Lucky Gunner sells a lot of ammunition. Under PLCAA, in theory, they shouldn’t face a lot of lawsuits. I say in theory because a lot of people are trying to find a way around that, which might cause an issue.
However, they just settled one that was the exception.
The claim was that Lucky Gunner failed to properly verify the age of a customer. That individual then committed a school shooting.
In other words, it fell within one of the PLCAA exceptions–that a seller failed to follow relevant requirements. So, they settled.
But as Dan Zimmerman writes over at The Truth About Guns, not much else was accomplished.
Everytown and the media hailed the settlement as some kind of unprecedented victory. The Houston Chronicle trumpeted the settlement this way…‘Seen as first of its kind, Santa Fe shooting families reach settlement with online ammunition sellers.’ But when you read the Chronicle’s story, it becomes clear that Everytown actually came away with…nothing.
Everytown Law, the gun violence prevention organization that represented one of the families in the lawsuit, announced Thursday that the case had been settled. The organization also said the companies agreed to “maintain an age verification system at the point of sale for all ammunition sales.” The agreement is the first of its kind, the organization said.
In agreeing to “maintain an age verification system at the point of sale,” Lucky Gunner conceded nothing. The company has had an age verification system in place for years. In other words, Lucky Gunner agreed to keep using the same system to verify buyers’ age that they’ve always had.
So the result of the settlement is, Everytown achieved essentially nothing in the settlement…besides bleeding hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses out of Lucky Gunner, which was always Everytown’s real goal in filing the suit.
Now, I’m not sure I agree that it was just a cash grab. They likely also hoped to punish Lucky Gunner enough to drive them out of business, probably in hopes that it would ultimately make it harder to buy ammo online.
Then there’s the fundraising they can do with such a “win” under their belt.
But those are quibbles. At the heart of the matter, Zimmerman is right. Lucky Gunner agreed to do what it was already doing. Literally nothing else has changed except which bank account will hold the money. That’s literally everything.
So why do it other than as a cash grab? Why go after Lucky Gunner like this?
Because groups like Bloomberg need to show something that looks like wins. With this settlement–and I think it probably was the right move for Lucky Gunner–they get to pretend they did something.
Really, though, it’s not much different from everything else with the gun control crowd. They’ll accomplish nothing and still claim it as a win over and over again. It reminds me of how absolutely nothing is a failure of gun control ever, only a failure of insufficient gun control.
It’s all about wins, not about much else.
So, they’ll put this on their fundraising mailers. They’ll shout about this victory in emails for days, all with a call to action about how there’s still more to be done and they need your money to help them keep people safe, all while pretending that gun control doesn’t kill people.
They’ll make a few bucks, claim the win loudly and proudly to make a few more, then come after your rights with renewed vengeance.
That latter thing, though? They were going to do that anyway, so really, nothing has changed. Nothing at all.