The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that victims of a 2017 Colorado church shooting cannot sue the Texas gun retailer that sold the weapon used in the attack, even though the sale would have violated Colorado law.
According to The Hill, the court ruled that Academy Sports & Outdoors falls under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which says that retailers and manufacturers cannot be sued over criminal conduct by third parties who purchase weapons from them.
The suit arose from a November 2017 shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in which 26 people were killed and 20 more injured, The Hill reported. The alleged shooter, Colorado resident Devin Kelley, bought an 8500 Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle, a high-capacity magazine, and ammunition from Academy Sports & Outdoors in Texas.
The families who sued the retailer said in the suit that because Kelley showed Colorado identification at the store, employees were required to follow both Texas and Colorado law in the sale. In Colorado, magazines over 15 rounds are prohibited.
Sale was legal, court says
The court rejected this argument, saying that the federal Gun Control Act did not prohibit high-capacity magazines, so the sale did not violate any laws.
“In sum, the sale of the Ruger AR-556 rifle to Kelley complied with the legal conditions of sale in both Texas and Colorado. Because the Gun Control Act did not regulate the sale of the magazines, the Colorado law prohibiting their sale was immaterial,” the majority opinion read, according to The Hill.
An error was made in the sale of the gun to Kelley, but it was not made by the store. Because of Kelley’s dishonorable discharge from the Air Force in 2012, he could have been prevented from buying the gun.
The Air Force did not report the discharge to a federal database for gun background checks, however, as The Hill noted.
The real problem
Back in 2017, when the Air Force’s failure was brought to light, several cities sued the Pentagon for its failure to report discharges and other military actions to gun databases, The New York Times reported.
After the suit was brought, more than 4,000 names were said to have been added to the federal database by the military, which apparently had a long history of noncompliance with this policy.
While the victims’ families can still appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, the latest ruling continues a strong precedent of refusing to hold gun retailers and manufacturers responsible for crimes purchasers may commit with their products.
The lawsuits are a tactic of the left to bring down the whole gun industry, which would effectively make the Second Amendment moot. The courts, however, are wise to this ploy and have ruled to prevent it once again in this case.