Gun Shop Found Liable For Sale Of Weapon That Wounded Two Officers

Gun Shop Found Liable For Sale Of Weapon That Wounded Two Officers
smith & wesson 460 magnum Greta Ceresini/Flickr CC BY 2.0

A gun shop was sued by two seriously injured police officers, who accuse the shop of selling hundreds of weapons used in crimes.


Officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch claim that the gun that injured them was bought from the shop, and that it should be held culpable. In the summer of 2009, Norberg and Kunisch were shot by Julius Burton who they stopped for riding his bike on the sidewalk. At the time, Burton was too young to purchase the gun, which he bought from a straw buyer. Burton is currently serving an 80-year sentence for the crime.

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The case involves the issue as to whether the financial liability of the crime lies with the gun shop. According to a law passed by Congress during the tenure of President George W. Bush, gun shops are not to be held culpable for crimes that are committed by their customers. In the lawsuit in question, Badger Guns had approved the sale of the weapon despite having knowledge that the customer who bought the gun was not going to use it.

ABC News reports that Norberg, upon returning to the force after the shooting, said that he could not concentrate on his job because of his injuries. Kunisch took retirement from the force. The lawsuit that followed the shooting fetched Norberg $1.5 million and Kunisch $3.5 million.

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As many as 1,800 guns bought from Badger Guns between 2006 and 2009 have been used in several crimes, Milwaukee authorities claim. Patrick Dunphy, a lawyer representing the officers, said, “Badger Guns did not do the job it was required to do when it made that sale. If Badger Guns had done its job…then Bryan and Graham would not have been shot.” Local authorities called Badger Guns the “No. 1 crime gun dealer in America” after it found in excess of 500 weapons from crime scenes.

However, defense attorneys have denied having involvement in any wrongdoing, saying that their clients and the clerk who sold the gun were deceived by the straw buyer. They maintained that it was not their intention to sell the weapon to criminals. “The last thing we want to do is put a gun in the hands of someone who is going to commit a crime,” Donald Flora, sales clerk, said during the trial.

Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, said last week that she would push to eliminate the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that allows gun manufacturers and dealers to not be held responsible for the crimes committed from their products, as reported by Yahoo News.