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DC-Area Sniper Victims Sue Gun Shop and Gun Maker for Negligence

NRA-Backed Legislation Aims to Rob Victims of Their Rights

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence announced today that its Legal Action Project is filing a civil lawsuit on behalf of the families of several victims of the D.C.-area sniper against the gun dealer and manufacturer who made it possible for the snipers to terrorize the Washington, D.C. region last fall.

The suit charges Bull's Eye Shooter Supply with operating its gun shop in such a grossly negligent manner that scores of guns, including the high-power Bushmaster XM-15 E2S used by the snipers, inexplicably "disappeared" from the store. It alleges that John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, who were both legally prohibited from buying guns, could not have obtained the Bushmaster absent the gun shop's negligence.

"This assault rifle, which served the snipers' deadly purposes so well, did not fall from the sky into their hands," said Dennis Henigan, Director of the Brady Center's Legal Action Project. "The snipers were aided and abetted by the reckless conduct of a gun shop that mysteriously 'lost' scores of deadly weapons and the manufacturer that supplied high-firepower combat guns to that dealer with no questions asked."

The suit is being filed today in the Superior Court of Pierce County, Washington on behalf of Denise Johnson, widow of Montgomery County bus driver Conrad Johnson and on behalf of the family of James L. "Sonny" Buchanan, who was gunned down mowing the lawn outside of a Rockville car dealership. Several other victims and families will be joining the lawsuit shortly, including - Rupinder "Benny" Oberoi, the first sniper victim shot with the Bushmaster as he was closing a Silver Spring liquor store; the family of Premkumar A. Walekar of Olney, who was killed while pumping gas; and the family of Hong Im Ballenger, who was killed outside of a Baton Rouge, LA beauty supply store.

In addition to Bull's Eye Shooter Supply of Tacoma, Washington, the suit names as defendants the store's owners: Brian Borgelt and Charles N. Carr; Bushmaster, Firearms, Inc., the manufacturer of the assault rifle; and the two sniper suspects themselves - Muhammad and Malvo.

Brady Center lawyers are serving as co-counsel in the case with renowned Seattle trial attorney Paul Luvera.

"We plan to show that less than three months after Bull's Eye received the Bushmaster assault rifle in its store, the firearm 'disappeared,' traveled across the country and was used in the sniper attacks," Paul Luvera said. "Such a swift 'time-to-crime' is highly indicative of grossly negligent sales and distribution practices on the part of Bull's Eye and the gun industry defendants."

The suit cites the store's shoddy recordkeeping and inventory controls, as well as its failure to promptly report missing guns to federal authorities and to adequately train its employees.

Bushmaster Firearms is charged with negligence in continuing to sell a high-firepower assault rifle designed for combat use through Bull's Eye even though the prior government audits of the gun store had revealed hundreds of missing guns. Both Bull's Eye and Bushmaster also are charged with contributing to a public nuisance.

The suit is being filed at a time when the National Rifle Association and the gun industry are seeking legislation in Congress to strip gun violence victims of their legal rights by protecting gun manufacturers and sellers from virtually all civil lawsuits. Last fall, the House of Representatives was set to vote on the NRA's Gun Industry Immunity Bill, then-numbered H.R. 2037, when the sniper shootings began. The bill was quickly pulled off the House calendar, with House Republican leaders acknowledging they did not want the vote to occur while the nation was traumatized by the sniper shootings.

This Gun Industry Immunity legislation would have blocked the lawsuit being filed today, as well as countless other suits filed by gun violence victims against reckless dealers and manufacturers. The NRA has stated that enactment of similar legislation is its top legislative priority in the new Congress.

"It is unconscionable that the gun lobby is seeking to shut the courthouse doors to the innocent victims of the sniper shootings and to other victims of gun violence across the country," said Brady Center President Michael Barnes. "This is special interest legislation at its worst. Any member of Congress who votes to immunize the gun industry should have to explain to these victims why they should be denied their day in court."
http://www.bradycenter.org/
 

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Well, as disturbing as this is, it is no surprise.
But why didn't they sue the manufacturer of the get away car? It is obvious that they were neglegent in allowing the murderers to obtain this vehicle.
How about the tool maker who made the tool used to cut the hole in the car so they could shoot from it?
Why not sue the gas stations where the bought gas for the car? It was neglegent of Exxon or whoever to sell gas to these two murderers. Afterall without the car and gas they would have been forced to walk.

This whole thing is patently rediculous and stupid. Just not surprising.
 

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Agreed this lawsuit should be thrown out !!! Gee can I sue them for suing an ligitament buisness. :D If this gun shop was being run so bad why didn't the ATF shut it down? And how in the **** is Bushmaster suppose to know how the shop was run? The AFT wouldn't tell them anything about the shop missing firearms. If the Brady bunch had any balls they would be suing the ATF for not enforcing the laws. Stupid people.:mad:
 

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The court that allowed them to FILE the motion was wrong, it is still alledged that the gun was even used in the shootings, alledgedly by the two defendents, neither of whom has been tried and found guilty.
 
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