More on the Gun Industry Bankrupting Lawsuits

From that font of information,, comes this update on the D.C. sniper lawsuit against Bushmaster:

Denied Again: Judge Refuses Bushmaster’s Plea In Sniper Lawsuit

Tacoma, WA – Bushmaster, a gun distributor and manufacturer that is charged with supplying the DC-area sniper suspects with their assault weapon, was denied its second plea for a dismissal in the sniper lawsuit. The decision was announced in a ruling by Judge Frank E. Cuthbertson of the Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma, Washington, on August 11, 2003. The court refused to overturn its prior ruling where it held that based on plaintiffs’ allegations, Bushmaster knew or should have known that Bull’s Eye was a reckless and incompetent dealer. The case is presently set to go to trial next July.

Really? “Charged with supplying…?” Bushmaster isn’t charged with anything. That implies that there is a criminal “charge” layed. Bushmaster is defendant in a lawsuit where it is accused of negligence.

Bushmaster supplied the gun? It was my understanding that Malvo admitted to stealing it. And if Bushmaster “knew or should have known that Bull’s Eye was a reckless and incompetent dealer” then why isn’t the BATF being sued for not pulling their Federal Firearms License? Bull’s Eye, if you weren’t aware, was connected to Buford Furrow in 1997 when one of the guns he possessed was traced back to that shop. Bull’s Eye had been investigated by the BATF for some time prior to Malvo’s five-finger discount, according to this story. In fact, Bull’s Eye could not account for 160 firearms two years prior to the theft of the Bushmaster rifle. So, who really is responsible? Sure as hell not Bushmaster, but they’ll pay through the nose to defend themselves from this ridiculous lawsuit.

Question: Does the BATF tell gun manufacturers that licensed dealers are “reckless and incompetent?” If not, how else would they know?

Question 2: If the BATF can prove a licensed dealer is “reckless and incompetent,” why don’t they pull the license?

The DC-area sniper suspects, who were prohibited purchasers, obtained their assault rifle through the negligence of Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply of Tacoma, Washington, one of Bushmaster’s handpicked gun dealers. The gun lobby is attempting to override the judge’s decision in this case and other gun related lawsuits with federal legislation immunizing the gun industry from liability in virtually all civil suits brought by gun violence victims.

So, according to the Brady Center (source for this “release”) theft = negligence. If someone steals from you, you were obviously negligent and it’s all your fault. All actions involving the stolen property are also your responsibility. Therefore, by this logic, if someone steals my truck and uses it in a drive-by shooting, I am liable and can be sued by the victims and their families because I was negligent and allowed the vehicle to be stolen, and both the dealership and Ford are liable because they knew they were selling a vehicle into a high-theft area.

Makes sense to me. (Not!)

Daniel Vice, an attorney for nine families of victims of the DC-area snipers said, “Any Senator who honestly reviews this case of negligent and reckless behavior by these gun sellers would immediately work to defeat the special interest legislation that seeks to strip away the rights of gun violence victims. The gun lobby’s mission to protect bad apple gun sellers and take away victims’ rights is absolutely detrimental to America’s public safety.” Mr. Vice is a Staff Attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

That fisks itself. I can’t do it justice.

The suit was filed on January 16, 2003 against Bushmaster Firearms, Inc., the distributor and manufacturer of the Bushmaster XM-15 E2S .223 caliber semi-automatic assault rifle used by the snipers and against Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply, the gun dealer from which the Bushmaster mysteriously “disappeared,” ending up in the hands of the snipers. A total of 238 guns have “disappeared” from Bull’s Eye’s store in three years – an average of more than one gun per week. Bull’s Eye’s guns have been traced to more than fifty crimes. The suit also names as defendants the two individual owners of Bull’s Eye, Brian Borgelt and Charles N. Carr, as well as sniper suspects John Muhammad and Lee Malvo.

If they could prove that Bull’s Eye sold the gun “under the table” to Muhammed or Malvo, then they have a case – against the shop. If an employee of Bull’s Eye ripped it off and sold it, they’d have a case against that employee. But in no way could it be the responsibility of Bushmaster. Again, if Bull’s Eye was known to be “reckless or incompetent” to the BATF, then they should have yanked the license (which they finally did.) Why isn’t the BATF being sued? Oh, right – in order to sue the government, you have to get its permission. Not bleeding likely.

The suit charges Bull’s Eye with operating its gun shop in such a grossly negligent manner that scores of guns, including the high-powered Bushmaster, inexplicably “disappeared” from the store. The suit asserts that Bull’s Eye took the gun into its inventory in July 2002, that both sniper suspects visited the store after that date and that Muhammad practiced his sharpshooting in the store’s shooting range. Because both sniper suspects were legally prohibited from buying guns, they could not have obtained the gun without the gun shop’s negligence. Bushmaster Firearms is charged with negligence in continuing to sell high-firepower assault rifles through Bull’s Eye even though government audits of the store had revealed hundreds of “missing” guns.

Government audits from before the theft of the gun. Again, since when is “theft” equal to “negligence?” And why is it BUSHMASTER’s fault? (Because they are eeeeeeevil and have the deepest pockets – conditions which to liberals are often one and the same. But we are talking a gun manufacturer here. They’re especially eeeeeevil.)

Legislation to grant the gun industry unprecedented immunity from legal claims passed the House of Representatives on April 9 of this year. It is currently pending in the Senate with 54 cosponsors. Several Senators have vowed a filibuster against the bill should it move to the Senate floor. The National Rifle Association has declared that the immunity legislation is its top legislative priority in Congress.

And this case is a perfect example of why.

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