A Wisconsin gun store has been found liable in a civil court after what appears to be an obvious straw purchase contributed to the shooting of two on-duty Milwaukee police officers.
The lawsuit alleged the store was negligent and should have spotted clear warning signs that the gun was being sold to a “straw buyer,” or someone who was buying the gun for someone who couldn’t legally do so.
The jurors said Badger Guns’ negligence caused the injuries of the officers.
The jury awarded Norberg $1.5 million and Kunisch about $3.5 million, in addition to $730,000 in punitive damages.
Burton testified via videotape that he had a friend purchase the gun from Badger Guns in West Milwaukee because he was under age.
Burton told the jury that’s where everyone went to get guns. He is serving an 80-year sentence.
The case was being closely watched across the country, WISN 12 News investigative reporter Colleen Henry said. It’s the first plaintiff’s verdict in a series of lawsuits against gun dealers for injury caused by the guns they sell.
In the Badger Guns case, there was video showing the straw purchase. Jurors saw evidence of the buyer struggling with the forms, and the man who shot the officers pointing to a gun, saying, “That’s the one that I want.”
Gun control supporters were hoping for this outcome, viewing it as a precedent-setting event that will allow them to push forward with frivolous lawsuits to attack firearms retailers nationwide.
They clearly misunderstand the unique qualities of this case.
The issues at play here revolved around what appears to be non-existent policies and training of Badger Guns employees, who clearly should have stopped an obvious straw purchase.
When someone tells the buyer in front of the clerk “That’s the one I want” in an obviously and intentionally illegal straw purchase, you stop the sale immediately. Period.
The jury unanimously held that the Badger Guns employee ignored the obvious criminality occurring in front of him in order to make a sale.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) was signed into law in 2005 to prevent frivolous lawsuits against firearms dealers, distributors, and manufacturers, because gun control groups were attempting to bankrupt the industry by holding companies responsible for the unforeseen criminal misuse of their products. It was directly analogous to allowing people to sue car manufacturers and dealers for the actions of drunk or negligent drivers.
(PLCAA) still allows manufacturers and dealers to be sued for damages resulting from product defects and criminal conduct as any other manufacturer or dealer of consumer goods. The complaint against Badger Guns was that they were criminally negligent in allowing an obvious straw purchase.
Badger Guns/Badger Outdoors has been linked as the nation’s number one supplier of crime guns numerous times, including 537 guns recovered from crime scenes in 2005 alone.
I’ve worked for firearms retailers in the past, and have put my time in behind the gun counter as have many of my peers. I was trained, and ever watchful, for people attempting a straw purchase. There is no way this sale should have gone down.
Several of the Democrats candidates running for President, including frontrunner Hillary Clinton, have targeted the PLCAA, claiming that it prevents people from suing criminally negligent gun dealers or manufacturers.
This verdict, which will be appealed, clearly proves their talking point to be dishonest.