Indianapolis police officer Dwayne Runnels is suing a gun store for selling the weapon that was used on him by a convicted felon. The incident occurred in December 2011, when Demetrious Martin used a handgun that he had purchased from local store KS&E Sports to fire upon Runnels, who ultimately fired back and killed the man. Runnels is seeking monetary damages as well as a court order for “enjoining or abating the public nuisance created by KS&E Sports until it modifies its deficient sales, training and marketing policies governing the sale of firearms,” according to the IndyStar.
Indiana Second Amendment attorney Guy A. Redford explained that a state law passed in 2001 makes it extremely difficult to prosecute firearm vendors for the roles their weapons play in illegal shootings or homicides.
“It would appear to me that the immunity statute that has been in place in Indiana since 2001 would create an insurmountable hurdle for the plaintiff to get over in this case,” Redford said.
According to the Law Center for Preventing Gun Violence, Indiana law prohibits any legal action against gun sellers for “recovery of damages resulting from, or injunctive relief or abatement of a nuisance relating to, the lawful design, manufacture, marketing or sale of a firearm or ammunition.”
This law essentially renders Runnels’ claims inadequate. However, the case is unusual because Martin was a convicted felon and therefore should not have been legally able to purchase the handgun from KS&E Sports. While the store may not be responsible for the damages Runnels suffered as a result of the shooting, they may be responsible for selling the firearm to Martin in the first place. The case has not yet been heard by the courts in Indiana.