NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, today applauded a ruling by a Wisconsin appeals court that will allow a lawsuit filed against Armslist.com to move forward. The lawsuit was brought by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence on behalf of Yasmeen Daniel, whose mother, Zina Daniel Haughton, was fatally shot in 2012 in the Azana Spa shooting in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Everytown for Gun Safety filed an amicus brief in the case, with the support of the law firm Kramer Levin.
Haughton’s estranged husband was legally prohibited from owning a gun because he was subject to a domestic violence restraining order, but he was able to purchase one without a background check in a sale arranged through Armslist, going on to kill Haughton and two of her colleagues.
Unlike federally licensed dealers, where background checks are required, Armslist.com is an online marketplace that facilitates the sales of firearms between private sellers without background checks.
STATEMENT FROM ERIC TIRSCHWELL, LITIGATION DIRECTOR FOR EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY SUPPORT FUND:
“When online marketplaces facilitate gun sales without background checks to people with dangerous histories, the consequences can be deadly. Today’s ruling sends a clear and important message that these websites should have to answer for their practices. We strongly support the Daniel family and the Brady Center in their efforts to hold Armslist accountable for the criminal conduct the website facilitates.”
Everytown’s amicus brief — prepared by attorneys Michael J. Dell and Karen S. Kennedy from the firm of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP — urged the court to allow the case to move forward. The brief drew on Everytown’s extensive research into online gun sales, which demonstrates that criminals and other prohibited persons flock to online sites to illegally purchase firearms. Everytown’s brief can be found here.
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed the earlier decision of the trial court that had dismissed the claims against Armslist based on the federal Communications Decency Act. The appellate court held that the Communications Decency Act does not bar the lawsuit against Armslist because the claims “seek to hold Armslist liable for its own alleged actions in designing and operating its website in ways that caused injuries to [Yasmeen] Daniel.”