The Walmart Gun Lawsuits
You may have heard recently that Walmart has decided to limit its weapons sales significantly. You may have also heard that Walmart plans on reversing its policy of allowing open carry inside its stores. Well, that in no small part is due to certain lawsuits alleging that guns purchased at Walmart are responsible for certain mass shootings that have occurred over the past few weeks.
Yet in reality, gun retailers and manufacturers have broad immunity in injury lawsuits in which guns purchased legally are used to commit serious crimes. The keyword, however, is legally. Both state and federal regulations prohibit Walmart from selling guns to individuals with certain flags on their record. These include individuals who have been involuntarily hospitalized for mental illness, individuals with felonies on their record, and individuals who are currently charged with spousal abuse or domestic violence. So why is Walmart being sued?
One way that bad guys with guns are getting around federal and state background checks is by sending straw buyers to purchase the weapons on their behalf. These weapons are then being used to commit serious crimes including mass shootings. Why the straw buyers would be willing to do this is unclear since, in some states, they can be charged as principals to the crime itself. If you don’t know what that means, it means that if a gun is used to commit first-degree murder, they can also be charged, as a principal, with first-degree murder.
In addition, since the law prevents personal injury suits in cases where the gun was purchased legally, it does not absolve Walmart from incurring liability if the gun was purchased by a straw buyer. Of course, how is someone who is making $10/hour supposed to know whether or not the individual purchasing the gun is using it for their own purposes or buying it for another person who can’t legally purchase a gun?
Walmart’s Negligence in Allowing a Straw Purchase
One family is now suing Walmart for allowing a straw purchase of a gun that was used to attack a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kansas. The family is alleging that Walmart should have known that the individual who purchased the gun was doing so for someone else.
Additionally, Walmart is facing lawsuits in the El Paso shooting. These lawsuits allege that Walmart did not provide adequate security on the premises and this increased the death toll.
In a typical negligent security lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to show that (at the very least) the proprietor “should have known” that there was a threat. This remains an obstacle to such a lawsuit. In order to prove their case, the plaintiffs will need to show that Walmart failed to respond to previous threats and understaffed onsite security.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured by a proprietor’s negligence, the Houston assault & negligent security attorneys at Livingston & Flowers, P.L.L.C. may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. Talk to us today for a free consultation.