Milwaukee’s Badger Guns [owner Adam Allan, above] sells legal products legally. Some of their customers use their legally purchased firearms illegally. And? People who buy cars legally sometimes use the car illegally (e.g., drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter). That simple logic and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act should keep anyone from prosecuting or suing a Federal Firearms Licensee for a criminal act involving a gun legally purchased from a commercial gun dealer. And so it has. Except where it hasn’t. Specifically, Badger Guns . . .
In 2010, former police officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch sued Badger Guns and its predecessor, Badger Outdoors, for selling a firearm to the criminal who gunned them down. The civilian disarmament folks at the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence joined the case, providing financial and legal support. For some reason, the case has been allowed to proceed. The trial was scheduled to begin Monday and last three weeks. And then . . .
A long-awaited trial pitting two wounded Milwaukee police officers against the gun store that sold the weapon used to shoot them has been delayed after attorneys from a national gun control group posted information online that the judge had ruled inadmissible . . .
Milwaukee County Judge Jeffrey Conen on Monday allowed attorneys Jonathan Lowy and Alla Lefkowitz of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to withdraw from the case . . .
Conen ordered Brady to pay $800 to Milwaukee County, the cost of paying 100 jurors who were called for jury selection for half a day. It was an extra large pool, more than double what judges typically summon.
The Brady attorneys agreed to leave the case after it was disclosed that the organization posted information over the weekend that Conen had ruled inadmissible. Brady has since taken down the information in question, and it was not disclosed in open court. Conen discussed the matter off the record with attorneys in his chambers before coming into open court and making brief comments on the record, according to a transcript.
What “information” did the Bradys divulge? Not specified.
As part of jsonline.com’s “wiped clean” Watchdog series (“For two years, the Journal Sentinel has investigated how Congress has created special rules for gun stores that protect even the biggest sellers of guns to criminals”) the paper’s most recent story reveals that the Judge in the case upbraided Brady’s lawyers for the breach.
In court Monday, [Judge] Conen admonished Lowy for the conduct and ordered the lawyers not to discuss any more of the materials in public “contrary to the laws of ethics or the rules of ethics in the state of Wisconsin.”
“I don’t how things are practiced in Washington, D.C., or New York or anywhere else, but out here in the Midwest we have certain rules. … This is something that cannot be done, and it cannot be done through surrogates,” Conen said, according to the transcript. “The whole idea is to have a fair trial for absolutely everyone.”
Unless the remaining lawyer can prove criminal negligence, Badger Guns will most likely walk away from this debacle. But not before their reputation has been impugned and their business threatened. [h/t JP]