Family of Murdered Chicago Cop Sues ARMSLIST

Jonathan Lowy Brady

Jonathan Lowy, Vice President, Brady Legal Action Project (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

If at first you don’t succeed, sue, sue again. You may remember that ARMSLIST was the target of a Brady Campaign-backed lawsuit after a man shot up a Wisconsin beauty salon in 2012, killing his wife and two others. He’d bought the gun he used in the crime in a private transaction that had been advertised on ARMSLIST.

That long-running lawsuit was finally brought to a permanent end in November when the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Lower courts had already struck the case down, ruling that ARMSLIST is protect by provisions of Communications Decency Act because the online platform is functionally no different that any other seller of advertising.

Now, as the Chicago Sun-Times reports, the widow of a Chicago police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2018 has filed a similar suit against ARMSLIST.

Oh, and the Brady is behind this one, too.

The 9-millimeter Glock pistol that four-time felon Shomari Legghette allegedly used to kill Bauer in 2018 was sold by a Wisconsin man on Armslist.com, one of the nation’s largest online gun marketplaces.

According to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Milwaukee by Bauer’s wife, Erin, and the nonprofit gun control group Brady, the site negligently allowed sales of weapons without background checks, allowing Legghette to get his hands on the alleged murder weapon.

Why does the Brady Bunch think they’ll be any more successful with this exercise in lawfare quixotic attack on ARMSLIST than they were the last time? Your guess is as good as ours.

“We can’t know what would have happened if Armslist was not negligent…but we do know what did happen: someone who should not have had a gun was able to get one, and a police commander is dead,” Lowy said.

As you can imagine, the cost of fighting off this second attack by Brady, Inc. will be substantial. They’ve set up a web site — ARMSLIST Legal Defense Fund — and are accepting donations to help them cover the considerable legal expenses. If you’d like to help, click here.

comments

  1. avatar D says:

    The lawyer should be disbarred. This is why we say that 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name

    1. avatar Pete says:

      “99% of lawyers give the rest of us a bad name” 😛

    2. avatar BASHer says:

      This right here. Lawfare is a two way street and this would be a slam dunk. For all the posturing most lawyers are fully aware that they are part of a guild and the first rule of most guilds is not to disparage/expose the misdeeds of other members. Anybody here want to put in a word for an Atty in Illinois with the stones to eat one of his own as co-council?

      Secondly, I would hope that Armlist and their council having stood firm and emerged victorious once demand that the plaintiff post a bond prior to trial as their losing is foreordained and their ability to pay a judgement needs to be ascertained first.

  2. avatar BustaClays says:

    Does that mean someone inside that GOP tent that got ran through by the crazy dude could sue Autotrader if the crazy dude bought the car that way?

    This lawsuit sh&t is getting obnoxious.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Doctrine of precedent works both ways. Watch what happens when the PLCAA is repealed. Everyone from Ford and GM, to brewers and distillers, and anyone between them and the faulting customer will be a target for this kind of lawfare.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “Doctrine of precedent works both ways. Watch what happens when the PLCAA is repealed. Everyone from Ford and GM, to brewers and distillers, and anyone between them and the faulting customer will be a target for this kind of lawfare.”

        Preach it. For how many years were American tobacco companies sued and had the cases laughed out of court?

        And what’s happening now? *Billion*-dollar payouts.

        It’s the exact same playbook, except they are playing the long game…

        1. avatar Dude says:

          It’s a little different since the tobacco companies lied and hid information from the public.

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          harmfist did not secretly make any of the items in their ads more irresistabler or deadlierer.
          although i do keep going back to that vz58 ad over and over…

  3. avatar That Jason says:

    They’re hoping to get the case before a flipped Wisconsin Supreme Court. If the primary next week goes as feared, gun grabbing bench legislators will dominate the court.

    Also, election year.

    So I’d love to see the people saying gUn rIgHTs ArEn’T a PaRTy iSsUe defend this garbage. That’s all this is – dems trying to stir up Wisconsin to make sure Trump doesn’t win the state again.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      The Wisconsin Supreme Court can’t be flipped until 2022.

  4. avatar billy jack ho says:

    Armslist: “ARMSLIST is purely a service provider that allow sellers to list items. As such, ARMSLIST can not and will not be a party in transactions. It is the sole responsibility of the buyer and seller to conduct safe and legal transactions. ” So blame the guy selling the gun not armslist. if the Seller broke the law sue him.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      The seller didn’t break the law. Armslist didn’t break the law. I’m betting the FFL used to transfer the firearm (the only point of contact) didn’t break the law either.

      1. avatar CWT says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong but if you sell a handgun to a resident of another state don’t you have to do the transfer through an FFL? If that is the case the seller did in fact break the law.

        1. avatar CWT says:

          Was there and FFL involved? I’m betting not.

        2. avatar In for a penny, In for a pound says:

          The seller sold it to a Wisconsin resident, and then it ended up in the hands of the murderer. The original seller ended up getting three years for selling guns without a license. He tried to claim his schizophrenia was from Nam, and that made him addicted to selling guns.

        3. avatar Hannibal says:

          I was not familiar with the specifics of the case. Usually these sales require an FFL just by virtue of sales being out of state. So I guess some fault lies on the seller. But not murder.

        4. avatar LarryinTX says:

          If I find a guy with a gun I’d like to buy, how in hell am I supposed to know whether an FFL is required or not? How do you suppose I should CARE? And if someone wishes to buy a gun he sees that I have, why would I think an FFL is required? That has actually happened to me, BTW, decades back, and he gave me the money and I gave him the Python! I never liked the 6″, sold it for what I paid for it, then bought another 4″. The idea that everybody can be expected to know all manner of clearly unconstitutional laws seems really stupid, but I guess that’s just me.

    2. avatar George WashingtonGl says:

      You don’t go after the seller in this case…. it was a private transaction…. THE BUYER IS THE ONE WHO BROKE THE LAW….. NOT THE SELLER!!!!!

    3. avatar Wiregrass says:

      Face it. Whether the sale was legal and whether the seller is responsible for making sure the transaction is legal is irrelevant in this case. The lawyers are going for the money, and the Brady crew just want to make trouble for ARMSLIST.

  5. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Hey Brady Bunch it would just be easier to tape a target to a brick wall and bang your heads there.

  6. avatar Craig in IA says:

    “Why does the Brady Bunch think they’ll be any more successful with this exercise in lawfare quixotic attack on ARMSLIST than they were the last time? ”

    DUH- to force Armslist to spend money to defend itself… They don’t need a win, just spend them into bankruptcy. Same as what’s going on with the suits against NRA by Cuomo, et al. And, in the NRA case, to try to keep them out of being major $ players in the 2020 elections.

    1. Yes, see the mention of lawfare above.

    2. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

      And, if the plaintiffs lose, they can whine about the injustice just as the deadbeats who lost the Lucky Gunner lawsuit did, to try to convince gullible people that the law needs to be changed.

  7. avatar John Hull says:

    Armslist, far as I’m aware, has to ship the gun to a licensed FFL holder where the buyer lives. The receiving FFL was either lied to, or dropped the ball, but I doubt seriously that Armslist is at fault.

    1. avatar George WashingtonGl says:

      Huh

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Milwaukee and Chicago are pretty close to each other, and there is a train line that runs between them. Probably a private sale in Wisconsin.

      1. avatar Hillbilly says:

        Still he should of at least asked to see Wisconisin identification. It is still a “crime” to sell guns to another resident of a different state. Not sure if this is the case here.

      2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        and a border, which wouldn’t matter for a long gun.
        armslist doesn’t ship anything.

    3. avatar George WashingtonGl says:

      It was a private transaction…. so no ffl needed in a private sale….

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        (in most but not all states or D.C.).

      2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        handgun across state line=ffl.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          FFL cannot sell handguns across state lines. Can’t think why a private seller couldn’t.

    4. avatar Hillbilly says:

      This was a face to face transaction between private seller and buyer. Have you actually used Armslist?

    5. avatar Anymouse says:

      Armslist never had possession of the gun, so they never had to send it to anyone. They aren’t a dealer or manufacturer, so they aren’t protected by PLCAA. They are only an advertiser, like a community cork board at a church or grocery store. They shouldn’t lose the case, but they’ll have to pay attorneys for the trial and maybe appeals.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        As I see it, this would be a Section 230 case, and Armslist would be held not liable by reason of being a service that lists offerings by people only associated with Armslist by reason of using its services.
        So, yeah, everyone involved as a plaintiff or associate of the plaintiff is merely headbanging, as far as legality is involved (IANAL).
        However, as pointed out above, the real damages being sought is financial; Armslist will need to spend money to defend itself as this case winds through the courts, while the plaintiffs will rely on money through crowdfunding.
        As an added perk, also pointed out earlier, the publicity will attempt to point out that life isn’t fair, and someone needs to pay for that. A good start (they will say) is to change the law. Life needs to be fair!

  8. avatar Hannibal says:

    The law should be amended to include a provision that any party attempting to bring an action against such a company may be personally served by said company with notice that they are in violation of the act and will be responsible for not only their legal bills but any legal bills of the company should they be found to have violated the act. Don’t let them hide behind lawyers. And the lawyers should be disbarred.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      The law says that any way, and the plaintiffs lawyers have a duty to tell them that they could be on the hook for Armslist’s attorney’s feesand costs if they lose.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        Somehow I don’t trust the plaintiffs lawyers to fulfill that duty given that they also have a duty not to launch frivolous lawsuits.

    2. avatar Anymouse says:

      I think the law should be changed to put the plaintiff’s attorneys on the hook too. Brady attorneys skip off after a losing verdict and award of fees, and then find some other sucker to exploit for a losing case. The plaintiffs often can’t pay for defense fees, or there’s little consequence of not paying. The plaintiff’s attorneys should be prevented from practicing until the defense’s fees are paid. The PLCAA would also need to be expanded to include advertising since Armslist is neither a gun dealer nor manufacturer.

  9. avatar RedFlagRising says:

    Armslist is the go to place to receive 250 dollar offers on the Glock 19X you spent 500 for.

    And then be asked if youre willing to meet them in their town 100 miles away.

    And if you can throw in any ammo or extra mags.

    Armslist: where the balls are low, and the lowballers are lower.

    1. avatar donald P quasebarth says:

      It’s also the place where sellers list their used merchandise for msrp

    2. avatar George WashingtonGl says:

      If you don’t like the site, then don’t go there…geez… Pretty darn simple…
      I’ve actually found some skin smokin deals on Armslist….

    3. avatar Arc says:

      Great place to pick up all those panic buys. I learned the hard way on optics, I entertained selling one a while back and after seeing the used prices, I doubt I’ll ever buy new again.

      There is the worth price and valued price. When you pay “new” price, you pay “valued” price which is nowhere near what its “worth”. Safe queens all over the place that can be had for rock bottom price.

    4. avatar Combat Dachshund says:

      Armslist is also the place where people list Glock 19X’s with 1000 rounds through them at 600 FIRM because their wife says they have to sell them and this is a way of claiming they are trying while also making sure they never actually do.

      1. avatar RedFlagRising says:

        Armslist was great when it first came out, before it was flooded with neckbeards.

        You could list stuff and get serious local responses within a day or two, you could sell your stuff at a satisfactory price without tons of stupid offers to wade thru. The site was easy to use, you didnt have to register with them to use the email relay.

        Since the Obama Scare of 2013 it changed drastically. Highballer prices trying to sell, lowballers trying to buy and not much meeting in the middle. With all the popup ads, dealers/pawn shops pretending not to be, ATF honeypot operations, and genuinely shady characters pulling scams, their heyday has come and gone.

        Still sucks they are getting sued, but lawfare is the major component of anti gunners.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          the key is to buy. works great.
          why sell guns?

  10. avatar Ark says:

    They don’t give a crap about winning or losing. It’s about money and starvation. Brady is funded by billionaires, their goal is to spend Armslist out of business.

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    AND this dumbazz Chiraq po-leece captain ran after homie UNARMED. I guess Bauer thought him being a captain was a magic talisman. Funfact: ILLinois tied this felon to a bill to limit magazine’s to 10 rounds. I had a WTF moment when I this. They wont get squat.

  12. avatar American Patriot says:

    Should just go ahead & sue black lives matter……But then it wouldn’t be their fault cause it’s just in there genes!

  13. avatar Mark N. says:

    Here is the key to the case: “The gun was sold by Madison resident 68-year-old Thomas Caldwell to Milwaukee resident Ron Jones in 2017, and found its way through the “criminal marketplace” to Legghette,.” The only thing that they have on Caldwell is this: “Caldwell was sentenced in 2018 to three years in prison for selling guns without a license.” But that is not enough. If Caldwell sold too many guns (i.e, apparently more than five in a year), that doesn’t mean that the sale to Jones was “illegal.” For all we know at this point, Jones is the one who actually sold the gun to the shooter, an inference based on his intent to plead guilty to gun and drug charges. THAT was an illegal sale, but apparently NOT the Armslist sale.

  14. avatar Darkman says:

    The formula for winning a civil lawsuit is three fold and virtually fool proof. Step 1: Find a lawyer willing to take the case. Step 2: Find a judge willing to allow the case to go to trial. Step 3: Empaneling a sympathetic jury. Step 4: Sweat the defendant until they are willing to settle out of court. Very seldom do civil law suits where a monetary judgement is the objective. Ever reach a jury and many never go to trial. Because companies understand this formula works and at the end of the day. Paying off is cheaper than fighting and the Law plays little in the process. I’m not saying it’s right. It’s just the state of Tort and why it needs to be reformed.

    1. avatar Forward Harvard says:

      At which Ivy League law school did you matriculate?

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        University of Hard Knocks… With a PHD in. No Thy Enemy and They Are Yours.

    2. avatar donald P quasebarth says:

      Generally, you are right, but plca guarantees reimbursement of legal fees incurred by the defendant, most of these cases get thrown out before trial. Didnt the asshats who sued lucky gunner get hit with a few hundred thousand in defendants legal fees?

  15. avatar Jim Warren says:

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. – Dick the Butcher

  16. avatar Kendahl says:

    Which anti-gun organization was it that conned some of the relatives of the Aurora theater shooter’s victims into suing and then abandoned them when they lost and were ordered to pay the defendant’s legal costs?

    If I found myself in a similar situation, my anger would be reserved for the murderer and anyone who could have stopped him beforehand but didn’t. However, if this organization approached me about joining a suit, I would have my own lawyer draw up a provision that the organization would receive all proceeds and pay all costs associated with the suit and circulate it among the other prospective plaintiffs. I’ll bet the organization would trip over itself in its haste to get rid of me.

  17. avatar NORDNEG says:

    This is why we need a loser pays law , then this kind of should stop, need term limits also.

    1. avatar Dude says:

      The problem there is, that would hurt the lawyers. Since they’re the most over represented profession in Congress, they tend to look out for themselves first because they can.

  18. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

    So when a loved one can the family sue the owner of the 7-11 in whose parking lot the drugs were bought?

    1. avatar Hans says:

      Marus Likus, do not give gun haters any ideas.

  19. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

    So when a loved one overdosesand dies can the family sue the owner of the 7-11 in whose parking lot the drugs were bought?

  20. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    When is she going to sue the city for letting this person out repeatedly?

  21. avatar James W Crawford says:

    How about filing a lawsuit against the city of Chicago and the State of Illinois for allowing a violent criminal to run at large.

  22. avatar Hans says:

    Next week, we are donating a honey-bee, if they
    take a check.

    There is a need for tort reform; with the plaintiff
    to pay the legal fee if they lose.

    The LEOs x is just looking for a fat payday.

  23. avatar hyrsr says:

    A dog bought at PetsMart keeps pooping in my yard when the owner isnt looking. Can I sue Petsmart??

  24. avatar BobS says:

    Will the Brady Bunch leave the cop’s widow hanging, like they bankrupted the Phillips family with legal fees owed to Lucky Gunner?

    “For practical purposes, the Brady Campaign should pay the legal costs. For political purposes, it’s better for [Brady] if they do not. What better way for Brady to play up the martyr angle for the Phillipses?”
    Anti-Gun Activists Lead a Couple to Ruin

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