Mass shootings have dominated the media in recent months and years, resulting in a heated debate about gun control laws nationwide. The number one question following every one of these tragedies is: How did the shooter get a gun?
In many recent mass shootings, the shooter obtained the gun legally, prompting many Americans to call for stricter gun legislation at the state and federal levels. In the most recent shooting, in which a white man shot four African-Americans in a Tennessee Waffle House, the shooter obtained the gun from his father, who had a legal right to possess the firearm.
Can Victims Sue Gun Sellers?
In a 2012 mass shooting that also claimed four lives, the gunman bought his gun at online gun retailer Armslist.com. Now the daughter of one of those victims is suing Armslist, alleging that they contributed to the murder of her mother. The court initially dismissed the case, but an appeals court has ruled that it can continue. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if another’s negligence has caused you harm.
Radcliffe Haughton shot and killed four people at a spa in Milwaukee in 2012. Among the victims was his estranged wife, Zina. According to federal law, Haughton was prohibited from owning any type of firearm due to his history of domestic violence. But Haughton found a loophole. In Wisconsin, purchases at dealers require a background check and waiting period, but private sales do not. Therefore, Haughton was able to purchase a gun, from a private seller, through the Armslist website.
The lawsuit against Armslist was actually filed by the shooter’s stepdaughter. Yasmeen Daniel, the daughter of one of Haughton’s victims who also happened to be his estranged wife Zina, alleged that Armslist lacked necessary safeguards to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands, and even facilitated and encouraged the illegal sale through its website’s design.
After the circuit court determined that Armslist could not be liable for the death of any of Haughton’s victims, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that the company may have used a “website design feature to facilitate illegal firearms purchases,” and allowed the lawsuit to continue. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.
Statistics on Mass Shootings
Between 1966 and 2018, there have been 154 mass shootings, resulting in 1,081 deaths. Some of the shooters had criminal pasts or a history of domestic abuse, while others seemed perfectly normal up until the attack. All of the shooters but three were men. Most were between 20 and 49 years of age, and more than half died at the scene, often an act of suicide.
There has been an increase in large, mass shootings in recent years, with just three—those at Sandy Hook elementary school, a Las Vegas club, and Parkland high school—claiming the lives of nearly 100 people, many of them children. Several states have tightened their gun legislation in response. With MA having one of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, our rate of gun violence has seen a dramatic drop. Continue reading