Working for the Brady Campaign became a flurry of media appearances and meetings with politicians, police, and survivors. The Brady leadership also encouraged Lonnie and me to sue Lucky Gunner, the dealer that sold the stockpile of ammo to Jessiâ€™s killer. We agreed that dealers should have to take some responsibility. Shouldnâ€™t they have to vet a buyer of military-grade weaponry? Or a buyer of bullets en masse? The primary goal of our lawsuit was to make the gun dealer change its business practicesâ€”at a minimum, toÂ ask for proof of identity and do a background check.
The PLCAA does not exempt suits for negligence per se, which means that if Lucky Gunner violated the law, they can be liable despite the PLCAA protections. This is exactly the kind of lawsuit PLCAA was meant to stop: roughly the equivalent of suing a gas station that sold a tank of gas to a drunk. Lucky Gunner broke no law. They did not have any idea what the killer intended, just as no gas station could possibly know someone filling up is a drunk who might later that day get tanked and plough into a van with kids. The Aurora killer was not a prohibited person, because despite being out of his gourd, he never came in contact with the mental health system to become prohibited. He purchased his firearm legally after passing a background check.
Today, after nearly five years of activism,Â Lonnie and I continue to struggle. We filed for Chapter 11 protection in JanuaryÂ because we could not afford to pay the legal fees for Lucky Gunner.
I’ll assume here that she means Chapter 13 protection, because that would be the typical filing for this kind of personal bankruptcy. But I think it’s terrible that she’s having to apply for personal bankruptcy when it’s the Brady Campaign that encouraged her and her husband to file a frivolous that was doomed the failure, and where the statute allows recovery of attorneys fees for such suits deemed frivolous. They should have warned them, and been ready to pay up when the inevitable happened. Sounds to me like they might have a pretty good case against the Brady Campaign and its lawyers!