WASHINGTON --- The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit today in the Circuit Court of Milwaukee County against Badger Guns, a top seller of crime guns in the nation, on behalf of injured Milwaukee police officers Alejandro Arce and Jose Lopez III.
The complaint alleges that Badger Guns negligently and unlawfully sold the gun used against the officers to a drug-using gang member days before the November 6, 2007 shooting.
“Officers Arce and Lopez put their lives on the line to protect the people of Milwaukee. We are honored to represent them in this matter” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Center. “We need to send a powerful message to gun dealers like Badger Guns that they will be held accountable when they knowingly funnel guns into the criminal market.”
According to the complaint filed today, Officers Arce and Lopez were shot with a Taurus 9mm pistol that was purchased by 24-year-old gang member Jose Fernandez eight days before the shooting. The complaint alleges that less than two weeks before purchasing the Taurus, Badger Guns negligently and illegally sold Fernandez a Masterpiece Arms 9 mm assault weapon, two high-capacity thirty round ammunition clips, and a flash suppressor.
Fernandez had a criminal history and was prohibited from buying guns because he was an unlawful user of illegal drugs, including heroin and marijuana. On the night of the officer’s shooting, Fernandez was in possession of marijuana, cocaine mixed with crushed pills, valium and oxycodone, along with drug trafficking paraphernalia.
Operating under the names Badger Guns, Badger Outdoors, and Badger Guns & Ammo, in previous years Badger has ranked as the number one crime gun dealer in America, selling more guns traced to crime in a year than any other dealer. Today’s filing alleges 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 law 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 with the Brady Center in the case.