Missouri Gun Shop Settles Lawsuit for $2.2 Million

Much ado is made about the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or the PLCAA as commonly known. The legislation provides broad protections of arms manufacturers and sellers similar to those in other industries like aerospace and automotive. Basically, so long as a manufacturer sells their wares in compliance with Federal Law, they are immune from frivolous lawsuits.

Like the similar legislation, the PLCAA also has its exceptions, as it does not cover true negligence or claims of “negligent entrustment”. In the case of the firearms industry, this means selling to a known or what should have been reasonably known to be a prohibited person. This standard is the same that had the Sandy Hook lawsuit dismissed – Bushmaster and the dealer followed all applicable laws and had no way of knowing that the shooter would get their hands on their wares.

However, one Missouri gun shop is guilty of negligent entrustment. Following calls from a frantic mother advising them of the instability of her daughter, sold a firearm which was ultimately used to kill her father and her own suicide attempt. The mother provided a description, birth date, name, and social security number.

As a small shop owner, we are charged with broad discretion in going through with a sale. Based on my briefings with my IOI, this would be a clear case where the shop should not have sold the firearm, despite being legally allowed to do so as the shooter passed a background check.

That terrible decision has cost the shop $2.2 million; a costly lesson.

For more details, check out KCUR’s article. 





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.

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


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  • Mike N.

    It cost the shop’s insurer $2.2m, they probably drove the settlement.

    • Jim Slade

      Yep, often small businesses have only two choices- accept the insurance company’s decision or assume all the liability themselves.

    • JSIII

      This sets a terrible precedence

      • Mike N.

        Not really. There’s no admission of liability in these things. The only precedent it sets is that an insurance company will pay up, but we all already know that and that’s what they’re there for.

        The PLCAA is not without its limits, and at best this was an edge case. It was the better business decision to settle. There’s no upside to taking it all the way to the end — if you have insurance, why would you risk taking it to an adverse judgment (which the insurer would have had to pay for, plus litigation costs, plus you gotta figure there are policy limits, plus your time preparing and going to trial), and if you appeal it, a court of appeals could expand the boundaries of what is exempted from the PLCAA. Better to end it here.

        • G B

          I think the precedence that he might be thinking of (the one I thought of) is more the phone call than anything else.
          So lets say someone in my family finds out that I’m buying a gun soon and they don’t want me to because guns are evil. So my family member calls the local gun shop and says don’t sell a gun to _______ who looks like Ryan Gosling, who lives at _______ and was born on _______ because he is unstable. Now based on this precedent it could be pretty dang hard for me to convince that store owner to sell me a firearm, even if they’re fairly certain that I’m not crazy since they could be held liable for my actions after the sale.

          • valorius

            You make valid points, but at the same time, if it was your daughter who was suicidal and you called, you’d want the sale stopped, right?

          • Independent George

            Wanting the sale stopped, and being legally obligated to stop the sale, are two very different things.

            I think that both (1) the shop should not have sold the gun, but (2) should not be held liable for selling the gun.

          • Esq. in AZ

            Where did you recieve your legal training? From what I recall, this is pretty clearly negligence, if not recklessness. The fact that a gun was used doesn’t somehow provide a legal defense to the gun shop.

          • valorius

            It’s just insurance money, it’s not like they’re taking the guys house or putting him in jail.

          • TexTopCat

            Yes, it is money from every person that this insurance company insures. Our money.

          • valorius

            Shrug. Drop in the bucket.

          • Blake

            Agree completely. In the current situation, the winner is:

            – the lawyers

          • TexTopCat

            And the losers are all citizens that have had a small part of their rights removed.

          • TexTopCat

            If these people knew what they claimed about the daughter, then there are legal and ethical ways to get help for this girl. Attempting to get rich from attacking the gun dealer is just wrong.

          • valorius

            It’s almost impossible to get an adult 302’d. I had to go through the process once with a stalker. They wouldn’t do it, she ended up trying to kill me and spent years in and out of prison and mental institutions.

          • iksnilol

            Dayumn, esse.

            I had a stalker but she was content with merely cutting herself and sending me pictures of that.

            How did she try to kill you tho? Firearm? Knife? Car!? :O am sorta interested, since I am a bit paranoid about my own stalker.

          • valorius

            The story is so bizarre that it’s hard for even me to believe. But ultimately,
            she tried to spring out of the bushes in front of my house and stab me with a Butcher Knife.

            Be careful man.

          • iksnilol

            Holy f***, that’s like top 5 random ways to kill someone.

            Respect, glad you managed to y’know, not get killed 🙂

            Yeah, I am careful, cut contact with her and she’s not bothered me in like more than half a year I guess? Luckily she lives in my homeland (and Italy) so I don’t risk meeting her often.

          • Marcus D.

            The daughter had been in and out of mental hospitals most of her adult life. I am guessing that she lived with her parents as well. If she was voluntarily committed, she would not be a prohibited person.

          • missourisam

            The way the mother should have stopped the sale was to call the police and tell them the facts. Any cop with any experience would upon questioning her have a good idea if she was under stress and unstable. You can push the buttons of a person that a sane woman would handle but an unstable woman would freak out over. If in doubt, the shop owner should have made the call. Most cops are not the enemy, but will put themselves between you and a bullet. It is only the ones that go off the reservation that you hear about though. I’m not saying there are not cops that get it wrong, and that there are not cops out there that should never have a badge, but the percentage given the number of cops in this nation, and the stress they work under is very, very low. Next time you are tempted to judge a cop for making a mistake, put yourself in his/her place. They have a split second to make a life and death decision that will be Monday morning quarter backed by politicians by for days sitting in a safe office that have never made a more serious decision than if they should have cream and sugar in their coffee. See anything wrong here? If not, you are a good part of the problem. If you are confronted by a belligerent person that suddenly reaches back and his shoulder drops, that is the movement to draw a gun. If you wait to see the gun, you are in all probability dead or at least severely wounded. If you draw, and in the adrenaline rush see a black object in his hand in poor light and shoot him, and low and behold he was holding a black wallet. Who is to blame. Any more it is always the cop, and not the belligerent person that made the threatening move. Hopefully we will see a turn around in the cop hating agenda of the last few years. I’ll get off my soap box now, and all you guys can dis me for getting off the subject.

          • valorius

            In a lot of jurisdictions cops absolutely cannot be bothered by such petty nonsense. I live in one of those jursidictions.

          • Marcus D.

            The daughter in this case was a diagnosed schizophrenic who was off her meds. Such people can seem entirely rational, unless they tell you what is going on inside their heads, as this woman had told her mother.

          • TexTopCat

            If it was my daughter, the problem would have been addressed before it came to buying a gun. Attempting to make a gun store part of your problem is wrong.

          • valorius

            Guess this is the point where we ‘agree to disagree.’

          • ostiariusalpha

            Correct, you wouldn’t get the gun right there & then. Boohoo. You’d still be able to call the police and have said family member arrested. And then you would buy your gun.

        • Esq. in AZ

          Lots of assumptions here. Have you ever tried or litigated a case with insurance involvement? Because I can assure you that insurance companies do not exist to “pay up.” A $1k settlement is to “end it here” for nuisance value. A $25k settlement is to “end it here,” to avoid further litigation costs, and a multimillion dollar settlement is because the defense knew they were going to face a much larger award at trial.

          • Charles Applegate

            As an attorney who has prosecuted and defended dozens if not hundreds of personal injury lawsuits – including wrongful death cases – I agree totally with Esq. In AZ.

            Insurance companies are for-profit corporations in a highly competitive, highly regulated industry. The LAST thing they do is roll over and pony up millions of dollars when they have no liability.

          • Marcus D.

            True, they do not pony up in a no liability case, but they do when there is a significant risk of an adverse exposure. This was by no means a slam dunk defense case.

          • Charles Applegate

            My point exactly.

          • Marcus D.

            After 25 years in the insurance defense industry, I disagree. Large settlements are paid out when the risk of exposure is far higher than the reasonable settlement value. This was an ugly case with a death where it could easily be argued that the dealer “knew or should have known” that the daughter would present a risk of harm to herself or others if the sale was made. The facts were pretty compelling that the plaintiff would recover at least in part for the daughter’s criminal act. Depending on the jurisdiction (as damages awards vary widely), the settlement amount was probably half the total value of the case, including the daughter’s contributory fault. Remember the award in the Badger Gun Store case in Milwaukee? There is also the factor that the seller did not want to risk a judgment in excess of his insurance policy limits (which is what happened in Badger).

          • Esq. in AZ

            If you read what I wrote, we’re saying the same thing. High risk of a jury award greater than $2.2 million. And perhaps significantly so, depending on Missouri’s stance on punitives.

        • TexTopCat

          The only upside would have been if the gun store won the case and these people attempting to punish the gun store would have been forced to pay large damages to the store.

        • TexTopCat

          It was the easy way out. However, the correct thing would have been to go to court with a jury trial and when the parents loss, sue them for damages. When the people that bring such suits are forced to pay up then they will stop.

      • derpmaster

        From the brief description provided, the shop sounds like it was definitely in the wrong here.

      • valorius

        I disagree, they should not have sold the gun if the facts presented in this article are true.

        • darkus

          You expect these businesses to be beholden to hearsay? So anyone with your information should be able to call into your local gunstores and deny your ability to freely purchase firearms?

          • Matt Taylor

            Think about what you just said… And then think about the situation where that would be relevant. It’s not like it’s just going to start randomly happening just because…

            If someone called me and said “Darkus” is on his way to your SPECIFIC store, here is his SOCIAL and birth date, and he is going to buy a gun to maliciously use you’re damn right I wouldn’t sell it.

            Where there’s fire, there’s smoke. And I have an obligation to cover my ass at all times.

          • darkus

            You’re right that you would be a fool to go ahead with the sale. It absolutely wouldn’t be worth it.

            And you’re also right that this isn’t going to start happening everywhere.

            But the principle of the thing, that the business should be held liable in something that really is not and should not be under their control bothers me.

          • Charles Applegate

            It’s utterly, totally under their control to decide whether to sell the firearm. The store made a bad decision.

          • TexTopCat

            Matt, And you would be wrong. If a baker can not refuse service to a gay couple, why would a gun dealer be able to deny the tools of self defense to a citizen without any thing but hearsay from unreliable source.
            Now, a call to the local police to ask them to investigate would have been in order, but not refusal to sell.
            It would be different if this was a private sale where the seller would have more leeway.

          • Smedley54

            One obvious difference is that wedding cakes are only indirectly lethal. Domestic troubles may follow a cake, but the cake is probably an innocent bystander to anything else that happens.

            If I had sold a gun to someone and then learned they had attempted suicide, I would try to interest them in some other hobby.

          • Marcus D.

            Sorry tex, but you are way out in left field. The baker was sued because there are statutes that say that businesses cannot discriminate against people because of their sex, age, race, national origin or sexual orientation, both federal and state. There is NO law that says a gun business cannot deny a purchase of a firearm for nondiscriminatory reasons. There is NO civil right to buy a firearm from a business. Gun buyers are not a “protected class” n the words of the anti-discrimination statutes.

          • TexTopCat

            Actually, there is a natural right protected by the Constitution, Just as if during an emergency that a store would refuse to sell water or food for some arbitrary reason (like the someone said they should not) can be held liable. In many cases that gun is the difference between living and dying for the buyer,

          • Marcus D.

            Really? Since when? A gun store has no duty to sell a gun to anyone. It is their property until they sell it, and they can deal or not deal as they choose. The right to keep and bear arms does not include a natural right to force a sale of someone else’s property.

          • Esq. in AZ

            Point us to where the constitution says this.

            And, fyi the Declaration of Independence refers to natural rights, but not the Constitution.

          • iksnilol

            uh, I wouldnt call it hearsay if it is the mother of the person calling you. I mean, the woman knew specifics such as social security number and a bunch of other specifics.

          • valorius

            I think businesses are run by human beings, and human beings should follow their conscience.

          • Martin M

            Darkus is right. It’s utter hearsay! Specific details are irrelevant. Supposed family ties are irrelevant. It’s all irrelevant because none of it comes with any guarantee of authenticity or authority.

            If LE called it would carry some weight.

          • Marcus D.

            If it is “hearsay” (a term that has a specific legal definition), it doesn’t matter who calls, whether it is an individual or the police. Don’t throw around legal terms when you have absolutely no idea what they mean. Hearsay is an out of court statement offered in court for the truth of the matter asserted. There are of course a number of important exceptions. To put it bluntly, since our everyday communications are not under oath in a court of law, they are “hearsay” unless within an exception to the hearsay rule. IT is not hearsay if the speaker has personal knowledge of the subject matter of the statement. ‘Nuff said.

            Further, a police officer who called a store to tell them not to sell a gun to you would probably be violating your civil rights because the police are government actors subject to the limitations of the Bill of Rights, private individuals not so much.

          • Martin M

            And how is it the retailer’s responsibility again?

            Generally speaking, hearsay outside of court proceedings means unsubstantiated, unverifiable, 3rd party information. How would you describe a he-said she-said situation?

      • Kirk Newsted

        Doesn’t set a precendence. Nor does it set a precedent.

        • JSIII

          Yeah it does, someone sued a gun shop over a crime perpetrated using a firearm from that shop and won money. While maybe not legal justification, it is blood in the water. It will embolden more lawyers to bring these kind of cases hoping for some kind of settlement. Just like when a city settles over a police shooting because it is cheaper to settle than defend it, people come out of the wood work.

          • Esq. in AZ

            There’s no blood in the water. There’s nothing new here: gun shop negligently sells gun and is held responsible for the results. As to claiming that there’s blood in the water and settlement is cheaper, etc. – is that your experience? Because it is not mine. You’d be surprised how much a city will pay to litigate or try a case (don’t forget who pays the bills in a municipality) whether or not insurance is involved. Multi-million dollar settlements are not handed out just because an attorney writes a demand letter or files a lawsuit.

          • Marcus D.

            What he means is that a settlement has no value as a legal precedent in any other case. It is not a verdict, it is not a case with an appellate decision. The only “precedent” if you want to call it that was that a higher court held that the plaintiffs stated a cause of action and were allowed to proceed to trial.

    • missourisam

      Mike, you are probably right about the insurance company. When I was a cop, I made an enemy of an ACLU attorney. The city where I worked had a riot, and this scumbag attorney found a guy under a rock somewhere that claimed my squad and I beat him in his back yard four blocks from the riot. This was the first night of the riot, and we were completely unprepared. We were facing rock throwing rioters wearing soft hats and with no riot batons. We could account for the time we were supposed to have beaten him by timed photos taken by a TV station. The PD sold our pictures to the attorney, and suddenly the “victim” could pick us out of a line up, but only with helmets on, which we did not have the first night, proven by the media pictures. The suit was for three million dollars, and the insurance company had a slam dunk in court, but settled with the plaintiff for fifteen thousand dollars. They said it was cheaper than going to court. It might have been cheaper for them, but every time I was up for promotion after that their cowardly decision came back to haunt me. I have about the same regard for insurance companies as I do for ACLU attorneys. They both suck.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    This case also cost the life of the father.

    • RocketScientist

      That seems a bit of a stretch. Saying the gun store’s decision to sell her a gun cost her father’s life is basically assuming that there is 0% chance the psychobitch wouldn’t have gone to another gun store, or ever gotten her hands on any knives, hammers, pipes, a car, propane tanks, cleaning chemicals, rocks, pencils, scissors, pieces of string, baseball bats, gasoline, pointy sticks (guess that was covered with pencils) or any of the other millions of unrestricted daily-use objects that can be used to easily cause another’s death. Blaming the gun store is completely ignoring any responsibility of the MURDERER who actually MURDERED her father.

      • Bierstadt54

        What the crazy woman did was her fault alone. The gun store’s fault was selling after being told the woman was unstable. We all know guns are important; with gun ownership comes responsibility to use some common sense. I don’t care what some crazy did; my only interest is in the gun store as part of our firearms community.

      • Martin Grønsdal

        My argument was related to this;

        ‘As a small shop owner, we are charged with broad discretion in going through with a sale. Based on my briefings with my IOI, this would be a clear case where the shop should not have sold the firearm, despite being legally allowed to do so as the shooter passed a background check.

        That terrible decision has cost the shop $2.2 million; a costly lesson.’

        If this person states that the sale shouldn’t be made, and that breech of some regulations caused the shop to have to pay this costly lesson, then it also assumes responsibility for the death, but fails to mention it.

        I don’t personally think guns kill people. People do.

      • iksnilol

        I like guns and whatnot, but your run of the mill weakling who doesnt mind killign with a gun probably would struggle with a baseball bat or piece of string.

        • RocketScientist

          I’ll give you the piece of string, but its very easy to kill someone with a bat. I accidentally knocked my dad out and broke his skull with my aluminum tee-ball bat when i was about 6 or 7 during practice in the back yard. He went down like a ton of bricks. Had I been so inclined it would have been trivial to “finish the job” at that point. If me as a child could manage that, any adult capable of holding and firing a gun is capable of killing with a full size bat.

          • iksnilol

            its not about the physical aspect, theres also a mental one. Pulling a trigger is mentally easy, not much unlike clicking a mouse. Bashing someones face in? is physically and mentally harder. Harder to psych yourself up to as well.

          • RocketScientist

            Dude, the c**t murdered her own father in cold blood… pretty sure at that point the mental hurdle of using a bat or a knife is more like a speedbump.

          • J. Murphy

            First off referring to a severely mentally ill person as a “crazy”, a “psychobitch” or a “c**t” is perpetuating the exact stigma that leads to people not getting the treatment they need.

            Secondly, I often see this sort of misguided “well without the gun they would have killed him/her/themselves”, not really true. Suicide attempts are usually impulse decisions, so even putting up slight barriers between thought and action can be the difference between life and death.

            And as for harming others, a firearm is an impersonal weapon, it’s very easy for someone who’s already unbalanced to dissociate themselves pulling the trigger from the consequences of pulling the trigger. Whereas beating or stabbing someone to death is a very personal kind of killing that implies real hatred for the victim/s.

          • iksnilol

            Yup, all you said there.

      • Marcus D.

        It is not an all or nothing argument. It is a comparison between the fault of the daughter and of the gun store, and an appellate court had already ruled that there were sufficient facts to avoid the bar of the LCFA. If daughter had gone to another store, or used another weapon, there would have been no case, so it is silly to even argue other scenarios.

    • Just Askin’

      Hypothetical question (not directed at anyone in particular): If it’s against the law for a bakery or wedding photographer to refuse service to a SS couple, then would it also stand to reason a gunshop would be in violation of the law to sell a firearm to someone who is mentally ill? Isn’t that discrimination as well?

      • Martin Grønsdal

        No.

      • J. Murphy

        Not if they have reason to believe that said mentally ill person was a danger to themselves or others.

      • iksnilol

        Is the supersmooth couple a danger to anybody or themselves ?

      • int19h

        The laws in question do not prohibit arbitrary discrimination. There are specific enumerated “protected classes” that they apply to. This one isn’t one of them.

        In fact, many other things that people assume are protected, actually aren’t. For example, you can be denied service on the basis of your political views.

  • Dave Y

    I’m going to just ask here – if the woman was so unstable as to cause her mother to warn the pawn shop, why was the mother endangering society by not committing this woman?

    It seems to me the pawn shop should have counter sued. It seems harsh and insensitive but the parents should have acted to protect society, rather than relying on others to do it. This is basically akin to a bunch of men standing around watching another man assault a woman who is obviously, physically overmatched. That is to say, shameful.

    • valorius

      For all we know she tried to commit her. Getting an adult committed is very difficult.

      • TexTopCat

        As it should be. However, that does not mean that she should terrorize the business that did nothing illegal or immoral.

        • valorius

          What he should’ve done was said, “Hey, i dont need the $150 for a hi point pistol all that much, why dont you come in and we’ll have a cup of coffee and talk about it.” And then judged the merits of her concerns after a face to face meeting.

          You know, like a decent human being.

          • Jimmy

            Good idea…

          • TexTopCat

            Yes, however, what business has enough extra time and man power to do such on a routine basis?
            For me, when NICS came back clean the gun shop should have been 100% cleared of any responsibility.

          • J. Murphy

            “Yes, however, what business has enough extra time and man power to do such on a routine basis?”

            I doubt these situations are “routine”, do gunstores regularly sell guns to people whose last purchase in that store was used to attempt suicide? This is pretty clearly a case of Negligent entrustment.

          • valorius

            My brother runs a gun store, he has dozens of customers that hang out and shoot the breeze at various times. Every non big-box gun store does, doesn’t it?

        • valorius

          Well to me the nothing immoral question is legitimately open to debate. If i was doing a F2F deal with a guy and his mom showed up and had a reasonable argument why i shouldn’t sell it to him, i seriously doubt i would.

          • Jimmy

            I agree with valorius, but in this case Mom didn’t show up, she called it in. How could they have been sure if it was dear ol Mom, or some crank. This would have been a hard case had it gone to trial. Unless they had video of her filling out the forms and engaging in normal conversation so as not to cast doubt.. Damn hard case. They were probably lucky to have been able to settle… Unless she came in raving or something blatant, I would have probably sold it to her..

          • iksnilol

            Hard to get somebodies social security number if it is just a crank call

          • Tom Currie

            And, if I call your local gun shop with personal information about you that isn’t really all that hard to get on anyone you know, and tell them that they shouldn’t sell YOU a gun, should they listen to me? How about if an anti-gun relative (we all have some somewhere in the family tree) calls saying not to sell you a gun? This is one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t situations. If the gun shop had refused to sell her a gun, and SHE became the victim of a violent crime, whose fault would that have been.

          • valorius

            Yes, they should consider what you’re saying, absolutely. Then make a judgement call. Just ignoring it, to me, is not the right course of action.

          • TexTopCat

            Yes, for a F2F deal I would not sell if there was any hint of a problem. Since, today for a F2F deal you have no official/direct way to confirm much of anything.

        • aksjd

          Tex, are you nuts? What they did is absolutely unequivocally immoral– and unethical. They knowingly sold a lethal weapon to a suicidal murderer, after being explicitly, personally warned– begged –not to by the mom. Immoral. Look it up in the dictionary if you need to be reminded what it is you are apparently bereft of pal. 12 reasonable peers could debate if what they did is illegal. People go to jail for stuff like this (much less) and for good reason. This could be accomplice to manslaughter, possibly accomplice to murder, but is obviously negligent.

          Your use of the word terrorize is repugnant. Words have meaning. Read your Orwell again.

          Do you have children? If you don’t, please don’t. If you do, I pray you never have to grieve, knowingly, after learning what the words terrorize or immoral actually mean.

          • Garavella Yk

            aksjd you’re overreacting.
            Try to see if from the store’s point of view: someone unknown calls and says “don’t sell guns to xxxx”. Is this a legally binding thing? Nope.
            I could call 10 stores around your place and tell them not to sell guns to you because you’re suicidal.
            100000 liberals could call 10 million stores to to tell them not to sell guns to 100 million people. Should they heed it?
            Do you get my drift?
            What’s the solution then?
            The mother should have called the law enforcement to put a flag in her file to fail the background checks.
            The law enforcement could then check the info and decide on it.

          • int19h

            What does “legally binding” have to do with the morality of it?

            There were no calls about 100 millions of people. There was one call, about one person, with a very specific explanation as to why she is likely to use that gun in a bad way. At the very least, it warrants talking with the customer and confronting them about it.

            Oh, and there’s no process in place to “call the law enforcement to put a flag in her file to fail the background checks”.

    • Paul White

      Have you *tried* to have an adult committed? It’s damn near impossible to do more than a 3 day hold.

      • Nathan Alred

        But once they have been committed – they are a “prohibited person” and the problem is solved. Assuming the State actually does it’s job and reports the involuntary committal.

        • Eric S

          Not true. A 3 day assessment still falls under ‘voluntary commitment’ to lose your rights the shrink has to believe you pose a risk to yourself or others at the end of your assessment. Having a depressive episode doesn’t usually meet the litmus for being nuts as the majority of the populace has depressive episodes.

          • Mystick

            Nope… my friend had all of his guns confiscated by the MD state police years after the fact – he passed out due to a medical condition and woke up in a strange place(ambulance) around strange people and was frightened, and “struck” an EMT flailing around in fear, and he was placed under evaluation, after which he was subsequently cleared and released.

            It was only after a recent change in MD law that has them actively going out and doing this to people who even merely had their mental state questioned(as it is in a 3-day hold). MSP showed up at his house, No doctor-patient confidentiality, no due process, no expunging… “gun registry won’t be used to confiscate firearms”…. 100% Grade-A Premium BS.

            My friend pursued legal action and was successful in having the firearms placed in third-party trust. He moved to PA, and attempted to repatriate his property, but PA, without due process, denied any transfers based upon the determination of MD’s unconstitutional acts. If he attempts access to his property he gets arrested and fined.

            Land of the free.

        • shooter2009

          They are designated such only if their state voluntarily sends mental health info to the FBI which then shows up in a NICS check. A lot of states don’t.

    • Matt Taylor

      Committing an adult is by no means as easy as people think it is. I worked security at a mental health facility for a while. The legality of having someone admitted is not as simple as making a phone call for the white coats to come grab someone.

      Not saying they shouldn’t of tried to get her help or couldn’t of done more, but it’s not as easy as having her admitted.

      • missourisam

        I worked law enforcement when a LE officer could have a person committed for a 72 hour evaluation. Now it is a lot shorter period of time, and harder to get done. And now there are people that need to be committed, and have been, that are turned loose back into society. As long as the so called laws that the liberal Supreme Court of the late 60s and 70s are in effect nothing will change.

        • Esq. in AZ

          Attitudes like this give leo’s a bad reputation. While you personally may not be a fan of certain constitutional rights – to hell with due process right? – I’d wager that most persons don’t think an leo should have commitment powers and our constitution and laws reflect that.

          As for your comment regarding the Supreme Court of the 1960’s and 70’s, what decisions do you take issue with? I’d love to hear you name a few, and then tell me the current status of those decisions. I can assure you, our current Court has been hard at work gutting the 4th and 5th Amendment.

        • askjde

          Nah, this is not true. Or at least, it depends entirely on what you mean by committed– short term vice long term.

          Suicidal people, drunks, violent/belligerent, anyone who is a danger to themselves or their community can be held against their will for observation or protective custody with minimal hassle. And no harm, only benefit to the individual and to society. This happens every day in America. I’ve personally made the very tough decision to get an alcoholic depressive roommate committed by local LE, and it saved his life. The PD and MDs involved were professional and caring.

          Just because we love guns doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for our brothers and sisters more.

      • Dave Y

        I agree with a previous commenter, it should not be easy to commit someone involuntarily. My overall point was that the FFL here should not be held to a higher standard of community care than any other person, business or government employee.

        I would further comment like this – if this last election has taught us all anything, one lesson we should take from it is to adopt a healthier skepticism for what we see reported in the mainstream media and doubly so when the topic is firearms. All people have a perspective, including reporters, editors photogs, etc.

        To me, it looks like the court was advocating for finding a responsible party, not impartially adjudicating the law.

        I may not have sold said firearm under the circumstances, but maybe someone else on the staff might? Maybe not all the facts are readily available in the news report or perhaps the information presented has a slight political bias. Regardless, I think it’s unfortunate for all the parties involved.

    • Jim_Macklin

      It is very difficult to commit any person since the 1960s. Civil rights violations, parents being committed by children, children being committed by parents and horrific conditions in many mental hospitals caused Congress and State legislatures to set high standards, including representation by a lawyer, before a commitment order can be issued by a court.
      Still, an FFL that gets a phone call from a parent describing a person who is a dangerous person and then makes a sale does the industry no good.

    • M1911

      In my experience with a troubled relative, it is almost impossible to commit an adult involuntarily. Even though she had attempted suicide (almost successfully), after two days in the hospital she was diagnosed as having an insurance deficiency and was released.

  • valorius

    If the facts presented here by TFB are true, i agree the gun shop was wrong.

    • Independent George

      I agree that they were wrong, but I also don’t believe they should be held liable. Legal and civil liability is different from personal responsibility and morality, and should not be conflated.

      I understand the decision to settle, as I don’t think most juries can compartmentalize on things cases this, but very strongly disagree with the idea that the shop should be held liable in a situation like this.

    • Jim Slade

      The real difference between the cost of that cheap-ass $150 Hi-Point and $2.2 million is about a nickels worth of common sense on the part of the gun shop.

  • Mike Hartnett

    So, for those of you that feel the gun shop was negligent. Let’s say person “x” is stalking person “y”. To keep them unarmed (and to restrict their right to self defense) I need only make a phone call?

    • Esq. in AZ

      I think you’re over simplifying it. Think about something a little different. If I call the cops and say “I just saw a white guy rob a 7-11” that’s not going to provide probable cause or even reasonable suspicion to stop every white male near a 7-11. If I call the police and say, “I just saw a white guy, probably 6ft tall, clean shaven, with a blue sweater, tan khakis and an LA Dodgers hat rob the 7-11 on Central Ave with a handgun and take off running down Central.” Every judge in the US will find probable cause to arrest any white male in the area matching the description. My point is, facts matter. Any reasonable person standing in the shoes of the gun shop would have refused the sale based on the facts and information they were given.

      • Bill

        Very well stated.

      • Nathan Alred

        What would prevent a stalker from supplying a sufficiently detailed description to meet your threshold?

        • ostiariusalpha

          At that point, you are beyond simple stalking, and need to head to the police station. The stalker has committed an arrestable offense, and you have a witness. Once the police have investigated the situation, you could probably go ahead and buy the gun.

        • Esq. in AZ

          I don’t think I’ve stated a threshhold, as much as given another example that hopefully illuminates the issue. Nothing really stops a stalker from providing the same information that the gunshop was given and I don’t that changes anything.

          Look, use my same example of the 7-11 robbery – or better yet consider the issue of “swatting,” where a caller spoofs a phone number, calls 911, and pretends to be a hostage in order to get a swat response. The police do not say “nope, can’t respond to that call because there’s a chance that a prank caller is trying to get someone wrongly arrested (or killed) by us.” You can always come up with tenous “what ifs.” But that’s not how the law works. I’ll oversimplify, but it’s really what would a reasonable person do in the situation. And I think that’s the right question or standard, or threshhold if you will.

    • iksnilol

      how many stalkers know your social security number?

  • Seth Hill

    So I read the linked story and found the following interesting:
    “Weathers had bought a gun there previously and later attempted to commit suicide…..Despite Delana’s plea, the store sold Weathers a gun and ammunition.”

    Weathers is the woman that killed her father, so it seems that this is was the 2nd gun that she bought from the store. That begs the question, what happened to the 1st gun? Was it confiscated when she attempted to commit suicide?

    Also to note that the dealer may have been afraid to refuse the sale due to confusion in the law:
    571.014. 1. A person commits the crime of unlawful refusal to transfer by denying sale of a firearm to a nonlicensee, who is otherwise not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law, solely on the basis that the nonlicensee purchased a firearm that was later the subject of a trace request by law enforcement.

    2. Violation of subsection 1 of this section shall be a class A misdemeanor.

    3. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, no federal firearms dealer licensed under 18 U.S.C. Section 923 who engages in the sale of firearms within this state shall fail or refuse to complete the sale of a firearm to a customer in every case in which the sale is authorized by federal law.

    4. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any individual federal firearms license holder, his agents, or employees to the extent they chose in their individual judgment to not complete the sale or transfer of a firearm for articulable reasons specific to that transaction, so long as those reasons are not based on the race, gender, religion, creed of the buyer.

    • Jimmy

      I guess attempted suicide isn’t a felony in MO. Maybe it should be. The article did state she passed a background check… HUMMMMM

      • TexTopCat

        Not sure that suicide should be a crime in any state. It seems that you should have that decision without government interference.

      • Seth Hill

        As far as I know, it is not a felony in any state to commit suicide. It IS a felony to assist someone in some states though. I think that suicide attempts should require psych evaluations and therapy. People do it due to things that happened to them, such as sexual abuse as a child, etc. They need help, not be punished. I might even be open to being involuntarily committed during that time, even on a first attempt, but for first attempts their rights can be reinstated after a period of time AND doctors stating that the person is not a threat to themselves or others.

    • Jim_Macklin

      Also FFL dealers are very worried about denying a purchase when there isn’t a NO on the NICS check. Some will claim racial or ethnic discrimination.
      When Illinois adopted the FOID the dealer I worked for suppoted the law because he could ask any customer to show his FOID [firearms owner ID] and if they did not have a current card he could and simply said that without the card he could not show any firearms to them.
      But Illinois then piled on waiting periods and made open carry illegal and a felony. What was reasonable to my boss suddenly became infringement.

      • Seth Hill

        That was the point of my including the law, to point out that dealers CAN be punished for not selling a gun IF the person is not prohibited, passes the background check, isn’t a subject to a trace by LEOs, etc. It is my understanding that she did not fit any of those definitions. Now, the 4th one could have given them leeway to deny based on the mom calling, but that is for a lawyer to be able to say for sure.

  • 22winmag

    Car dealerships are next. Always better to run someone over and claim it was an accident.

  • Martin M

    This is totally bogus. The shop is negligent of NOTHING. They sold a product and followed the law in doing so.

    The person who is negligent is THE MOTHER. Her failure to get LE involved is why the sale went through. If she was so concerned, she should have called a cop, not a retailer. The retailer is not responsible for vetting information they get from random and unverifiable sources.

    This settlement infuriates me. People who agree with this settlement aren’t thinking it through and they infuriate me.

    • Esq. in AZ

      I don’t think you can write off a call from a mother, identifying herself as such, with such specific information as name, birth date and ss number as from “random and unverifiable sources.” I agree that the retailer is not responsible for vetting that information, but they are responsible for the consequences of ignoring it, when a reasonable person would not have.

      Honestly, what’s the concern for the shop here that is infuriating? You can act within the confines of a particular law or regulation and still act negligently in doing so. Do you take issue with something like dram shop liability? Or what about if I hand my car keys to a friend after his mother called me and said “don’t let him drive your car, he’s been using meth for the past 4 days and hasn’t slept.” Should I be liable there when he crosses over into oncoming traffic and kills a family of four? Or can I just say, “Oh well, he’s got a valid driver’s license or looked ok to me”?

      • Martin M

        It can be totally written off. No matter how specific the information, the source is specious at best. The shop shouldn’t be liable. In this one instance a crime happened. Fear of prosecution could now lead other retailers to consider random calls as a threat to their livelihood and ultimately infringe on a citizens rights. I can understand that the mother was trying to prevent something, but she failed to use proper channels. This judgement essentially says that any individual can interfere with a lawful transaction between business and another legal adult. Does that sound logical to anyone?

        Yes, you would be liable for certain damages if you loan your car to a friend. It’s still your car. You can exercise judgement regarding your personal property. However, if you SOLD your car to a friend, you would have no liability. Big difference.

        • ostiariusalpha

          If you immediately sold your car to the example meth-head driver, and he went off with it and killed people, you would very much be held liable.

          • Martin M

            Where is the burden of proof? Someone claims they warned me. I say they didn’t. I’m a private citizen. This was a business. A car dealer wouldn’t be liable once the release of liability is signed along with the bill of sale.

  • DaHaase

    I grew up only a few miles from Odessa, MO, and went to school there, and when news hit of what happened it hit the community pretty hard. Odessa is a farm town of a little over 5000 people, and Wellington to the north (where Weathers’ family resided) with only maybe 800. The people are very community minded and supportive, thankfully, with many reaching out to Weathers’ mother.

    In regards to whether or not the gun and pawn shop is liable, I do think they are. I’ve seen gun salesmen turn away customers for much less. They were warned about Weathers’ mental issues, with proof of identity from the mother, and sold it despite this. The gun Weather bought was used to kill her father the day she got it (sourced from the Kansas City Star). The Missouri Supreme Court also had to approve the lawsuit because of the concern with conflicts from the PLCAA.

    I’m also sure the gun and pawn will be fine as I bet they are insured (with foreseeable increased insurance payments). I also bet I will see them this weekend at the gun show with their massive booth, and their previous presence at other guns shows I’ve attended recently tells me they are doing fine and will do fine.

    • Alex Brown

      What was the timeframe between the warning and the sale? Was the sale made by the same person who received the warning?

      • DaHaase

        According to the Kansas City Star, the time between the warning and the sale was two days. Weathers’ mother, I believe, said she talked to the owner when she called. I also heard a rumor that the owner did warn the employees to not sell a firearm to Weathers, but a salesman did anyways (but this is just a rumor).

        • Alex Brown

          A lot of variables at play. This makes me think that the shop shouldn’t be liable. They’re simply not set up to be the 2A police, and part of me thinks they shouldn’t be. If the threat is credible, law enforcement should be able to take action. Leave the policing to those trained to do so.

  • Alex Brown

    Wait a minute. So the mother provided name, address, numbers… everything needed to identify a person. The mother said the person was unstable and not be sold a firearm. Two problems with that:

    One, why is the mother a trustworthy source? I can easily imagine a scenario where a qualified adult tells their parent that they’re going to the store to buy a firearm for lawful use, and the parent objects and calls the shop. The shop has no way of verifying the claim made by the parent, so why are they liable?

    Two, the shop is not a law enforcement agency, should they be expected to maintain a comprehensive list of people that are supposedly unstable. What I mean is that even if the parent called the shop, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where another salesperson sold the firearm. Or many days passed and the informed person forgot. Where’s the bright line here? Let’s say someone warns a shop about a baddie and two years later said baddie finally comes in. Why would the store be liable?

  • Kivaari

    Even when you get them held for observation the state mental health professionals rarely keep the subject for long. It was hard to get them to send a desperately ill psycho to the hospital when he was threatening to burn his mother. He needed medical care as well as psychiatric care and the MHP would not order the patient committed. WE, the doctor and I over road the MPH, and got him transported to the only hospital that could take ill psychos.
    The mental health system is not doing a good job of treating the ill, even when we present them with serious cases. We used to say the only way to tell the psychos from the staff at the state hospital was to check for shoe laces.

  • Blake

    Does anyone know if the mother called the police & informed them of her daughter’s mental state & intent to commit a crime?

  • Jim Drickamer

    An interesting case. Let me see if I understand this correctly. I can make several calls to my local gun shop, telling them that my son is a mental case and presents a real, imminent danger to society. I can give the gun shop my son’s identifiers – description, name, SSN, and so on. Does the gun shop have a responsibility, at this point, to contact law enforcement and pass this information to them? After all, it is reasonable to think that if what I am saying about my son is true, not only do I not want him to buy a gun, but I also don’t want him to buy a knife, baseball bat, or any other potential weapon. Let’s suppose I only call one gun shop, even though there are ten in my area, not to mention WalMart. Is there an actual provision in the law stating both that the shop should not sell my son a gun and also that they should notify law enforcement? Interesting.

  • TexTopCat

    Selling to someone that the dealer knew was a prohibited person or should have known was prohibited is certainly against federal law. However, this person was not prohibited and the dealer had proof that the person was not prohibited (via NICS) check. So, unless the person was “under the influence” or “did not match the ID” or made statements indicating a straw purchase, the sale was justified.
    It is unreasonable for a shop owner to be forced to be a “law enforcement” or “mental health” officer.
    If the clerk at Walmart sold this person “rat poison” would they have sued Walmart?

    • Rat poison does not require a Federal license to sell, or a background check to buy. Apples and oranges.

      The FFL does require the dealer to be “law enforcement” and “mental health” officer. Anything a buyer does or says that would indicate to the FFL they are a harm to themselves or others, or have lied on the Form 4473 requires them to at least postpone the sale until valid information can be confirmed.

      NICS is just one check for a sale. The FFL is required to examine all the answers on the Form 4473. Question 11F asks about mental health issues. If the FFL believes the answer may be false they are required to prohibit the sale by Federal law. If the daughter answered she was not mentally defective, but there was credible information from mother about her schizophrenia, recent suicide attempt, and paranoia – the FFL is obligation to postpone and check into the claims.

      The Missouri Supreme Court ruled unanimously this FFL did have enough information to at least postpone the sale until further information could be obtained to verify the person was not mentally defective, suicidal, or homicidal.

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    So who sued? The ‘frantic mother’?

  • Du

    Business analogy involving tractor dealer.

    Tractor dealer receives call from alleged mother with details of buyer enroute to dealership. Caller has info on buyer any reasonable person would believe most do not have access to and is therefore likely to be the actual mother. I believe lawyers call this “reasonable expectation.” I could be wrong since I am not a lawyer.

    Caller says buyer has stated “I’m going to buy a tractor but not the front end loader or bush hog since I plan to only run down Daddy and then drive it over the cliff so I kill myself.”

    If caller has reasonable expectation buyer will follow through caller could be held liable if they don’t do something. IN THIS DAY AND AGE dealer could be held liable if they have reasonable expectation caller is telling the truth and do nothing.

    What is dealer to do? You better be calling the authorities and your lawyer to seek guidance so you can pass the buck if something goes wrong. In the meantime, suck it up and don’t complete the sale. You can haggle over price, paper work, inventory or just straight up inform buyer they will have to come back because of what the caller said.

    After all is said and done buyer can file suit against caller for the call and against the dealer for the hold up. Caller may lose if accusations are proven to be false. Buyer would have to show where dealer caused harm/damages to be liable, I.e., lost cattle, lost contract, etc.

    We don’t have to like it or agree with it. That is the way business works today.