Federal Appeals Court: Armslist.com Not Liable for Death From Illegal Sale

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Arstechnica reports that a three-judge panel in the Chicago-based circuit court of appeals has dismissed a lawsuit against Armslist.com alleging negligence and that Armslist was promoting the illegal sale of firearms.

The full Opinion for the Court is available here, but the relevant determining passage is below:

Alex has alleged nothing of the sort here. Alex’s complaint states that Armslist “design[ed] its website to encourage its users to circumvent existing gun laws… by easily enabling prospective purchasers to search for and find gun sellers in any and all states.” But simply enabling consumers to use a legal service is far removed from encouraging them to commit an illegal act.

Expanding on their determination:

Armslist permitted Ladera to place an advertisement on its website and nothing more. It did not invite Ladera or Smirnov to break the law. Alex’s allegations fall short of alleging any cognizable negligence claim for which Armslist could be held responsible for Smirnov’s acts.

This is the first ruling of its kind on the Federal level for firearms owners, protecting legal online listing providers. That said, always ensure you are following applicable laws for private sales. When in doubt, us an FFL for the transfer.



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • KestrelBike

    Good thing this didn’t happen in Maryland with a certain retarded federal level judge.

  • gunslinger

    readers digest version of the case?
    guy puts up gun ad on armslist (a craiglist like site, specifically for the gun community?) second guy buys gun from first guy.
    second guy is either prohibited from having a gun, or in a state that needs a ffl tranfer? second guy uses said gun to kill someone?
    family or state of deceased go after website for allowing the sale of a gun to prohibited person?

    if that’s the case, it’s like saying the commercial for the local car dealership is liable for the fatal car accident, just because they put an ad on TV?

    • John

      Not even, its like blaming the TV for running the ad, which is even more far removed from responsibility.

      That being said, never really liked Armslist. There are fewer enthusiasts buying/trading their equipment and a lot more people trying to offload cheap/broken guns they dont want or inherited. There’s also no feedback so you don’t know their reputation

  • SNNN

    Even if Armslist is the Craigslist of guns it’s still a place one can go to
    exercise ones 2nd Amendment rights. For that reason alone I support
    it even if its sellers are often ignorant obnoxious price gougers. I do
    not want to emulate Australia or UK gun owners who sold each
    other down the river…do you? That this case was even given a
    hearing is scary in itself….

  • Eric S

    That this even went to trial is kind of absurd. They should have fined them for being frivolous.