BREAKING: Lawsuit Against Online Gun Marketplace “Armslist” Dismissed

Armslist.com (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Back in December, before the gun control advocacy bonanza that consumed the first half of 2013, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence filed suit in Illinois against the online firearms marketplace Armslist. The Bradys were insane with rage to find that citizens could meet online and buy guns without going through a gun dealer. So much so that they filed a wrongful death suit on the behalf of a surviving relative of someone killed with a gun purchased through Armslist. Their assertion was that since Armslist facilitated the transaction, they should be liable. A judge, however, disagreed . . .

[UPDATED 22:07 CDT]

The document states simply that “IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed.” It’s a win for those who were biting their nails, wondering if an intermediate party like Armslist or Gunbroker could be held liable for the unknown illegal activities of its users. This was a blatant attempt by the Brady campaign to systematically shut off any means for gun owners to purchase new firearms, and it has failed.

In the longer document describing the actual action, it seems that what happened was that the defendants (Armslist) made a motion to dismiss the case that was accepted by the court. The judge ruled that Armslist could not have foreseen the illegal use of the firearm, and basically laughed the Brady Campaign’s argument out of court.

Hopefully the Bradys will now focus their advocacy efforts on encouraging prosecutors to go after actual offenders rather than third parties who made a good faith effort to provide a service to law abiding citizens. Or does the Brady Campaign believe that one should also sue the gas station attendant who sold a drunk driver his fuel?

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

53 Responses to BREAKING: Lawsuit Against Online Gun Marketplace “Armslist” Dismissed

  1. avatarPowers says:

    Wow..didn’t even get time to finish writing it..Now that is fast posting.

  2. avataruser3369 says:

    seriously. this new format is amateur and awful.

    • avatarSC Jeff says:

      I’m sure they will work the bugs out. If that was the worst thing to happen to us today, we are in great shape.

    • avatarFelix says:

      Agreed The lack of capitals and proper punctuation in your post is decidedly amateurish.

    • Pushing the button early sucks.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      If you can’t stand the heat…. your comment is wrong-headed and out-of-line. REALLY? You can’t stand it? Maybe you should find someplace else.

      • avatarpwrserge says:

        He’s not wrong… The old theme had a very nice “classic” appeal to it. The new color scheme is eye searingly awful. It’s rather hard to read and the red tends to draw the eye away from everything else.

        • avatarCliff H says:

          He’s not wrong about the RED. I don’t mind the new formatting, really, although the bright page was a bit of a shock at first. My only comment is superficial – the red looks a little too much like arterial blood. I can see that the site is now approximately red/white/blue, but maybe think about a different color or shade for the banner?

        • avatarAndy says:

          Couldn’t get my reply to another comment to take.The tan and brown lay out was better,plus liked the pictures with an article.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

        • avatarZM 1306 says:

          I rather liked the old theme. It looked nice and had an inviting professional feel… most of all it felt smooth this has what feels like might be too much contrast?

      • avataruser3369 says:

        The issue is that the color palette is really bad and the sizing of everything is just wrong. The ride sidebar is way too wide, the fonts are sized all kinds of wrong and awkward. The bright red with white font in the navbar is a bad design move as well . Ads dominate the format, particularly the header. The TTAG logo is offset very awkwardly.

        There are things I do like. I really like the static navbar that scrolls with the page. I actually prefer the Arial/Verdana font type, as opposed to a serif. I am not a font guy though, so I defer to the font guys on their critique there.

        Instead of just bitching, I will offer some suggestions.

        Ditch the red. Go to Black. Then you can leave the font white, but make the font Bold with a very slight grey drop shadow. The off-grey background is a good choice, but add the tiniest bit of texture to it. Sort of like canvas. Narrow the right sidebar by 50-75px and widen the content frame by the same amount.

        Body text, such as comments and content, should be size 11 font. Usernames and sub-headings should be only slightly bigger, perhaps 14. Article headings should be no bigger than 20pt, and bold.

        If possible, move the ad in the page header out of there. Keep everything above the navbar clean and orderly. Integrate the current TTAG logo into a banner that spans exactly the width of the content frame and right sidebar combined. From top to bottom, the margins should be the same.

        I’ll work on a mock up and send it in. I won’t complain and offer no suggestions. But a cloned page to work out the kinks is a really solid idea.

      • avatarBlue says:

        He should find someplace else just because he has a different opinion than you do? Interesting.

  3. avatarJoe S. says:

    Lol real time writing…

  4. avatarG.Fincher says:

    Great news! I just made a contribution towards their defense yesterday.

  5. avatarGtfoxy says:

    Good to see the Brady fools getting the heev-ho!

  6. avatarMark N. says:

    Hmm, something is missing. I wonder if this lawsuit was every actually served on Armslist and responded too, or merely filed for publicity purposes and then dismissed when the publicity campaign had run its course. The complaint as it is was pretty poor–internet sales are not per se “illegal” as alleged.

    • avatarMatt says:

      There is precident. It’s a question if a website facilitates illegal transactions as a matter of design, rather than incidentally possible. So they were arguing that the interstate search option was meant to facilitate illegal transfers.

      I’ve not read the judges decision, but I would imagine that it hast to do with the fact that you can do interstate transfers through an FFL, and thus not necessitating an illegal transfer.

    • avatarJusBill says:

      Didn’t they try the same foolishness against manufacturers some time ago? I seem to remember an epic Federal district court fail.

  7. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    what everyone fails to mention is that this happened in COOK FRIGGIN COUNTY!!! If Tiny Dancer’s crowd can’t score a win on their home turf, wow, cats will be sleeping with dogs!

    • avatarJeffR says:

      I admit the location is enjoyable but our federal courts do actually trend gun friendly. They get to tweak Rahm a few times a year.

      • avatarMark N. says:

        It was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, not federal court.

        • avatarJeffR says:

          The linked judgment came from our federal court. I believe the original suit got removed from state court.

  8. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Once again, how do you buy a firearm on line without a background check? I keep having to get my FFL to send his license info to the seller and they keep sending the firearms to him and I keep having to fill out the form, etc, etc.

  9. avatarJames says:

    “Hopefully the Bradys will now focus their advocacy efforts on encouraging prosecutors to go after actual offenders rather than third parties who made a good faith effort to provide a service to law abiding citizens”

    HA HA HA, I love sarcasm. Prosecute actual offenders……. that’s a good one

  10. lots of breaking news today, lol

  11. avatarKen says:

    I just wonder if Armslist will file a suit for damages (expenses of defending the bogus lawsuit and lost revenue due to the suit) along with a “reasonable common sense” penalty for negative publicity. I think ten million plus attorneys fees is a reasonable common sense penalty for the Brady’s irresponsible lawsuit. Make them defend their strategy.

  12. avatarC says:

    off topic, but that keyboard looks like it’s seen a lot of gaming.

  13. avatarIn Memphis says:

    “Hopefully the Bradys will now focus their advocacy efforts on encouraging prosecutors to go after actual offenders
    ..”

    Youre wrong. They will pick themselves up dust the sh*t off their face and keep blaming guns, manufacturers, distributors and the NRA. Afteral, no human being would ever choose to buy guns or comit crime.

  14. avatarTom says:

    I hope Armslist files a motion to force the Brady Campaign to pay their legal fees. That would make them think twice before they file another lawsuit. Armslist has the right to demand that they be reimbursed for attorney fees

  15. avatarNCG says:

    While I agree with the outcome of this case, and oppose mandatory NICS for face-to-face sales, no way in Hell would I sell a gun to a stranger without going through an FFL, I’d rather get $30 less and cover my ass.

    • avatarDirk Diggler says:

      Just ask to see their ccw permit and DL. Have them sign a receipt.

      • avatarNCG says:

        Good point about the ccw (CHL here in Oregon). It would indicate that the hoops have been jumped through.

    • avatarPro-Liberty says:

      I’ve bought and sold dozens of guns in private transactions. I had cops come ask me about one because it was stolen from the guy I sold it to, and they found it on some schmoe who was scamming old people in Beauregard, Alabama. When the cops found it, the serial number was defaced so they sent it off to the FBI to get the serial, then they ended up on FFL’s doorstep and then came to see me as the retail buyer. I wasn’t home, but I called the number on the card they left, went down to the station, and wrote out a statement explaining that I bought the gun new and later sold it to some guy in a cigar shop.

      I could have avoided that hassle by just buying in a private transaction to begin with. Transferring through an FFL wouldn’t have avoided this, because an FFL intermediary is still later in time than you, so you get the call anyway. The guy I sold to was a good guy; he just had a break in, and the intruder stole his pistol along with some other stuff.

      And what does the FFL transfer get you? I don’t want the cops to catch anyone, so I am sure not going to intentionally create a permanent record of who I sold my gun to. The burden of proving that I committed a crime is on the state. Barring some state or local law to the contrary, I don’t have a legal duty to keep records for state thugs on who I sell my guns to when I’m changing up my collection.

    • avatarLars says:

      Well then you fail to understand the point of armlist, and fail to understand liability laws.

      In a state where private sales of firearms are legal there in no reason for a seller to go through a ffl dealer. You “ass” is covered by the fact the action of selling a firearm privately to a citizen of the same state(not knowing their legal status being it’s none of your business) is legal and therefore protects you from anything the buyer does with the gun. This is why it’s best to do a bill of sale for proof of sale. Nothing wrong for asking for an ID to verify age. But to ask for a cc permit is out of line. If you wish to go through an ffl then state this in your ad. Hope the firearm you sell is amazingly priced because there isn’t much reason to go private unless the deal is amazing or the deal is good and one can avoid the background check. Avoiding the background check is the biggest draw to me. I love the fact most my firearms are not on record of me owning them. I love it. If you have a problem with this than you should avoid armslist period. I know dealers locally and they all post on armslist and most don’t sell a thing.

      THE ENTIRE purpose of private sales is to keep them PRIVATE. Get it, got it? Good.

  16. avatarAndy says:

    Couldn’t get my reply to another comment to take.The tan and brown lay out was better,plus liked the pictures with an article.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  17. avatarPascal says:

    This was just the first salvo. The Brady Bunch has been trying to get private sales regulated for some time. The previous post about Bloomberg and the eTrace data was just the start of a larger campaign to regulate private sales.

    I say regulate, because I doubt the courts will eliminate it. From the emails of the anti-gun groups I get I see they are trying to get everyone to fall into the CT model. You can still have a private sale, but you to fill out paper work and call a state phone number to authorize the sale/transfer. You do not need an FFL and you do not pay any fee but you must fill out a form and the buyer my fill out a form that contains their drivers license and permit #. Then a copy must be mailed to the state and the local PD of the buyer. The seller must then keep that form for 20yrs.

    While the Brady Bunch have not found a cute marketing term to use for the low information voters, their aim and the AIM of MAIG is to regulate private sales.

  18. avatarEd says:

    This is huge news, and a PR bitch-slap for the brady bunch. We always thought the lawsuit was a publicity stunt, and thankfully the judge agrees.

    It was still an expensive lesson for Armslist.

  19. avatarIdahoPete says:

    “Or does the Brady Campaign believe that one should also sue the gas station attendant who sold a drunk driver his fuel?”

    Sure, if they thought they could make money off the lawsuit, or get more donations from the publicity. They would probably throw in the oil company, refinery, pipeline company, and the truck delivery guy if they thought there was big money in it. Anyone wonder why we never read what the salaries are of the people who run the Brady Bunch? Can you say “obscene CEO pay”, boys and girls?

  20. avatarmiketheconservative says:

    Let me tell you what is wrong….18 year old kids buying any gun they want because its from a private party seller. I think this website is great…but in my state, high school seniors can legally buy guns and that scares the shit outta me.

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