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Four years ago, Radcliffe Haughton walked into the Azana Salon & Spa outside Milwaukee and opened fire. Estranged from his wife Zina, Mr. Haughton was under a restraining order that prohibited him from owning a gun. That didn’t stop him from obtaining a firearm.

Mr. Haughton perused armslist.com and arranged to buy a .40 caliber GLOCK through a private sale. He used the gun to murder his wife and two other women while wounding four. In the aftermath, his wife’s family sued Armslist for wrongful death.

An attorney representing the victim’s family argued that Armslist was created to be a nonstop gun show where people barred by law from owning or buying a gun could easily find a firearm, no questions asked.

“Armslist knew the grave risk that it could arm killers like Radcliffe Haughton,” said Jonathan Lowy, an attorney with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which is representing Zina Daniel Haughton’s family in the case.

As you’d expect, that’s not how Armslist and their counselors read the law.

But an attorney for Armslist argued that Congress intended to protect websites from such lawsuits with language in the Communications Decency Act. Because Armslist did not create the gun-selling ad or participate in the transaction, the act gives the business immunity, he argued.

Yesterday, judge Yamahiro sided with Armslist:

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Glenn Yamahiro ruled that the federal Communications Decency Actprotected Armslist against negligence and other claims brought in a lawsuit by the family of Zina Daniel Haughton.

Not that the Judge was happy about it.

Yamahiro agreed the law gives immunity to Armslist but said Armslist is deliberately operating in an online gun market that others have abandoned and he noted Congress’ “well-documented impotence to take reasonable action to police firearms which allow meaningful background checks.”

While the suit against Armslist has been dismissed, one against the actually seller, Devin Linn, still stands. This isn’t the first time a victim’s family has unsuccessfully sued Armslist.

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32 Responses to Armslist Wins Court Victory in Suit by Victim’s Family

  1. Armslist isn’t doing anything that can’t be done by any other means of communication by anyone else anywhere in the world.

    Suing Armslist is as asinine as suing the Internet itself. Or print. Or voice. Or sign language. Or blinks and grunts……

    • If there were bank accounts associated with the Internet, or voice, or blinks and grunts, they, too, would have been sued.

    • Armslist is the equivalent of the cork-board at my local Skeet & Trap club. People post ads for guns “for sale by owner”. the club has nothing to do with whats posted, they just provide the medium.

      Or to put it ways non-gun people can understand. If someone who had lost their license due to DUI bought a car for cash listed on craigslist, then used it to kill someone in a DUI… would they sue craigslist?? Of course not.

      • I agree armslist should not be liable for this but I find it hard to say they were not involved in some way since they provided the medium. They certainly are and should not be responsible for those who misuse it.

        • Your statements are mutually exclusive. They literally contradict each other. I seriously doubt you hold any strong opinions or beliefs other than possibly thinking, incorrectly, that you might. This kind of muddled non-thinking is emblematic of what’s wrong in our society and which was brought about by the information revolution. Sigh.

        • I can be involved in a car accident but not liable for the cause of the accident, that certainly isn’t mutually exclusive or contradictory. Please explain to me how this situation is different and how this requires mutual exclusivity and a contradictory position.

          If “They certainly are” is the genesis of your assumptions, then come on man. I missed the ‘not’ at the end. The sentence should have read “They certainly are not and should not be responsible for those who misuse it”.

          Should I internet sigh now?

    • lets see all major news papers get sued for helping people sell deadly hammers, tools, and cars cant target only one type of medium for helping people sell their property.

      this is as dumb as the fat people suing candy companies or fast food companies for their own stupidity in getting fat.

      • Armslist is no different than the classifieds of many major newspapers. The Tampa Bay Times for instance has a searchable classifieds section that allows firearms. They are about as anti as it gets but they still allow private gun sales with no background check. (As does FL law)

  2. Put your personal bias aside judge, stick to the facts. That’s why we have the judicial supremacy, political bias in the courts have gone on too long.

    In a sane world, this trial would never have made it this far. Disgraceful.

  3. Totally ignoring the fact that every one of the victims had the same right to purchase a pistol from Armslist for their own protection against a known threat, and did nothing about it.

    I am sorry that these people died, I am more sorry that they didn’t fill the bastard full of holes when he walked in the door. None of this is the fault of Armslist or the man who legally sold the Glock to the shooter. The Second Amendment also protects homicidal assholes from government infringement. It is up to the people to protect themselves from the homicidal assholes.

    • This was the same thought I had. All the arguments folks make about how there are people who shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns through a private sale, those same folks are quick to overlook that potential victims can (and do) buy firearms to protect themselves. What would be the opposite of a lawsuit in this regard? While the lawsuit never should have gotten this far, I’d love to see how the tally would stack up of “bad guys who bought guns and used them in a crime” against “good guys who bought a gun and protected themselves.”
      I suspect if it were so visible, a lot of gun control advocates would be forced to shut up and find a new soap box to stand on.

    • It was not a legal sale. The perpetrator was under a restraining order and not legally allowed to own a gun. If the seller had any clue Haughton was going to commit a crime, he would be criminally liable. State’s gotta prove that, though.

      • If the law prohibiting the sale was unconstitutional (it is), then I contend the sale, all other factors aside, although technically “against the law”, was NOT illegal. The seller cannot know what is in the heart/mind of the buyer.

        If you concede that the government the Second Amendment was intended to protect you from has the authority to create, maintain and enforce lists of persons who, in the opinion of that same government, may not exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, how will you keep your name off of those lists?

        • The law is only unConstitutional if the courts determine it to be. I’m not here to debate whether the right to keep and bear arms also covers selling them. All I pointed out was the sale was not legal because the buyer was a prohibited person. I also used the conditional phrase beginning with the word if. It’s only a criminal act if you know or have reasonable cause to believe the buyer is prohibited. You don’t have to know what’s in his heart.

  4. So can Armslist countersue for court costs under PLCAA? Or would that self-classify Armslist as a seller or merchant and thus contradict their initial argument?

    • Countersuing wouldn’t self-classify them as sellers or merchants, because they’re not in the business of selling guns. They’re in the business of providing an online marketplace. They’re no different than being the owner of a strip mall… buyers and sellers come and go, it doesn’t make them liable for the types of transactions that occur on the property.

  5. So if someone mows down my family with a car bought on Craig’s List, I should bring suit against the website? MAKES PERFECT SENSE! said the progressive “mind”.

    • That’s some weak-ass trolling, bud. Stick to the political stories, where your calls for violence can often find a few takers (who are probably other liberal trolls like you, trying to make gun folk look bad).

      • Link one instance where I supported a liberal policy! Never happened, you can’t.

        So, you don’t support defending your family/self from those that try to eliminate your rights/freedom?

        Your lack of wisdom makes you the problem.

  6. Yamashiro’s anti-constitutional attitude is frankly suicidal. Going by his name, his grandparents (if not his parents) where put in a slave camp by a democrat who thought the Constitution was a just suggestion

  7. Poor judge. Congress is full of people who disagree with him, because the citizenry is full of people who disgree with him. Inconvenient, that.

    Here’s a thought. Rather than try to recruit a bbs to “police” its posters, how about the police – er – police restraining order-guy, his bank account, or the object of his obsession?

    Really, if anyone should be sued, it’s the cops n their bosses.

  8. Well, people forget that Soldier or Fortune was successfully sued decades ago for a similar situation.

    Which is why these days, when you see an ad that says “security/problem solver”, it’s always an undercover cop.

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