McFadyden v Ghost Gunner Inc.
Brady Legal brings the nation's first two civil lawsuits against the ghost gun industry on behalf of victims and survivors of gun violence.
Represented by Brady Legal and Brady Legal Alliance partners Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe, the survivors and the families of the people killed in the Rancho Tehama, California, mass shooting in November 2017 have brought the nation’s first two civil lawsuits by victims of gun violence against the ghost gun industry. Ghost guns are unregulated firearms that anyone — including minors and prohibited purchasers — can buy and build without a Brady Background Check.
The defendants emphasize that no Brady Background Check or registration is required for ghost guns — unlike when buying a gun. Brady Legal alleges in the complaint, however, that the defendants have chosen to engage in a business that utilizes online loopholes that enable prohibited purchasers to acquire weapons without a Brady Background Check or any interaction with a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). In doing so, Brady Legal alleges that the defendants have chosen to intentionally undermine federal and state gun laws by designing, marketing, and selling ghost gun kits and firearms parts, which resulted in the Rancho Tehama gunman, who was barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm, being able to obtain two AR-15-style ghost guns. During the gunman’s shooting spree in November 2017, he killed five people and injured 18 others at eight separate crime scenes, including an elementary school.
The proliferation of ghost guns has become a major challenge for law enforcement and public safety efforts. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), some 30 percent of all guns recovered from crime scenes in recent years are untraceable ghost guns made from the kits at issue in the pending cases. In fact, many of the defendant manufacturers expressly market their ghost gun kits as a means to escape tracking by law enforcement.
Beyond the law enforcement tracing issues, the use of ghost guns poses a serious risk to the citizens of California. Ghost guns, particularly AR-15-style ghost gun rifles, have been used in multiple violent crimes in the state, including the June 2019 fatal shooting of Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan, the August 2019 fatal shooting of California Highway Patrol Officer Andre Moye, and the 2019 Saugus High School shooting.
"Unregulated ghost gun sales arm fugitives, traffickers, and domestic abusers, and they are becoming the weapons-of-choice for prohibited purchasers. People and businesses must be held accountable when they choose to put profits over people and innocent people are hurt or killed as a result.”Brady Legal Vice President and Chief Counsel Jonathan Lowy
Representing the plaintiffs against the ghost gun companies are Jonathan Lowy, Christa Nichols, and Tanya Schardt of Brady Legal, and Amy Van Zant and Shayan Said of Orrick. Also representing the plaintiffs are Douglas Mumford, Catie Barr, and Brandon Storment of Barr & Mudford, and Ben Rosenfeld and Gerald Singleton.
About Brady Legal
Brady Legal has represented victims of gun industry negligence for over 30 years and has won more than $60 million in settlements and verdicts in cases brought by Brady on behalf of victims and survivors. Brady has also won landmark precedents holding that gun companies can be held legally responsible for the damage caused by their irresponsible business practices and we have forced gun dealers and manufacturers to reform their practices to prevent sales of guns to dangerous people. Brady has litigated in over 40 states and won victories in the Supreme Courts of Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Alaska, and appellate and trial courts in California, Florida, Mississippi, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and other states.