PLCAA Be Damned: Brady Campaign Sues Cabela’s Over Straw Purchase Gun Used in Murder

Cabelas Newark Delaware Christiana Mall

courtesy delawareonline.com

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.

Anderson’s accused killers are facing a second murder trial in the shooting. Kuligowski was sentenced to 27 months for illegal possession of a firearm.

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.

 

 

comments

  1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    The lawyer(s) that filed this illegal lawsuit should be disbarred from legal practice and held in contempt of court.

    1. avatar Anymouse says:

      I agree. PLCAA awards the defendants their legal fees, which falls on the plaintiffs. It seems like malpractice to me that the lawyers encourage these lawsuits, either looking for money or a political statement. The plaintiffs might not know that they have no case, but the lawyers should. They are not looking out for their clients best interests. At the very least, the plaintiff’s attorneys should be prevented from practicing law until the defense fees are repaid. I remember one of the PLCAA actions where the plaintiffs went in expecting to lose and had transferred their assets so that they were bankrupt and couldn’t pay.

      1. avatar Rattlerjake says:

        Additionally, we need to go back to public hangings of those who commit murder. Most of these felons have committed these crimes before, they are given plea bargained sentences and released on parole in no time. People with non-violent crime convictions often spend 3X the time in prison. Any sentence for a violent crime over 20 years should be an automatic “death sentence”! When you have a dog that attacks people, you don’t just wait a while and then turn it loose, you euthanize it because it can never be trusted.

        It is a direct violation of God’s law to allow murderers and other criminals to get off with light sentences or with no punishment at all!
        Isaiah 5:20 -Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness to light and light to darkness, who replace bitter with sweet and sweet with bitter. (ALL LEFTISTS)
        21 -Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. (LAWYERS/Judges)
        22 -Woe to those…
        23 -who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of justice.(LAWYERS/JUDGES)
        24 -….for they have rejected the instruction of the LORD of Hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.…

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      I would definitely agree with disbarment, it’s the only way to stop these frivolous actions. Additionally, an organization that keeps initiating them should be declared a vexatious litigant and prevented from filing any actions without the express consent of a judge after reviewing it for merit.

  2. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    So who is John Kuligowski’s girlfriend, has she been arrested and charged with a federal crime, facing years in prison? Go sue her, and John Kuligowski as well. And it seems Mr. Kuligowski was not only a felon in possession, but part of not just an illegal straw purchase, but his trade was likely to another known felon, it seems he committed at least three violations. Make the true perps face justice.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Let’s include the Brady Bunch in that, for decades now they have spouted the BS that they are solving something, and this episode alone shows they have employed themselves and others pretending to do something they have not done. THEY should be sued, and prosecuted for fraud.

    2. avatar Ingenero says:

      This X1000. There are WAY too many instances of straw purchases never being prosecuted (i’ve read that only a pitifully small percentage ever are), but that needs to change. Yes, the defendants are often poor, old, and/or female, and often sympathetic (who wants to charge a girlfriend or grandma?), but unless they can show proof there are extenuating circumstances (we’re talking death threats) the straw buyers should have the book thrown at them. Yes, some grandmas will go to jail…BUT they enabled murder! We need to attack this common and illegal practice and not accuse law-abiding businesses and citizens of being at fault.

      1. avatar Scoutino says:

        No, they did not enable murder. Murderer could murder without a gun – it did happen before, believe it or not. Gun is not some evil magic talisman without which bad guy is harmless. Don’t fall for this disarmist’s mantra.

        “To look only to those who pulled the trigger is to miss the point.”
        Not really. It is the only point that matters.
        The tool used matters not.
        Where it came from matters not.
        Who bought it and who owned it before the bad guy used it to harm matters not.
        The only person responsible for a crime is the perpetrator.

        They did break the law. True, but laws that supposedly aim to protect us by banning possession of stuff are incredibly dumb in my opinion.

  3. avatar Brewski says:

    Question:

    Why isn’t there a class action lawsuit vs. gun free zones and all politicians and anti-2A groups that continue to force that unconstitutional tyranny (and resulting loss of life and delayed life saving response time) on law abiding citizens?

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      Why? Because being stupid isn’t illegal.
      Gun free zones aren’t just legal, in many cases (schools, for example) they are required by law.
      The way to get rid of them is to change the law.
      The way to do that is to elect politicians who want to change the law.
      Good luck with that. Most voters work on name recognition, not issues. That’s why there are so many “campaign” signs with nothing but the candidate’s name on them, and not even a party affiliation.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    This is another example of why our tort system needs total reform. Implementing “loser pays” system-wide would eliminate most spurious lawsuits and would eviscerate the Ambulance Chaser Bar. PLCAA is a start, but it’s not enough.

    Judges must be required to award legal fees and costs to all successful litigants, without exception. This should encourage the truly aggrieved to file, the sham plaintiffs to stay home and STFU, and culpable defendants to settle and not try to run the clock.

    Best of all, it will drive the American Bar Association insane. Well, more insane. It’s already nuts.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Doesn’t the “Brady Campaign” need some standing to launch a lawsuit? They have no dog in this BS.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        The suit was filed by the dead woman’s family; the Brady Bunch are acting as legal counsel.

        Ralph, I like the “loser pays” system you recommend, especially if some of the payment has to come from the lawyers themselves. As we’ve seen before, even when judges award cost reimbursement to defendants, unscrupulous fucks like the Bradys will just bail and leave the plaintiffs holding the bag. If you hold the lawyers at least partly responsible (after all, they should know better than their clients if a case is real or just grandstanding bullshit), forcing these shysters to put some skin in the game, the whole nuisance lawsuit industry would dry up overnight.

  5. avatar rc says:

    Yep, they’re going to fight for gun control if it costs every last cent in your pocket.

  6. avatar Bloving says:

    “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 the signs in question? Why, because the purchaser was not only getting a .40, but was FEMALE to boot! And as any fool knows, females don’t like gunz cuz teh ickky…
    🤠

  7. avatar RA-15 says:

    Their hypocrisy knows no bounds. I don’t know of any store clerk that can read mind’s. So the girlfriend was in Cabela’s by herself & purchased a 40cal. Handgun legally. The clerk must have known she was making a straw purchase ? I would like to know how this amazing insight on the clerk’s behalf could possibly be possible ?? F… The Brady bunch & the likes of them.

  8. avatar FB says:

    This is equivalent to victim families suing uhaul for the recent new york terrorist attack.

  9. avatar neiowa says:

    A 19-year-old woman is dead and a man is hospitalized following a Wilmington shooting early Sunday

    Keshall “KeKe” Anderson wanted to see her 6-month-old son, Jordan Dominque Robinson Jr., grow up.

    Instead, she became Wilmington’s 18th person to die from gun violence this year.

    Anderson, a 2015 graduate of McKean High School, was walking Sunday in the 200 block of W. 20th St., just around the corner from where she lived. Suddenly, at about 12:20 a.m., gunfire erupted, hitting Anderson in the back and striking a 19-year-old man with her in the left leg and buttocks, according to Wilmington police.

    Knocked up/unmarried at 18. Out after midnight in dahood and shot dead by some POS. Stupid people, stupid places, stupid times.

    1. avatar Supermike says:

      Amen… I love how these stories act like it’s perfectly normal for the mother of a 6 month old to be out walking around the ‘hood at 12:30 in the morning. It’s NOT. Bad things happen after midnight, folks… no reason to be out unless you have to be.

      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        I think “streetwalking” would be a better term.

        How many Johns does she hook up with per night?

    2. avatar Outwardhound says:

      Yep. To make meaningfull long-term progress against violence, one must look to the true root causes. The social & cultural (as neiowa alludes to) as well as economic & historical factors must be considered and addressed. No gun law on the books, or ever proposed, can fix the issue as guns are not responsible for a generationally dysfunctional sub-class which is responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime.

  10. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    It’s telling that neither John Kuligowski nor the unidentified “girlfriend” was charged by the BATFE regarding the “straw purchase” (18 USC 924 (a)(1)1(A) and 2) or felon in possession of a weapon (18 USC 922).

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Dirtbag got felon in possession, but I see nothing on the “girlfriend” (probably one of his hookers).

      1. avatar JR Pollock says:

        It’s in one of the DelawareOnline articles, the girlfriend got a year and a day in jail.

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          Interesting thing about “year and a day.” That’s a sentence specifically designed to send someone to prison vs. jail. Jails hold people during trials, pre-trial detention, and sentences of one year (365 days) or less. Sentences of more than one year are served in prisons. So a judge sentencing someone to a year and a day (366 days) is that judge specifically sentencing someone to prison over jail.

    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      According to this article (http://www[dot]delawarepublic.org/post/lawsuit-alleges-cabelas-christiana-allowed-straw-purchase-linked-wilmington-murder) the girlfriend is Brilena Hardwick.
      According to the suit, her boyfriend was in the parking lot and was communicating with her by texting.
      The complaint says, “While inside the store, on information and belief (emphasis added), Hardwick displayed erratic behavior, running up and down the aisles, and remained in regular cell phone communication with Kiligowski through both text messages and phone calls.” It then goes on to list several lies on the form 4473.
      IOW, she displayed typical behavior of someone who uses her phone for social purposes, and walked (running???) the aisles, as though shopping. Which is what a lot of people do in stores. And this means Cabela’s should have somehow known this was a straw purchase.
      I can’t find any info on whether or not any charges were files against her.

  11. avatar ‘liljoe says:

    Can we sue the Brady campaign lawyer for artificially driving up prices by forcing Cabela’s to spend money on legal defense that then gets transferred to customers?

    Would love to be part of that class action.

  12. avatar former water walker says:

    Well TTAG gang I witnessed a straw purchase at Cabela’s in Hammond,Indiana. And told the old counter guy I was friendly with…I got an “oh really-I’ll look into that”. My real LGS’s would try harder. Including the much impugned (by Brady)Chuck’s Gunshop in Riverdale,IL. I don’t dispute they should target SP and boyfriend’s. A pox on the brady bunch…

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      And how did you discern that this was so?

      And it’s not a straw purchase until the third party takes possession.

      1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        “it’s not a straw purchase until the third party takes possession.”
        Fabricate all the imaginary statutes you like. If I, acting as an agent for someone else, go into a retailer and buy a gun on his behalf, it’s a straw purchase. It’s just a lot easier to prove in court if the third party transfer actually takes place.

        Of course none of this implicates the seller in any crime unless the seller knew, or should have known, that it was a straw purchase.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          I agree to purchase a gun for someone else but after the purchase change my mind and keep it. Did I break the law? Regardless of your initial intent you have at worst made a misstatement on the ATF 4473. Even that would be impossible to prove in Court at least until they invent mind reading technology.

        2. avatar ams says:

          It is my understanding that it is not a straw purchase unless the person who purchased received payment for purchasing the gun and it was determined to be so prior to purchase. I can go and buy a gun and decide i don’t like it and sell it, in about 5 min. Not a straw purchase. I can go buy a gun and give it to my son. Not a straw purchase. I can ask for a gun for Christmas and get it and it is not a straw purchase. If my son says here is $400 go buy a gun for me, it is a straw purchase. If I go buy the gun, decide I don’t like and sell it to my son, it was not a straw purchase. I hate lawyers, only lawyers could have come up with that.

    2. avatar Stereodude says:

      I saw Cabela’s stop the online firearm pickup process cold and ultimately and send the customer(s) out of the store empty handed when a father was buying his two adult sons guns as gifts because the wrong person started the 4473 (not the person who placed the online order). The employees insisted their system & policies wouldn’t let the father do the 4473 and pickup the order because the order now had a suspicion of a straw purchase associated with it in their system after the wrong person started the 4473.

      They spoke to the manager, but got nowhere.

    3. avatar former water walker says:

      I ASSertained when I saw 4 homies walk in to Cabela’s. 2 with pants on the floor. All went to the gun counter. 2 separated and in the shotgun shell section homie proceeds to whip out a very BIG roll of cash and HANDS it to homies in line. DUH…do I blame Cabela’s?!? Not really but the drones don’t give a shite…

  13. avatar FedUp says:

    BTW, how did Lucky Gunner rack up $200k in legal expenses?
    Seems like that was an open and shut PLCAA case:
    “Motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the PLCAA voids this action”
    “Granted. Plaintiffs to pay all costs”
    “Your honor, I’ve billed $5000 including today’s motion hearing”

    1. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

      Without the PLCAA cutting things short, they were liable for $700K in the frivolous lawsuit against the theater chain.

  14. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Anyone contributing money to this kind of lawsuit should be on the hook for the same percentage to pay the legal defensive bills as well. In for a penny, in for a pound!

  15. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “The straw purchaser then committed a federal crime by turning it over to Kuligowski.”

    Actually, she committed a federal felony by answering question #11a. with a “YES” on her Form 4473.

    She should be in the clink along with her boyfriend.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      She also put a false address on the form
      But, “The straw purchaser then committed a federal crime by turning it over to Kuligowski.” is correct, as she definitely did that.
      I can’t find any criminal complaints against her, but I would imagine there’s one somewhere, and these actions might be contained in them.

  16. avatar Mr Lizard says:

    Soooooooooooo the girlfriend bought the gun legally then he:

    “Kuligowski then traded the pistol for another handgun, and the .40 was later used to murder Keshall “Keke” Anderson”

    He traded the gun. Possibly making it ‘legal’ again. (Stretched assumption that the ultimate shooter was not prohibited). Bottom line, they sold a gun to a chick who then gave it to a dude who then traded it to another dude). Bottom line Cabellas is 3 steps removed from the shooter. That makes this lawsuit even more absurd.

  17. avatar W says:

    The judge ought to throw the book at the clowns representing Brady. Cabelas sold to a girlfriend. She gave it to the boyfriend. The boyfriend wasn’t even the murderer! The gun went to someone else.

    The ethical/ moral fiber of these gun banners is totally corrupt.

  18. avatar bob999 says:

    Simple, the Brady Campaign is shamelessly using the plaintiff knowing full well that the plaintiff will lose the case and will likely lose everything to pay legal costs, but the Brady Campaign gets want they really want — nationwide press coverage. You have to be a special kind of evil to be in the Brady Campaign…something equivalent to child rapists and serial killers I imagine.

  19. avatar Chris Ridgeway says:

    Think this is bunch of bullshit .they sold the gun to somebody that was aloud to by it legally.cabelas has no control over what that person does with it.I think the person who gave the gun to someone that’s wasn’t aloud to poses or is a felon should be the one getting sued or be charge just the same as the person who committed the crime.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      By the same metric is maker or first seller of the car used in the drive-by also responsible for the car being involved?

  20. avatar Johnny says:

    So if a person that does not have a drivers license gets a legal driver to buy them a car at the local FORD dealership, then drives the car and runs over someone, is the ford dealership at fault?

  21. avatar Colonialgirl says:

    What’s with all the high praise for the brady bunch of thugs in the last three paragraphs? Not to mention the big pat-on-the-back for the sleazy lawyers working with the brady morons ?
    Brady is nothing but a bunch of idiots working to KILL the second amendment by any means possible and the law firm says OINK OINK OINK as usual for people of that profession.

  22. By the “Same” Liberal Logic….we should be able to Hold every Judge Accountable for any and and all Violent Crimes a Criminal commits after a Judge as let him or her Plea Bargain a deal, gave them Parole, Bond or Probation. Come to think of it this might be a GREAT Idea don’t ya think?

  23. avatar Steve says:

    The Brady bunch work hard to disarm the victims making it easier for their so called “gun violence” to happen then use it to disarm more people to make more victims. How about holding them responsible as accessories for shootings in gun free zones?

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