Washington, D.C. - The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit today against Badger Guns of West Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the "No. 1 seller of crime guns" in the nation. The suit was filed on behalf of Milwaukee police officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch.
Officers Norberg and Kunisch were shot and seriously injured with a handgun sold by Badger Guns. The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court of Milwaukee County, alleges that Badger Guns sold the gun used to shoot the officers in a blatantly illegal "straw sale."
This is the second recent lawsuit filed by the Brady Center on behalf of Milwaukee police officers against Badger Guns. On October 28, 2010, Milwaukee officers Alejandro Arce and Jose Lopez III sued Badger Guns for unlawfully selling the gun used against them to a drug-using gang member days before they were shot.
“Badger Guns needs to be held accountable for irresponsibly supplying guns to criminals who have shot and seriously wounded brave Milwaukee police officers,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “We proudly stand with law enforcement against corrupt gun dealers whose reckless and illegal conduct places police officers in harms way.”
According to the complaint, Officers Norberg and Kunisch were shot with a Taurus PT140 Pro .40 caliber handgun sold by Badger Guns in a patently illegal transaction. In May, 2009, Julius C. Burton, 18, who could not legally buy a gun, picked out the handgun he wanted to buy while in the store with Jacob D. Collins, an unlawful drug user. Collins then attempted to illegally purchase the gun for Burton.
The complaint alleges that Collins indicated to Badger Guns that he was not the actual buyer. It is unlawful to sell a firearm in a "straw sale" to someone who is not the actual buyer of the gun, but is purchasing it on behalf of another person. The complaint alleges that rather than terminate the sale and contact police about the attempted straw purchase, Badger Guns conspired with Collins to change his answer to claim falsely that he was the buyer. Badger Guns then sold Collins the firearms in an unlawful straw sale.
According to the complaint, operating under the names Badger Guns, Badger Outdoors, and Badger Guns & Ammo, Badger has ranked as the "No. 1 crime gun dealer in America," selling more guns traced to crime in a year than any other dealer. Today’s filing contends that Badger has sold an average of more than one crime gun every day of the year - an average of more than 10 a week; has sold firearms in violation of state and federal laws and engaged in unlawful straw sales; has accounted for two-thirds of all the crime guns recovered in Milwaukee; and that in recent years, 90 percent of straw buyers prosecuted in Milwaukee purchased their guns at Badger. All told, Badger has sold more than 4,000 crime guns.
Patrick Dunphy of the Brookfield, Wisconsin law firm of Cannon & Dunphy is serving as co-counsel in the case with attorneys from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.