Lawfare: a form of asymmetric warfare involving the use of the legal system with the intention of damaging an opponent, winning a public relations victory, or financially crippling an opponent.
Examples: See Brady Campaign suits against Cabela’s, Lucky Gunner and ARMSLIST here and here, not to mention a slew of suits against gun and accessory makers. Note that Brady has been defeated at almost every turn (in the courts so far) thanks to the protection provided under the PLCAA. But defending against the suits drains the companies of significant amounts of resources including cash.
Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown civilian disarmament operation has been a little less active than Brady, though they did manage to drive Jimenez Arms into bankruptcy. Now Everytown’s taking a shot at online seller Lucky Gunner.
A difference in this case is that the buyer was under age, though what if anything he may have done to deceive Lucky Gunner isn’t yet clear. That will no doubt be revealed in the discovery process.
From the Associated Press . . .
A teenager accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Texas high school in 2018 was able to buy more than 100 rounds of ammunition online because his age was not verified, according to a lawsuit alleging that the website involved broke federal law.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis was a 17-year-old junior at the time of the May 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School. Federal law prohibits minors from purchasing handgun ammunition, and bars licensed gun companies from selling handgun or shotgun ammunition to minors or anyone they have reason to believe is under the age of 21.
According to an amended lawsuit filed Thursday, Pagourtzis initially ordered 50 rounds of hollow-point handgun ammunition and 105 rounds of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition, the Houston Chronicle reported. Two weeks later, he purchased an additional 35 rounds of shotgun ammunition — both times from the website Luckygunner.com that did not require him to make an account, submit proof of age or set-up a secure two-step authorization, the filing said.
Among those killed at the school was a Pakistani exchange student whose parents filed the amended petition. It’s part of a lawsuit filed against the suspect’s parents, Rose Marie Kosmetatos and Antonios Pagourtzis, alleging they knew their son was exhibiting extreme behavior and yet failed to prevent him from accessing their firearms, which authorities believe were used in the shooting.
Luckygunner.com, along with its owners, Red Stag, have been listed as additional defendants in the amended lawsuit, which claims Red Stag mailed the ammunition via FedEx without requiring an adult to sign for the package. Neither Luckygunner.com nor Red Stag responded to requests from the Houston Chronicle for comment.
Everytown Law, the legal arm for Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, a nationwide group, filed the petition on behalf of Abdul Aziz Sheikh and Farah Naz, the parents of Sabika Sheikh, who arrived as an exchange student last August.
In a statement, Sheikh’s parents said they are committed to fighting for accountability and for a safer future.
“People need to know just how easy it was for the shooter to buy ammunition from a website that failed to take even basic steps to protect the public,” the statement said.
Pagourtzis was charged with capital murder and faces life in prison. He is being held at a maximum-security mental health facility.
UPDATE: Lucky Gunner has issued the following statement:
Our hearts go out to the families and victims affected by the tragedy in Santa Fe. We recently learned of a related lawsuit against us in which Michael Bloomberg-backed Everytown
claims to be representing a plaintiff. Contrary to the claims, our company complied with all laws in making the subject sale; the suspect committed many crimes to include deliberately misrepresenting himself.
ED: This article was updated on March 9 to add the statement from Lucky Gunner.