In an odd convergence of greed and ideology, victims of the West Webster firefighter ambush have paired with an anti-gun group to sue Gander Mountain.
It was Gander Mountain where Dawn Nguyen feloniously bought two long guns for convicted killer William Spengler Jr. He subsequently used one of those guns to attack responding firefighters in the early morning of Christmas Eve 2012.
The Brady Center to Prevent Handgun Violence held a press conference today announcing that it was suing on behalf of the families of the two firefighters killed, and on behalf of the two surviving firefighters. Plaintiffs’ argument is that Gander Mountain is liable because it should have known that Nguyen was engaged in a straw purchase.
Specifically, the Brady Center claims that because Dawn Nguyen came into the store with another person, paid cash, and bought more than one gun, the store’s employees should have known that she was making an illegal purchase.
It is an insane argument.
There is nothing unusual about any of those facts, alone or in combination.
Dawn Nguyen came into the Gander Mountain with William Spengler Jr. She was a young female and he was an elderly male. They consulted together as she made her selection and purchase.
How, to a sales clerk, is that any different from countless purchases in which a young person brings a father or grandfather for advice on a purchase? Whether it’s a car or a faucet or a gun, getting advice from an older person, especially about a significant or specialized purchase, is normal and common.
Further, it is not unusual for people to purchase more than one gun at a time – the last time I bought guns, I got five of them – and it’s not unusual for people to pay with cash – for any sort of purchase.
But to claim that any or all of these actions are earmarks of illegal activity, or illegitimate gun purchasing, is to criminalize and attack the majority of gun purchases.
Which is what the Brady Center is after.
It wants to use this case to attack Gander Mountain, one of America’s largest gun retailers, and either bleed it of money or hamstring its practices.
And that has a direct impact on law-abiding gun owners everywhere.
This law suit is an attack on the Second Amendment and on the practice and culture of firearms ownership. It is one of the oldest tricks in the gun-banners’ book, it is the Brady Center exploiting a horrific tragedy to advance its political agenda.
We weep over fallen neighbors and they attack our freedoms.
The suit prostitutes the deaths of these men for the political gain of a philosophy they may not even have embraced.
That’s the ideology half of it.
The greed half of it comes on the other side.
None of us can imagine the grief and loss of the families of the fallen, nor can we imagine the pains and infirmities of the wounded, but a suit against Gander Mountain smells like opportunism, it looks like gold digging. It looks like this law suit was joined because Gander Mountain has deep pockets, not because it did anything wrong.
And that is not right.
The evildoer in this matter is the gunman. To a lesser extent, the woman who lied and broke the law to give him guns is also wrong.
But nowhere in any rational mind does Gander Mountain, which followed all laws to the letter, bear any responsibility.
Suing for money is about greed, not justice. And partnering with the gun-banning Brady Center is about twisting the deaths of innocent heroes to restrict rights they themselves enjoyed.
And who solicited whom?
Did the Brady Center track down the families, looking to use them as a platform? Or did the families track down the Brady Center, hoping for free lawyers or to advance a cause?
It would seem that if the families and victims initiated the matter, they would have more likely gone to a tort and civil liability law firm, as opposed to an activist group with more background in legislation and lobbying.
But it is what it is.
In the names of the survivors and the families of the fallen, America’s oldest and nastiest anti-gun group has landed right in the middle of our broken heart. Where yesterday we were united in loss and respect, today we are divided by politics.
Because there is no compromise with principle. You either support the Second Amendment or you don’t.
Those of us who support it – who believe in all of the Constitution – love and appreciate those touched by this tragedy.
But we do not agree with their law suit.
And we stake out the opposing ground.
Gander Mountain did nothing wrong. We do not want it sued into a corner or into bankruptcy. An attack on gun sales is not justified. Criminals’ failure to obey old laws does not justify the propagation of new laws.
This law suit is wrong, it is a heartless exploitation of tragedy and crime, to advance the cause of greed and ideology.