Court files lawsuits against store in Texas church murder
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that survivors and relatives of those killed in a 2017 church massacre cannot sue a sporting goods chain for selling the gunman the rifle used in the attack.
The court on Friday dismissed four lawsuits against Academy Sports and Outdoors alleging that a San Antonio-area store negligently sold the gun to Devin Kelley in 2016.
Kelley killed more than two dozen people when he opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. The 26-year-old then committed suicide during a chase after the shooting.
Academy Sports and Outdoors, where the shooter purchased a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle that included a 30-round magazine, appealed after two lower courts refused to dismiss the lawsuits.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Academy and ruled that the petitions were prohibited by US law on the protection of the licit arms trade. The law protects retailers from legal action arising from criminal acts committed by third parties.
The lawsuits said Kelley provided store clerks with Colorado identification and that U.S. gun control law required the Academy to comply with Colorado gun laws before proceeding. approve the purchase. Colorado, however, banned the sale of magazines containing more than 14 rounds, while the Academy sold Kelley a rifle that came with a 30 round magazine.
But the court said the sale was legal because federal law only applies to the sale of firearms, not components.
Shooting survivors and relatives also sued the U.S. Air Force, which did not report a domestic violence conviction that allegedly prohibited Kelley from purchasing a gun.
Kelley had been convicted of assaulting his wife and stepson and was removed from office service in 2012, but Air Force officials did not report conviction to the FBI background check system despite being required to do so.
The Associated Press