Badger Guns was ordered to pay almost $6 million in damages after losing a straw gun purchase case. A jury in Milwaukee County found that the gun store was negligent on multiple counts, including selling the firearms that injured two police officers.
The Badger Guns $6 million verdict may be the first case of its kind in the United States, Fox Now 6 reports. Badger Guns was found negligent on several counts — and the gun shop must now pay millions in damages. The Milwaukee jury reached a verdict on Tuesday after the case was debated for two weeks in the courtroom.
The gun store case involves the 2009 shootings of police officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch — both were shot in the head and seriously injured. Julius Burton, the man convicted of the police shooting, was not legally allowed to own a gun. He reportedly had a friend passed a background check, purchased the gun, and then gave it to him. Such purchases are deemed straw purchases, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
— CAP Guns (@CAPgunsandcrime) October 13, 2015
A decade ago, Congress passed a law that held both gun manufacturers and firearms dealers immune from lawsuit filings such as the Badger Guns proceedings. The Milwaukee jury verdict is only the second challenge to the law and carried a much higher price tag for the gun store owners. The first challenge occurred after a jury in Alaska found in favor of the plaintiffs suing a gun shop.
“I didn’t want to send a message around the country. What I wanted to do was represent my clients, these two Milwaukee police officers. And if some gun dealers realize they will have their feet held to the fire because of the punitive damage award here, then that is a bonus,” Patrick Dunphy, the attorney for the officers, said.
— Maverick™ (@spooney35) October 13, 2015
The lawyer also acknowledged that even though the jury ordered Badger Guns to pay almost $6 million for negligence, a plethora of Second Amendment and legal challenges will happen before any money ever changes hands.
“We have to wait the years of appeals. Whether or not they are going to see a dime or not is still open to question,” Dunphy added.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said national gun store ramifications surely will occur because of the landmark straw purchase liability case. Barrett said he hopes that the jury’s message was clear: gun sellers might still be on the hook for what is done with the firearm after the purchase.
“I want gun dealers to be on notice that they have a responsibility,” Mayor Barrett added.
The foreman of the Milwaukee jury, Brett Heaton Juarez, told the media that all of the jurors agreed that the business practices of Badger Guns were “shoddy.” He recalled testimony from the owners of the gun shop which noted that policies and procedures were not routinely followed by untrained workers. The jury foreman also said that the owners admitted they had not read federal regulations and, therefore, did not know all the steps required to complete gun purchase forms.
“A responsible business owner would do more and everyone agreed on that from the start. Gun dealers have to do more than what we saw in this instance,” Heaton added.
The nearly $6 million lawsuit award was reportedly determined by averaging the figures submitted by jurors, which ranged from zero dollars to the amount approved. Officer Kunisch will receive about $3.5 million, Officer Norberg will be given $1 million, and $730,000 was awarded in punitive damages.
What do you think about the Badger Guns lawsuit verdict and settlement amount?
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