For the first time since Congress passed a law in 2005 granting immunity to gun stores for the way its buyers used their products, a jury has found a Wisconsin gun store negligent and awarded two police officer shot with a gun purchased from Badger Guns over $5 million for their injuries. It’s only the second such lawsuit of this kind since 2005, and in the other case, a jury found in favor of an Alaska gun store.
In 2009, Badger Guns sold a Taurus semi-automatic pistol to Jacob Collins. However, the evidence showed that Collins was buying the gun for Julius Burton who was too young at the time to purchase it on his own.
The evidence that this was a “straw-purchase” was strong. Surveillance video shows Collins and Burton entering the store together and Burton picking out the gun he wanted, saying “that’s the one.” Then when Collins was filling out the forms, he marked that he was not the actual buyer, but the clerk allowed him to change his answer to “yes.” Collins did not have enough money with him to complete the purchase, so he left. He and Burton returned shortly with the rest of the money.
The lawsuit claimed the store was negligent in ignoring the warning signs and that authorities had traced hundreds of guns used in crimes back to this particular store. Badger Guns’ federal firearms license was revoked in 2011 because of repeated violations.
The gun was later used by Julius Burton to shoot two police officers in the face when they stopped him for riding his bike on the sidewalk.
Do you see this as opening the door for more lawsuits against legitimate gun dealers?