Can A Gun Store Be Held Liable For A Weapon Sold To A Mass Shooter? A Texas State Court Will Decide.


On Thursday, Judge Karen Pozza for the 407th District in Bexar County, Texas heard arguments in a suit that could have wide-ranging ramifications for gun sellers’ legal liability across the nation. At issue in the litigation is the extent to which San Antonio-based sporting goods retailer Academy Sports + Outdoors could be held liable for the mass shooting that occurred in November 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

On Thursday, lawyers for both Academy Sports + Outdoors and the families of those hurt and killed in the small central Texas community went head-to-head in what was at times a heated debate. During the nearly three-hour hearing, the attorneys argued over federal and state laws, and whether the store should have refused to sell…the gun with which [the shooter] killed and injured dozens at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Nov. 5, 2017.

Judge Karen Pozza said she will issue a ruling by Monday. She could side with Academy’s lawyers and throw out the case, or agree with the Sutherland Springs families and let the case continue to a jury trial. The families are asking for millions in damages for physical and mental anguish, disfigurement and medical expenses.

A federal law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act generally shields gun sellers from such liability, absent a dealer’s negligence or willful violation of another operative federal or state law. The specific issue that Judge Pozza is set to grapple with is whether the federal law definition of a “firearm” includes the magazine with which it is sold — as well as the thorny question of whether a Colorado law banning the sale of “high-capacity” magazines applies to Coloradans who purchase firearms in Texas. – READ MORE

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