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Badger Guns (courtesy

“A Milwaukee County jury reached a verdict in the Badger Guns civil trial on Tuesday afternoon, October 13th,” reports. It ruled Badger Guns was negligent in selling the gun that was used to seriously injure two Milwaukee police officers.” How’s that you ask? “The lawsuit alleges the store was negligent and should’ve spotted clear warning signs that the gun was being sold to a ‘straw buyer,” or someone who was buying the gun for someone who couldn’t legally do so.” And the bottom line [via] is . . .

Jurors in Milwaukee County have ordered Badger Guns to pay almost $6 million to Officer Bryan Norberg and now-retired Officer Graham Kunisch, who were both shot in the face while in the line of duty in 2009.

Badger Guns was also previously called Badger Outdoors, and at times was the No. 1 seller of firearms used in crimes in the U.S. — moving 537 guns that were recovered from crime scenes in 2005 alone, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Norberg and Kunisch weren’t the only members of the police force injured by a gun bought at Badger: Between 2007 and 2009, six Milwaukee cops were hurt by guns sold by Badger Guns or Badger Outdoors, according to the suit.

Kunisch himself was shot several times by a gun-toting bicyclist in a 2009 attack, losing an eye and suffering a brain injury. He had to retire from the police department, he said.

Jurors on Tuesday ordered Badger to pay him $3.6 million, Norberg $1.5 million, plus another $730,000 in punitive damages.

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    • It wont be overturned. This is a pretty clear case of a shop screwing up. (I am trying to find the video of the sale that I saw the other day, will post a link when I do.) It is very clear that the person actually filling out the 4473 was not the person buying the firearm and is being coached by the individual who ended up with the firearm (and shot the cops) The whole thing stank of a straw purchase and had this taken place in my store, they both would have been out on the street so fast their heads would spin.

      The problem that I have with this is that the media is dancing with joy over this, thinking that its gonna have some huge impact on FFL holders when really all that happened is that one store screwed up.

      • It wont be overturned. This is a pretty clear case of a shop screwing up. (I am trying to find the video of the sale that I saw the other day, will post a link when I do.)

        So, there was an arrest, prosecution, and conviction for the FFL unlawfully, knowingly engaging in a straw purchase?

        It is very clear that the person actually filling out the 4473 was not the person buying the firearm and is being coached by the individual who ended up with the firearm (and shot the cops)

        “Coaching” != “Straw Purchase”. Coaching can be a perfectly legitimate activity, especially for a new purchaser.

        If this was such a slam-dunk straw purchase, then the FFL needs to be prosecuted. Until then, it’s all so much hot air.

        • Civil liability = preponderance of the evidence shows negligence. Criminal Liability = beyond a reasonable doubt that the evidence shows a crime.

          Defending guns shops like this makes us look bad. Those of us that are law abiding (yes, I’m talking to the 99.9% of us) shouldn’t care that these guys were found negligent. I have two LGS that I shop from and I’m sure neither would have gone through with this sale.

          If I’m not mistaken, the shop was shut down at least one time by the ATF for making these kinds of sales.

        • Civil liability = preponderance of the evidence shows negligence. Criminal Liability = beyond a reasonable doubt that the evidence shows a crime.

          If there was a law broken here, I want the LGS prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

          As for civil liability for negligence: negligence of what, exactly? Where is the preponderance of the evidence that the LGS knew that the eventual recipient would use the firearm to commit a crime?

          Is the LGS supposed to profile customers, now?

        • Chip…given that you haven’t seen any of the evidence, know the law (yes the law), understand the jury instructions (how to apply the law), aren’t you jumping to a lot of conclusions? I wasn’t sitting in the courtroom to hear each side of the case (which is what objectivity requires), but it’s clear that 12 people that were selected by both litigants made this decision.

          And no, gun stores are not supposed to profile. They are not allowed to enable crimes to be committed though. The shop was shut down by the ATF and the straw purchaser was convicted of a crime.

          Feel free to reply about something that doesn’t matter. I’m moving on…

        • The only conclusion to which I’m jumping is that if the straw purchase was so obvious as to expose the LGS to civil liability, then it was obvious enough for the LGS to be prosecuted for violating the law.

          Otherwise, an LGS who makes a lawful sale to a purchaser (even if the purchaser is making an unlawful purchase) does not “enable” a crime.

        • Preponderance is a much lower burden of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt, so there’s nothing unusual about a plaintiff prevailing in a civil action even though there’s no criminal prosecution of the defendant. And of course there are even cases where the defendant is prosecuted for a criminal offense, acquitted by a criminal jury, but later found liable by a civil jury presented with the same set of facts in evidence, the Brown family prevailing in the OJ Simpson wrongful death civil trial is a perfect example. Good thing your gig is pharmaceuticals Chip, that know it all obstinance generally makes for a really $#itty civil or criminal defense attorney, however, hard headed inflexibility is an attribute quite common with career prosecutors.

      • This case is not about just one FFL. It is about establishing precedence for ultimately suing gun manufacturers. Eventually, manufacture and possessions of guns will be illegal. And yes, there will be mandatory confiscation. And then the fun begins.

        • The problem with suing the manufacturer for this would be that it would have to knowingly sell the guns to someone they shouldn’t legally be selling to.

          The ATF hasn’t pulled their FFL so why should any manufacturer question beyond that?

          As far as this place? 537 guns used in crimes for ONE year alone? And being the #1 position for the most used in crimes in ALL of the United States?

          They’re OBVIOUSLY not doing something right.

          Defend their actions all you want but this is the kind of things that do NOT help our cause and only serve to give Anti-Gunners ammunition and some people here seem more than happy to help them load up.

          With so called friends like this, who needs Bloomberg? They’re doing his work for him.

        • As far as this place? 537 guns used in crimes for ONE year alone? And being the #1 position for the most used in crimes in ALL of the United States?

          They’re OBVIOUSLY not doing something right.

          How many total firearms sales did this LGS conduct, in that year?
          How many total firearms were used in crimes in that area, in that year?
          How many of those 537 firearms were used by the purchaser to commit the crime?
          How many of those 537 firearms were straw purchases, used by the straw-purchase recipient, to commit the crime?
          How many of those 537 firearms were stolen before being possessed by the person who committed the crime?
          How many of those 537 firearms were re-sold illegally before being possessed by the person who committed the crime?
          How many other LGS are in the area?
          What percentage of firearm sales does this LGS have, in the area?

          There are many places, especially near liberal cesspools like Chicago and Milwaukee, where LGS are few and far between. That a single LGS would be sourced is nothing more than a function of supply, demand, and lack of competition. Without some context, there’s no way to know if that number is meaningful or not.

        • To recognize the far meaning (implication) of this case is not the same as endorsing the defendants. Am point-out that even if this case is reversed on appeal, it sets precedent. As noted on this blog, the feds already can hold corporations liable for the acts of their franchisees, making franchisees de facto employees. Dealers (whatever the product) are essentially franchisees. Connect the dots.

    • I feel like we had a post on this case recently, but searching yielded nothing. If I remember right, the buyer initially put the wrong address on the form and answered that he was a straw purchaser on 11a.

      I’m hard pressed to call this a bad result. With those mistakes, pausing the sale is prudent until you can confirm what the intention is.

      • IIRC, the guy checked the wrong box on “the gun is for someone else” and then put in the address of the guy he was straw-buying for.

        The details in this case are pretty ugly. The verdict is problematic in its further implications, but not out of this world for the specific case.

        • IIRC, the guy checked the wrong box on “the gun is for someone else” and then put in the address of the guy he was straw-buying for.

          Question 11a is the only question in that section that gets checked “YES” in a lawful sale. Every other question is checked “NO” in a lawful sale. Just a guess, but this purchaser was probably not the first person to check “NO” for 11a. The vast majority of the time, that error is innocent and inadvertent. Making that mistake, and then correcting it, probably doesn’t raise too many red flags.

          Likewise putting in an incorrect address. People’s addresses change all the time.

          FFLs are not clairvoyant. It is not their job to use ESP to determine when someone is committing a felony by untruthfully completing a Form 4473.

        • “The verdict is problematic in its further implications…”

          I watched last night as CBS’ chief liberal Democrat mouthpiece Scott Pelley nearly danced with glee at the announcement of this jury decision. I’m sure he, along with many other grabbers, now thinks they are on the road to open season toward suing out of existence every seller of a gun that ends up being used in a crime.

        • Oh absolutely. I probably should have said industry.

          Incrementalism. The deepest pockets are always the ultimate goal.

        • If you’re running a LGS you need to profile the hell out of people. If you don’t profile your going to raise your chances of getting involved in a weapon you sold to an individual being traced back to your shop. And before you go in to being sued for discrimination…blah blah.. Fine sue me for discrimination and as soon as the judge see’s the case involves guns he/she is going toss it out as fast as he/she can. Even the ATF prefers FFL’s to “profile” even though they will never admit it. (The current administration would love every gun sale not to happen or if it does, the sale goes to a wealthy left leaning caucasian democrat) Heck you could have an ATF agent monitoring your store for the day and you could deny every black/hispanic individual all day long and the ATF agent will give you a pat on the back followed by a keep up the good work. Does profiling suck? Yes! Does profiling work? Yes! Does profiling protect your FFL license? Oh hell yes!

          Unfortunately it’s the truth.

        • He didn’t just put in the wrong address. He put in the address of the person he was buying the gun for – the guy literally standing behind his shoulder. How often do you accidentally put your friend’s address in a 4473?

          Between that and him not checking the box “I’m buying it for myself”, it would have been one hell of a coincidence.

          Oh, and you’re incorrect when you say that 11a is the only box where you check “yes” for a lawful sale. Non-resident aliens (this means anyone without a green card) also check 11k and 12.

      • Crystal balls are so fake and yesterday. The best method I have found for getting in someones head to really see if it’s wired up right is a Vulcan Mind Meld.

  1. No way this holds up on appear, feels over reals yet again in our lovely judicial system. Without specific evidence they aint got squat.

    • I watched a jury once completely and flagrantly ignore the judge’s instructions because, even tho they found no negligence on the fault of the defendant (a grocery store), no violation of a duty of care on the defendant’s part, no liability for any of the plaintiff’s injuries on the defendant’s part, they still wanted the defendant to pay the plaintiff’s medical bills, just because, well, it’s a business, they have more money to spare than the poor plaintiff. It kind of soured my outlook on the jury system, at least in civil cases.

        • Well no shit, it’s the 12 dumbest people who couldn’t come up with an excuse to not serve jury duty.

        • @Publius Then isn’t that a good reason for we, the People of the Gun and general logic-users, make sure that we get and stay on juries? This way we can make sure the entire jury isn’t completely full of morons and hang it if the other 11 are idiots?

        • jury duty can be a career-ender.

          once had county and federal jury duty in the same month. the county trial lasted one day. the federal case lasted 11 days. my boss questioned my absence, asking, “couldn’t you get out of it?” (knowing i had no legal/valid exemption). the jury selection was very long (went beyond 11days, but i had concerns about my job (daily emails from boss asking when i would be back at work). finally, i was deposed/interviewed by the lawyers. by that time i was beyond frustrated, fearful for my job. but, by the time i was interviewed i was able to notify both defense and prosecution that i was truly prejudiced; believing if a jury was being selected, the defendant was probably guilty, and noting that the feds were investigating my company (which they were), and i was distrustful of the government’s ability to be objective. both attorneys wanted to challenge for cause. was dismissed from the pool. three weeks after returning to work i was released from my job. connection? no proof, but what do they say about coincidences?

      • That mindset is not isolated to civil trials. In all too many criminal trials, the jury is motivated by the desire that “someone must pay”. There is also the notion that the jury cannot spend all that time (even a single day, and not find someone guilty, especially after so much tax money has been spent on getting to the trial.

        • “The jury [in a criminal case] is of a mindset that ‘someone must pay’ …” Yes, I agree, in regard to most felonies. Based on my personal experience as a prosecutor, I can tell you that the mindset in most misdemeanors, and especially so in DWI’s, goes more like, “Hell, that guy could be me…” and/or ‘Why are we bothering with this”.

        • Oh boy. One of my favorite rants – drunk drivers. I have long agitated for mandatory sentencing in drunk driving situations. Second offense, no trial; jail time. Serious injury; attempted murder. Death; depraved indifference murder. Might not stop the serial offenders immediately, but the message to the jurors just might. Way back when, Connecticut implemented mandatory one year in jail for first DWI conviction. Accidents involving alcohol dropped 50% the next year.

        • Connecticut implemented mandatory one year in jail for first DWI conviction.

          I don’t know where you are getting that. It’s only a 45 day license suspension for the first two offenses. On the third offense it’s a license revocation, which you can get back after two years. There is no jail time. You don’t even get jail after three vehicular manslaughters.

        • Way back. About 1960, if I remember my one law class correctly. Didn’t keep up with it after. Point being draconian laws can have a huge effect. In one state where i lived in the 70s, a person was not required by law to have a driver’s license as a pre-req to driving. Didn’t require a license to obtain auto insurance. In one major city, a 5x convicted DWI driver (without a license) ran over and killed 5 people on a sidewalk. That finally generated the heat to pass a law prohibiting driving an automobile without a license. Did nothing to increase the penalties for multiple DWI convictions…”that could be me” still ruled people’s thinking. Have never seen/read about a situation where a drunk driver accidentally occupied the driver’s seat, inadvertently started the car, unintentionally put the car in “drive”, and without noticing put the car onto a street. Given all deaths and injuries involving drunk drivers begin with the intentional decision to operate a car, the effect of killing/injuring another should be considered a felony; attempted murder. That might deter a few, or more, from wanting to gamble on a jury that will fail to convince “because that could be me”.

        • Juries are meant to serve as a brake upon the government. When laws or their implentation are unjust or unneeded, every juror has the right and the duty to vote not guilty. A juror has no obligation to follow a judges instructions. His vote is a matter of his conscience and nothing else. Personally I would never vote to convict on any weapons or drug charges and very few drunk driving charges. Drunk driving laws are written at the behest of a lobby and the average person has no ability to know if he is breaking them or not. To be charged with drunk driving the standard require the state to prove impairment and the person must have caused harm to a 3rd party.

        • The civil trial is not a government initiative, thus the jury provides no “block” to the government. The issue is juries looking to “punish” someone, especially the so-called “deep pockets”. Same mindset prevails in those trials where the government is prosecuting. Juries do not actually act as a brake on government because juries want to generally have someone take the fall. (Let’s not get to OJ and other rare events where the government was thwarted). Don’t discount that lawyers pick jurors who can be most easily manipulated, not be the most objective trier of fact.

          In the beginning, the “jury of peers” meant the local (small) community, people who had same/similar employment, same/similar religious beliefs, same/similar neighborhood. People who knew the defendant, or were like the defendant is most aspects. That was the buffer….convince a group of skeptical people most like the defendant that the defendant did something unlike what other members of the jury would do/have done. Now, a jury of peers is simply a random selection of people unable to escape the jury pool dragnet.

        • “Second offense, no trial; jail time.”

          If you don’t have a trial, how exactly do you propose determining the validity of evidence etc?

      • I served on two juries; one just before I went to law school, and one when I was a practicing lawyer. I may serve on another next summer — we shall see.

        The both times I served, I thought that the juries did a very good job. It actually enhanced my respect for what is a very flawed system.

        • The one jury I served on had the good sense to elect me as foreman. So there is that. We got a conviction after I brought everyone else around to my way of thinking.

        • Sorry, Ralph, but the one time I let a lawyer on one of my juries, he screwed up what should have been a slam-dunk case: the defendant’s story was completely at odds with the physical evidence and the testimony of doctors and EMT’s ( which evidence also did in fact support the state’s case); even more annoying, the guy started embellishing his story on the stand, flagrantly making up stuff as he went along and getting caught at it. But the doggone lawyer convinced the rest to let him off. Yes, I do know it happened, judge gave me to understand later how I goofed.

        • So any time a guy happens to bring a buddy with him when he’s picking up a new gun, the FFL has to assume this is a straw purchase and forbid the transaction?

        • Just to clarify, the ruling is BS thought crime since no law was broken. Just pointing out how the jury got steered to its verdict.

        • Mark, I wouldn’t say that every time a guy brings a buddy with him to the gun store it should be assumed to be a straw purchase, but if he puts down the other guy’s address and checks the wrong box on the “are you a straw purchaser” question, and the buddy is the one who picked out the gun, the store clerk probably ought to start suspecting something shady is going on.

        • my brother paid for my first pistol, he was standing next to me buying his first rifle(while not actually the first guns we owned, they where the first we bought) and we where coaching each other through the process so by that logic neither of us would have been able to buy our first guns. sidenote: i still carry that all metal 1911, metal cause if you use all 7 rounds at least i can still whack someone with it 😉

        • >> and we where coaching each other through the process

          So when you were coaching each other, did your brother point at a gun and say “this is the one I want” – and then you proceeded to tell the gun owner that it is the one that you want?

          Did you also put his address down instead of yours when filling the form for your gun (assuming that you live at different addresses, as was the case here)?

          There was not one point on which the jury concluded that any reasonable person would have known it’s a straw purchase, but three: the guy initially checked the box indicating he’s not buying the gun for himself, he put the address of the other’s guy where he was supposed to put down his, and said other guy pointed at the gun they were buying and said “I want this one” (all recorded on video). A single point would likely not be enough, but three? For a civil suit (which only needs preponderance of evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt) it’s plenty.

        • A single point would likely not be enough, but three?

          So you agree with the .gov rules about restricting firearms ownership, and about trying to force people to fill out a questionnaire and force the seller to divine the intentions of the buyer? That happens with no other product. Michigan lawmakers have proposed a new law whereby if I accidentally show my gun in certain circumstances I become a felon. And you’re okay with infringing on the rights of citizens, despite the wording “shall not be infringed.”

          Who is the problem here? i submit it is you.

      • What if the other guy was his room mate? What if the other guy loaned him the cash for the purchase?
        The straw buyer law is not the burden of the gun shop. It is a stupid Leftist feel good law that relies on the honor system.
        Know what else? 99% of firearms used in a crime were bought from a gun store. The gun store is not the problem.

  2. AS someone who has witnessed a straw purchase(at Cabelas) I get it. I hope they win on appeal BUT gun dealers need to get their shite together. Don’t bother debating me-I don’t care.

    • Cabelas? Really? The one time I purchased a firearm from them, I thought I was going to die of old age. Never again.

      • Yeah Cabelas really-4 boys with pants on the ground walk in. They all look at pistols. One separates to buy it. I spotted another counting a LARGE stack of bills in the shotgun ammo aisle. Homie buys gun, walks out and is joined by his buddies. I notified the old fart behind the counter and he said”really-I’ll look into that”. Having spent lots of time in the ghetto I calls ’em as I sees ’em. Cabelas/Hammond.Indiana…with a large client base from nearby GARY. Yeah they are SLOW-but I’ve gotten lots of deal there…and they have real layaway(and some great deals on Black Friday).

        • At my LGS, it takes from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the volume of calls the dealer has ahead of me.
          Cabela’s An hour or more, usually more. I only buy a gun there if it’s on sale etc. I like that they give 5% discount for veterans. I bought a new AR there for under $500 with all the discounts.

        • The Cabelas nearest to me in Allen, TX has some pretty good deals in the used cases, and generally is as fast/slow as any other gun store for processing paperwork, aside from Friday evenings and weekends during sales or just prior to dove and deer season. My last find was a Tristar C-100 (CZ-75 compact clone) in .40S&W for $290 that looked unfired. I also happened across a 9MM M&P CORE with an RM-05 dot on it for $750, an STI Tactical 4.0 9MM for $1100, and several others.

          I do agree, their new gun prices, outside of sales and promotional events, aren’t that great.

        • So you live in the Hammond area? I was born and raised in Hammond, moved to Highland as an adult, but live in Michigan now. Still visit “the Region” often.

    • I agree completely. My friends store is out in the woods. That seems to make people believe they have a better chance of getting away shady stuff. I have been in there many times and heard “I have to make a quick call to so and so, ” or “let me run out to my car and ask my boyfriend/husband real quick.” As soon as he feels something is wrong, he starts asking questions. If they can’t answer, sale is over.

  3. Wonder if they even bothered to sue the “straw seller”? Seems to me that’s where the liability lies. Oh yeah, and the guy the pulled the trigger. Almost forgot about that guy.

      • Straw buyers provide a valuable service to the political powers that be. So no. Unless they aren’t on the doe, then hammer drops.

      • An FBI agent was convicted of straw buying for his uncle in order to get the LEO factory discount on his uncle’s Glock or Smith, I forget which. The uncle was not a prohibited buyer, so the conviction was purely for misstating 4473 paperwork.

        • Abramski was actually a Roanoke police officer, not FBI, and he was scum anyway. He planned to murder other cops from several different agencies, he stole money during a robbery call, and he robbed a bank at gunpoint (even firing shots in the bank). The idiot then went to a gun store and bought some guns and ammo and paid for them with money he took out of the lettered bank bag the teller handed to him!

  4. It’s a tort attorney’s jamboree! Stand by for the suits against General Motors, Ford, Toyota and every other car made in the USA.

    Cue the swimming pool installers and ladder vendors. It’s open season on personal responsibility.

      • “CADE. I thank you, good people- there shall be no money; all shall
        eat and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one
        livery, that they may agree like brothers and worship me their
        DICK. The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

        First thing we do, let’s recognize that the politicians are worse, on average, than your run-of-the-mill attorney.

        • Most politicians are lawyers, I’ve noticed. There are some exceptions, examples of which escape my recall at the moment, but by and large, most members of the congress and senate are lawyers, or at least went to law school.

      • William Shakespeare didn’t say that, one of his characters, Dick the Butcher did, in Henry VI, and he didn’t mean it the way you do. Dick was a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who believed he could become King of England by causing a breakdown in law and order and society. Dick’s suggestion was as a necessary first step to causing the breakdown of society, because lawyers and judges are two of the supporting pillars on which our civilization stands.

  5. I wish that I could say that it will be overturned. I expect that the Feds will now step in and revoke the FFL for the store. SWAT team to seize his inventory next.

    • You know after the cops come in and steal seize everything, they will later find out the reason so many firearms are missing is due to poor records in the evidence department and the fact that some firearms were destroyed. Naturally no cop would EVER take something that didn’t belong to them.

  6. OK, dunno what the facts or evidence shows. But it occurs to me that, even if you concede that the seller goofed by selling to a straw buyer, that doesn’t mean that the seller had any reason to believe that the “real” buyer might use the gun to go out and shoot a cop. I can’t see how this could hold up on appeal.

  7. The business owner can’t win. Thugs come in pants around their asses looking at the hi-points, you give them any lip and you’re discriminating. You sell them a gun, and you’re more guilty than the clown who pulled the trigger.

    • Really, show me that case. C’mob – they had to direct the straw purchaser how to fill out the 4473 correctly. Comments like this make responsible (I assume we all legally purchased our firearms…).

      Commenters really should look at the facts behind this decision and not base it off this one article. When you look at the series of articles beyond this these guys were more interested about moving product than obeying the law (again, we should abide by the law correct?).

      • Do you know how many 4473’s I’ve seen get filled out incorrectly? A bunch. And I don’t work in a gun store, just enjoy checking them out sometimes. Sometimes talking a customer through it saves everyone time and headache. Not everyone is as brilliant as you’d like them to be.

        • Tfunk,

          I’ve purchased several guns but usually months or years apart. I love that the clerks at my local gun store walk me through the 4473 application and double check my information like you said it saves a lot of headaches. I move a lot and have incorrectly entered zip codes or even addresses.

        • What sort of mistake would cause the “buyer” to put down his buddy’s home address instead of his own? That’s a difficult error to explain away.

        • uuuhhhmmm, like, you know, like i just finished putting my buddy’s address in my smart phone contacts list, and just had a brain fart.

  8. This is rediculous. It had better be overturned.
    No gun store would be able to afford insurance to cover that kind of decision.
    It’s too bad the firearms industry as a whole won’t band together in a way that would make it impossible for Milwaukie P.D. to ever buy another firearm from any manufacturer.

  9. I wonder if the NAACP would have sued the store for discrimination for refusing purchases to “gentlemen” of a certain color or disposition.

  10. The ATF shut the place down for a claimed long list of bad behaviors. But this case was not one of them and there were no criminal charges that I’ve heard about. So, if the store broke the law on Straw Buyers, somebody should have been arrested and prosecuted. I do not trust the ATF, but am not too happy to hear how many guns got traced from crime scenes back to one store either. Something’s not right there.

    If there was no such evidence of a crime adequate to make an arrest, then it’s just some scuzbag criminal buyer pulling a fast one on a store clerk. That makes the store one of the victims, not one of the evil doers.

    But this was a civil case. Not a criminal case. The burden of proof is a whole lot easier when it it’s just about chasing dollars.

    Guess we’ll see how this plays out on appeal.

    • There may not have been enough evidence for a criminal conviction but enough for a civil suit since the burden of proof is lower for a civil case then it is for a criminal… at least in WI

    • It is useful to work in a gun store, or get to know the owner/staff real well. You will learn about ATF (and really big explosions) audits. Simple lesson is that any deviation is recorded as a “violation”. That includes cursive when the form requires print, wrong date order (or just wrong date corrected), misspelling anything anywhere, any inadvertent entry that is incorrect and remains so or is corrected, and a whole host of things that have nothing to do with controlling inventory and sales. That makes it easy to publicise that “gun store X received notice of 50 (or any number) violations of federal laws regarding the sale and keeping for firearms for sale.” Gives federal prosecutors grounds to preempt a state jurisdiction, or provided unassailable grounds in federal court that the gun store is/was a habitual lawbreaker.

    • I don’t know Badger Guns, nor the place in southern Cook County, IL that Father Pfleger is always harping about. But it stands to reason that any gun store located near a high crime, gang infested area is going to get a lot of straw buyer traffic.

      Whether they should have refused this particular purchase, I don’t know. But citing a statistic about the number of crime guns traced to a store tells us more about the store’s location than about their business ethics.

    • Enuf,

      There will always be stores that trace a lot of weapons purchased from them. Chicago has three stores that are high volume and hava lot of guns traced back to them. Why? Because of the Chicago anti gun laws the stores are outside of Chicago but are the closest to the city. Now that the gun bans are lifted in Chicago guess were people exercising their rights go? Yep those three gun shops that are closest to the city. If they closed down the next three closest stores would be the major trace for guns in crimes. So whether the guns are stolen or straw buyers are purchasing for gang bangers it should not be the stores fault.

      Additionally I’ve bought a several guns with friends or my wife standing next to me and have made mistakes on the 4473. I prefer that my local gun stores clerk now walks me through the form and doubles checks my information. I move a lot and tend to put in old addresses or wrong zip codes. None of which make me a straw buyer

  11. A couple of tidbits left out of RF’s summary:

    1) both men were present in the store and the straw purchaser pointed to a gun in the case saying “That’s the one I want”.

    2) the purchaser initially put that he was not buying the gun for himself on the 4473. The gun store clerk “helped” him correct that mistake.

    3) the purchaser initially put the straw purchaser’s address on the 4473. The gun store clerk “helped” him correct that mistake.

    4) they both left to get more cash to buy the gun.

    You can find all this with a simple Google search or try the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s article (

    I’m as big on gun rights as the next guy, but if a gun store clerk can’t figure something is up given all of the above then they should find another line of work. I say the verdict was the correct one. We don’t need gun store’s like this one supplying guns to criminals.

  12. Always bullshit when someone goes after the business with the perceived money instead of the guy that pulled the trigger. But blame shifting seems to be one of the common lawyer tricks in today’s world. Sad thing is that they often get away with it. And of course the rest of us eventually pay for the settlement. Higher insurance costs for the gun dealers which will be passed on in the form of higher prices for everything they sell. Too bad that the courts don’t throw these kinds of lawsuits out. But I suppose the liberal judges think this is really just another way to restrict gun purchases.

  13. I’m curious just how much liability insurance costs for a typical gun shop.
    And how much it will cost next year.

    • “I’m curious just how much liability insurance costs for a typical gun shop.”

      The shops I have worked at self-insure.

      They also made a serious effort to operate fully above board.

      They needed to since they were (and still are) pawn shops in addition to being an FFL.

      Local law enforcement a few times a year sends people in to see if they are making buys off-book and other such shenanigans…

  14. What was the jury smoking before they came up with that verdict? I hope the gun shop appeals that decision. Besides selling guns, I guess they should have a crystal ball there also, an maybe a fortune teller to give a reading, before they sell someone a gun.

  15. In many states, an appellant may be required to post a bond equal to the amount of the judgment in order to appeal. It may not be easy for the defendant in this case to come up with a $6 million bond.

      • it is interesting that in an attempt to appease the public and reduce frivolous law suits, one group of lawyers managed to damage the livelihood of another group. A big law firm or company can sue anyone for anything, get a judgement, then because the appeal process requires a huge ransom, the loser in the case is ruined and left with no recourse. The tactic is for a law firm to run-up incredible (and suspect) legal expenses, claim appeal will be more costly, and dare the appellant to try to challenge.

        law is a crooked game, run by a crooked house, depending on the fact “….there is a sucker born every minute.”

  16. Before the 2 a year rule had several officers in Charleston supplementing income. Sorry you can’t tell me that Lawmans Supply did not know a deputy buying 6 assorted Glock blue label at a time is personal use. I actually bought one at LE price since he had all the G30’s & restock was going to be 3 months. Did make sure ATFE knew about his side business

  17. I thought it was a crime to be a straw buyer?

    Now it’s a crime to be scammed by one? So, being lied to convincingly and not figuring it out is a crime?

  18. When the gun dealer wins on appeal, I wonder if they will donate legal fees to a gun charity like that other company did?

  19. If the gun store knew (not just “should’ve known”) that the purchase was indeed bogus, they deserve to lose. If they didn’t know, they’re innocent.

    I have no problem with any gun store that knew (that can be proved in a court of law) that the purchase was bogus but went along with it anyways getting strung up. We can’t argue against gun control laws but then fail to obey the laws currently on the books. When we do that, we sink our own ship. It’s like complaining that a canoe leaks when you’re the one shooting holes in it with your own shotgun. You can’t undermine something but then claim it don’t work when you’re contributing to its failure.

  20. Bought my first gun there many years ago at age 21. I traded it back to them as payment for an upgrade months later. There were always the same guys hanging around the counter. This time they were trying to pay me more than the trade in value, almost original new price. I declined but naively asked them why they wouldn’t just buy a new gun. One confided that they couldn’t buy one “the regular way”

    This store has always been shady, I shot there from time to time for years, but it got to be uncomfortably ghetto. Maybe I just became more suburban.

    I don’t know the specifics of this case, but I don’t think the store is wearing a halo here.

  21. I have to assume they knowingly made a sale to a person they were well aware they should not. If this was the case, then they screwed up and deserve to get slapped.

    • If Badger acted irresponsibly (truly irresponsibly) the ATF would have shut them down, the DOJ would file criminal charges. (maybe they will, now). The problem here is that the gun store was not the real target. This is the lead case is ultimately making gun manufacturers responsible for all their dealers (hhhmmmm, GM?) actions, and ultimately responsible for any bad act committed with a gun. The left claims the gun industry is the only commercial enterprise not totally responsible for misuse of a legal product. Most people do not connect one government event with another (except us former feds do). The ruling by the Federal Labor Relations Board that parent companies of franchises are responsible for how the franchisee operates, essentially making franchisees employees. That concept provides foundation for making manufacturers responsible for every action of a buyer of their products. Might not be obvious, but the government is hell-bent on ridding the nation of automobiles. A case linking gun manufacturers to dealers means automobile dealers (and ultimately the manufacturers [foreign manufacturers beware]) will be held liable for bad acts by automobile owners and operators. Bye-the-bye, lawyers do not think, they react. The possibility of suing large corporations for misuse of products will have them salivating, disregarding the larger picture and shepherding in a titanic change in society.

  22. I was against this verdict at first (and still do not like holding dealers responsible for the wrong doings of others) but there are always two sides to every story and well, “Badger Guns… moving 537 guns that were recovered from crime scenes in 2005 alone” is absolutely crazy. I think they knew damn well what was going on. How could you not? If I owned a store that had that many guns recovered in crimes, I’d move my business or shut down.

    • Traced guns mean nothing, Ala Chicago where the closest gun stores to the city have the most guns traced. Why? because they are closest to the criminals, whether through theft or straw purchases criminals get guns. As long as a store is in compliance and the 4473 and background check clears the store shouldn’t be held liable. Unless the fbi is going to place criminal profiles in all stores I don’t expect the vendor of a legal product to have to guess the motives of their clientele. Just like I don’t expect gas station attendants to be doing sobriety checks or make sure the guy filling a gas can isn’t going to light a school bus om fire.

      If the stores employees can’t spot a straw purchaser maybe they can train employees more but that’s it.

      Chip Bennett comment says it all.

  23. If you research the story, the shop was dirty. They were going to be shut down a while back for making straw sells, the owner sold the business to his brother in law and became the “landlord.” These are the irresponsible idiots that give the rest of us a bad name. Screw em.

  24. The concept of prohibiting “straw purchases” is unconstitutional. The concept of “prohibited persons” is unconstitutional.

    People are responsible for their own actions. The criminal who used the weapon in the commission of a crime is solely responsible for the injuries caused by his firearm use.

  25. I dont think the store is liable but good grief, when you are the number one seller of guns used in crimes maybe you should retrain your staff. You are obviously totally inept and known to every criminal in the area. My guess is sales and money outweighed any common sense.

    • I dont think the store is liable but good grief, when you are the number one seller of guns used in crimes maybe you should retrain your staff.

      That’s quite a leap, and yields the narrative of “bad apple” gun dealers to the still-trying-to-be-relevant Brady Campaign.

      First, it assumes that the person who purchased the firearm either a) was the criminal who used the gun in the commission of a crime, or b) was a straw purchaser for the firearm. If the gun was transferred lawfully from the initial purchaser to the eventual criminal, then the FFL is entirely removed from the criminal.

      Second, isn’t this what we have the Great and Wonderful Background Checks for? Aren’t they supposed to filter out “prohibited persons” attempting to purchase firearms?

      Third, if the person who purchased the firearm passes a Great and Wonderful Background Check, on what grounds would the FFL then refuse the otherwise-lawful sale?

      Fourth, the person solely responsible for crimes committed using an inanimate object is the person committing the crimes – not the person who sold that person the inanimate object.

      • Read some of more in depth articles about this case that detail what actually occurred during the straw purchase. The straw purchaser checked “no” to the question of whether he was buying the gun for himself (the clerk “helped” him correct that mistake). The straw purchaser wrote down the address of his buddy instead of his own (the clerk also “helped” him correct that mistake).

        This store pretty obviously didn’t give a damn who they were selling guns to. As others have said, it’s stores like this that give law abiding gun owners a bad name.

  26. There used to be a gun dealer in San Leandro, near Oakland. Traders. I witnessed straw purchases in there repeatedly. I was just a browsing customer and I could spot them. Dude with prison ink talking his woman thru the purchase process step by step. Woman tells the grinning clerk what gun she wants to try and the clerk hands it to the dude.

    It was a trainwreck and the .gov shut them down. Sorta like stumbling drunk into a car dealers and having them give you the keys to your new purchase.

  27. I have mixed feelings about this case, obviously the ffl is a fucking scum bag and should be burned at the stake.

    How many guns where used in crimes at this location? As for the people here arguing the dealer can’t read minds, I’ll say this I don’t expect a dealer to be physic but I expect them not to be a dumb fuck.

    Part of me wants the dealer to loose everything.
    The only reason I give a spit about this case is the law it undermines.
    Gun grabbers think its evil that a manufacturer can’t get sued over the illegal use of their products.
    Yet do we Sue gm when a drunk persons runs us over.

    Do we Sue mcdonalds when we get fat?

    How about I Sue the manufacturer of my carpet for giving me nasty rug burn on my knees after banging my gf.
    True story me knees bleed for about 4 days.

  28. Reading through the comments, some have eluded to this gun store being shady. I do not know if that is true or not. The propaganda is so deep these days, it is difficult to know the truth anymore. Anyhow, if true, I certainly hope they spend the rest of their life in prison. But, if they dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s, if they followed the law, I am pretty certain they are going to win this lawsuit on appeal and they will likely get all of their money back for legal fees. See, if they did not break any laws, regardless of their intent, well, they haven’t broken any laws, which is probably why they aren’t in jail. In a Constitutional world, you cannot convict someone solely on intent. So, if they did not commit a crime, I am pretty sure that an appellate court will rule in their favor. Of course, some have argued that we have slid into a “post-constitutional” world, so who knows, all the rules may have changed.

    • ” In a Constitutional world, you cannot convict someone solely on intent. “

      To leftists, that’s exactly what should happen…so long as it applies only to their political enemies.

      Remember: “The nature of the evidence is irrelevant; it’s the seriousness of the charge that matters.”

      That’s the kind of words they live by.

  29. From what I’ve read, it was a bad gun store, knowingly allowing straw purchases. I don’t like the precedent it sets, but also believe that one bad store screws it up for us on a national level.

  30. Based on what has been reported in the comments – and I’m only assuming accuracy for the sake of discussion – my real question is why isn’t a criminal case being brought? Is there reason that this evidence would not be allowed? Is there an “agreement” with the DA or powers-that-be? I’d like to see an explanation on how “beyond a reasonable doubt” isn’t satisfied.

  31. I am as far right wing as they come, and from the video I saw, it was clear that the store knew or should have known that they were aiding and abetting a straw purchase.

    It would be like a 22 year old was at a grocery store buying a case of beer, with a 17 year old right next to him picking out the cases and then talking loudly in front of the clerks about how drunk they were going to get tonight.

  32. They’ll probably just liquidate in a way that hides their assets, re-incorporate and start over. It’s been done before.

    That being said, does anyone know of what happened to our straw purchasers? Were they ever implicated in a crime?


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