Under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, suits related to negligence are still allowed to proceed. The Brady case is crafted as to attempt fall into that category of permitted lawsuits. You can find the complaint here. Reading it over, I’d be very surprised if Badgers Attorney doesn’t try to use PLCAA to dismiss this suit. In the case in question, a drug addict bought a firearm that he later gave to a person who shot two police officers. The suit seems to hinge on the fact that he was a prohibited person because he was a drug addict, and that somehow Badger should have known this. You see language in the complaint about Badger being a “public nuisance,” which is precisely the kind of lawsuit PLCAA was meant to quash.
I’m not going to comment on Badgers business practices in general, because I’m not familiar with the store. Maybe some local people could comment. There are certainly stores out there that have a bad reputation even among shooters. But I’m struck by how much the Brady suit reads like a social policy paper rather than a civil complaint. It is my opinion that this lawsuit should be squashed under PLCAA. Under the PCLAA standard:
(B) NEGLIGENT ENTRUSTMENT- As used in subparagraph (A)(ii), the term `negligent entrustment’ means the supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.
The Bradys are essentially arguing in the complaint that the types of firearms that Badger sold to the drug addict (evil assault weapon) plus the number of guns he bought over the course of a week (two), and the fact that he was an admitted drug addict, should have indicated he was intending to use them for criminal purposes. Because of these facts, the sale was negligent.
In short, this is an attempt by the Brady Center to blow a hole a mile wide in the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act with this case. Regardless of whether or not Badger is a responsible operation or not, it’s important for the gun rights community as a whole that PLCAA squashes this suit. If it doesn’t, PLCAA will be rendered almost entirely ineffective, and you can bet this won’t be the last shop sued. Failing to get legislation rationing firearms, and banning assault weapons legislatively, once again we see the Brady Center trying to accomplish with lawyers what it couldn’t accomplish with lobbyists.