The fact that Lucky Gunner, an online ammunition company, was allowed to sell 4,000 armor-piercing bullets in a single sale to a man who would go on to injure 70 and kill 12 is disgusting. The fact that both federal and state laws give the company “special rights” is insane. The fact that the family of one of those victims is being ordered to pay $203,000 to the company that played a very big role in their daughter’s death by selling her killer the ammo without so much as looking at a driver’s licence is HORRIFIC.
In case you think that this is overblown, or just the “liberal slant” here is a description of the facts of the case from the parents of Aurora victim Jessica Ghawi, Lonnie and Sandy Phillips:
The judge dismissed our case because, he said, these online sellers had special immunity from the general duty to use reasonable care under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and a Colorado immunity law. If you couple the PLCAA law with Colorado’s law HB 000-208, (which says in essence: If you bring a civil case against a gun or ammunition seller and the case is dismissed then the plaintiff must pay all the defendant’s costs), you have an impenetrable barrier to using the judicial system to effect change in gun legislation in Colorado.
Everyone else in society has a duty to use reasonable care to not injure others — except gun and ammunition sellers.
This is unconscionable. No one can expect that they would be penalised for suing a company for a real reason. Lucky Gunner never so much as looked at a driver’s licence before shipping 4000 — yes, FOUR THOUSAND ROUNDS — of armor-piercing people killers to a madman. Make no mistake, these bullets were used exactly as they were intended, their sole purpose is to KILL PEOPLE, but the lawsuit wasn’t about intended use — it never really is with the gun industry, is it?
Think about it: if you sell fertilizer and someone makes a huge purchase, one that is out of the ordinary, you have a responsibility to ascertain to the best of your ability WHO you are selling it to and make sure they are not going to blow up a building (thanks Timothy McVeigh!). You see, after Oklahoma City, the law was changed so if you sell bags of poop that can be made into explosives, you must not sell huge quantities of it.
However, if a company neglects to even collect the real name of a man who bought a HUGE amount of armor-piercing rounds for “personal use” they cannot be sued. Oh and if you try to hold them responsible for the deaths that ensued, YOU owe them whatever exorbitant amount of money that they wish to charge you for “costs.” It doesn’t matter if that purchase killed someone and may have been avoided if large purchases of ammo, body armor, and weapons had been reported to the state, the gun/ammo company is still protected.
I want to leave you with the “effect” that this sale had on Jessica Ghawi, in her parent’s words, this is not for the squeamish:
One of the six, steel-jacketed bullets that killed her slammed through a theater seat, entered her left eye and left a five-inch hole in her face as it blew her brains out on to the theater floor. The other five specially designed bullets tumbled when they tore through her flesh and did devastating damage to both legs, arms and intestines.
Her parents also explained why they are continuing their fight:
The horrific and public execution of our daughter Jessi and 11 other beautiful young lives has given us a brief window of opportunity to bring awareness to the number one public health crisis facing this nation today which is rampant gun violence. It is unfathomable to me that the billion dollar gun lobby can intimidate our Congress and some state legislatures into passing laws that give the gun industry immunity against irresponsible acts that enables them to arm, and profit from, domestic terrorists, and other killers.
We are calling on the citizens of this country and the gun violence prevention community to stand ready to help us get in the face of state and national legislators. Join us in helping to get the word out to the American citizens who are not aware of how these laws take away the rights of victims of gun violence.
If it weren’t for this case, many would be unaware that suing an online arms dealer cannot happen in the USA. How many more lives have to be lost before we stop giving gun manufacturers special rights? How many more patently preventable mass shootings by crazy people, who were able to buy whatever they needed to kill online from a company that has NO CONCERN whatsoever for consumer safety or any safety precautions, do we need to see before we act? How many more Auroras or Sandy Hooks do we need to have happen?
Why would they change on their own? Why would they, when it is against the law to sue them for doing the wrong thing? How much longer are our politicians going to reward those that help keep it legal to sell ammunition to killers on our American streets.
Lucky Gunner will be donating every penny this family is ordered to pay them (though they disingenuously claim that it will be the Brady Center paying it) to groups that fight for “Second Amendment rights.” NOT LEGAL FEES!
This isn’t a Second Amendment issue at all, this is a loophole allowing the sale of tools to murder Americans without ever having to say they are sorry. Without ever taking responsibility. Without ever paying for the lives lost.
This is legalized terrorist-assistance.