and killed by Jeffrey Boyce, a man who was suffering from severe delusions.

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Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp (Indiana)

The City of Gary is less than an hour's drive from Chicago. Like many other cities, both Gary and Chicago suffer from an unusually high level of violent crime committed with handguns. In August, 1999, the City, with the assistance of attorneys at the Brady Center, brought a lawsuit against major manufacturers such as Smith & Wesson, Beretta USA Corp, Glock, and Hi-Point, as well as against major sellers of crime guns in and around the city , for their complicity in contributing to the public safety risk caused by the availability of cheap firearms.

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Mata v. Pioneer Pawn (Texas)

On September 25, 2012, Rudy Mata was shot and killed by David Merrill, who was allegedly a drug-addicted domestic abuser married to Rudy’s step-daughter. The Brady Center and the law firm of Paul Weiss filed suit against Pioneer Pawn on behalf of Mata's widow in September, 2015, alleging that the store and its employees negligently supplied Merrill with a gun despite having reasonable cause to believe he intended to commit a crime, and posed a substantially high risk of causing violent harm.

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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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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)

Victory! We settled this case for $2.2 million in November 2016.

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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