The Brady Campaign seems bound and determined to continue its unbroken streak of legal defeats by filing yet another lawsuit against a gun dealer that legally sold a firearm later used in a crime. Their latest target: Cabela’s.
In 2016, John Kuligowski, a convicted felon, sent his girlfriend into a Cabela’s store in Newark, Delaware to purchase a .40 caliber handgun that he was legally prohibited from owning. Kuligowski then traded the pistol for another handgun, and the .40 was later used to murder Keshall “Keke” Anderson as she walked along a Wilmington, Delaware street on September 19, 2016.
Now, the Brady Campaign and Anderson’s family are suing Cabela’s for selling the gun that killed Keshall.
There’s just one problem with the Brady Campaign’s suit. Cabela’s did nothing wrong. They legally sold a handgun to someone who was legally able to own it. The straw purchaser then committed a federal crime by turning it over to Kuligowski.
“Federally licensed firearm dealers such as Cabela’s are well aware that straw purchases are one of the main ways that guns end up in the hands of felons and dangerous individuals and that a straw purchase is a violation of state and federal law,” lawyers representing the family said in a statement.
The lawsuit claims the purchasers of the gun used to kill Anderson showed clear signs that Cabela’s “knew or should have known that a straw purchase was underway.” The lawsuit also claims the store, located at Christiana Mall, did not stop the purchase, notify law enforcement or “comply with its legal obligations.”
We haven’t been able to locate a copy of the complaint to determine exactly what those “clear signs” allegedly were. But given the Brady Campaign’s track record of filing what amount to nuisance lawsuits against retailers who sell guns that were subsequently used in crimes, we don’t give this one much chance of success.
In fact, there really ought to be a law to protect firearms manufacturers and retailers when their legal products are used by criminals to commit crimes. Oh, wait. There already is.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was written specifically to protect gun makers and sellers against the kind of abusive lawsuits the Brady Campaign has taken to filing in places like Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas and Indiana.
So far, the PLCAA protections have held, turning back these efforts to punish law-abiding retailers. But like a peripatetic gibbon, the Brady Bunch seems determined to fling its legal feces against as many walls as it can in hopes that one day, something will eventually stick.
A word of caution to the Anderson family before things go much farther: the Brady Campaign will be more than happy to leave you holding the bag when the lawsuit they’re filing in your name eventually fails. Just ask the Phillips family of Colorado who were stuck with a $200,000 bill when their Brady-backed action crashed and burned.
Here’s the Brady Campaign’s press release announcing this latest quixotic effort:
Brady Center Files Lawsuit Against Cabela’s Following Shooting Death of Delaware Mother
Washington, D.C., July 25, 2018 – The family of murdered 19-year-old mother Keshall “KeKe” Anderson filed suit today against Cabela’s in Wilmington, Delaware. Keshall was shot and killed in September 2016 in a random drive-by shooting in Wilmington around the corner from her home. The gun had been purchased from Cabela’s in a straw purchase and, per federal court records, “almost immediately” traded to the shooters a few weeks before the murder.
The complaint alleges that Cabela’s unlawful and negligent sale of a firearm caused KeKe’s death. Federally licenced firearm dealers such as Cabela’s are well aware that straw purchases are one of the main ways that guns end up in the hands of felons and dangerous individuals, and that a straw purchase is a violation of state and federal law. The suit further asserts that the purchasers of the gun showed clear signs of a straw purchase, that Cabela’s “knew or should have known that a straw purchase was underway,” and that the store did not stop the purchase, notify law enforcement, or “comply with its legal obligations.”
The law firm of Hudson & Castle in Wilmington, DE and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed the suit in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware In and For New Castle County on behalf of KeKe’s parents and son.
Jonathan Lowy, Vice President of Litigation at the Brady Center and co-counsel for the plaintiffs, stated, “KeKe Anderson should be alive today, with her mom and young son. KeKe’s family wants to prevent other families from suffering as they have suffered, and to make sure that gun dealers live up to their obligations to act reasonably and not sell guns to straw purchasers or other dangerous people. KeKe’s family deserves justice.”
Ben Castle, Partner at Hudson & Castle and co-counsel for the plaintiffs, stated, “Far too many young men and women are falling victim to gun violence in Wilmington, and it was an absolute tragedy that KeKe Anderson is among them. To look only to those who pulled the trigger is to miss the point. This is a much more deeply rooted issue in our community, and we have to take steps to be sure from the start that guns are not landing in the hands of dangerous people any longer.”
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is dedicated to reducing gun injuries and deaths in America by stemming all of the causes of gun violence. Through its legal work, the Brady Center works in the courts to reform dangerous and reckless gun industry practices that give criminals and dangerous individuals access to guns. Brady’s legal team has won rulings in courts across the country holding that gun companies can be held accountable for shootings that result from their negligence, including in the Supreme Courts of Kansas, Indiana, and Alaska, and lower courts in New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Hudson & Castle, LLC is a local Delaware law firm focused on personal injury and wrongful death. Founding attorneys Bruce Hudson and Ben Castle have more than eight decades of experience obtaining fair and just compensation for injured clients. Among the firm’s accolades, Hudson & Castle has been named one of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Firms for the past several years.
The mission of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. The organization is dedicated to reducing gun injuries and deaths in America by stemming all of the causes of gun violence. Through its legal work, the Brady Center works in the courts to reform dangerous and reckless gun industry practices that give criminals and dangerous individuals access to guns.