Gun Store Loses Landmark Case, Owes Shot Cops $6M

Jury agrees that Badger Guns was negligent
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2015 3:57 AM CDT
Updated Oct 14, 2015 6:41 AM CDT
Gun Store Loses Landmark Case, Owes Shot Cops $6M
Former Milwaukee Police Officer Graham Kunisch, who was shot several times, losing an eye and part of the frontal lobe of his brain, testifies in court during the Badger Guns trial.   (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

It could be the biggest blow to the gun industry in years, and it came not from the White House, but from a jury in Milwaukee. On Tuesday, Badger Guns was ordered to pay $6 million to two police officers who were shot in the face with a handgun bought at the store, NBC News reports. The badly injured officers sued the gun shop for negligence. The jury agreed that the store had been extremely negligent when it sold the firearm to a 21-year-old man who was buying it in a "straw purchase" for underage friend Julius Burton, who used it to shoot the officers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The evidence included video of Burton pointing to the gun and saying, "That's the one I want," the Guardian reports.

The ATF has described the Milwaukee store as one of America's top sellers of guns used in crimes, and 537 of its weapons were found at crime scenes in 2005 alone, NBC notes. The case is only the second one of its kind to go to trial since the passage of a 2005 law shielding gun dealers from such lawsuits, the Journal Sentinel reports; a gun store in Alaska won the previous case. The closely watched case could have major implications nationwide, but the officers' attorney tells the Journal Sentinel that he was out to represent his clients, not send a message. "Will it change the way things are done around the country? Time will tell," he says. (President Obama is looking into tightening a gun control rule.)

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