The owner of the gun shop where a weapon used to kill a suburban Philadelphia police officer in 2012 was sold is being sued.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence contends the shop should have known the legal buyer was a “straw purchaser,” obtaining the weapon for someone who is prohibited from buying one.
In Site Firearms & Law Enforcement Supplies of Jeffersonville, Pennsylvania, sold six guns over 14 weeks to Michael Henry, including the Beretta semi-automatic that was used to shoot and kill Plymouth Township Officer Bradley Fox on Sept. 13, 2012. The gunman later killed himself.
Fox’s widow, Lynsay, wiped away a tear and clutched a stuffed doll of her husband, as she spoke to reporters Monday at a press conference called by the Brady Campaign to announce the legal action.
“I can’t stand the thought that this person who bought this gun that killed my husband was able to purchase nine guns total in about 14 weeks, six of them from the store that sold the gun used to kill Brad,” she said. “The other eight guns have never been recovered, and I can’t bear to think about what those guns are being used for and the other families that may suffer like mine.”
This “bad apple” gun dealer is just one that the group is targeting in a new push to stop straw purchases, said Rob Wilcox, an attorney with the Brady Center.
“The lawsuit alleges that the defendants were negligent in failing to adequately observe and screen their customers,” Wilcox said.
They also were negligent in “entrusting a straw purchaser with a lethal firearm, in failing to implement best practices to minimize the risk that In Site would sell firearms to a straw purchaser like Henry and in violating the standard of care set forth by the law,” he said.
Henry pleaded guilty to buying guns in straw purchases and was sentenced to 20 to 66 years in prison. The owner of the gun store was not charged.
Kim Stolfer of the Pittsburgh-based Firearm Owners Against Crime says the Brady Campaign has ulterior motives.
“The Brady Campaign’s goal is not to go after people who misuse firearms,” Stolfer said. “The Brady Campaign’s goal is to shut down dealers,which they have been very effective at here in Pennsylvania.”
Luke Kelly, the retired police officer who owns In Site, said he can’t comment on the lawsuit.