Washington D.C., April 23, 2014 — The parents of slain Chicago police officer and Iraq war veteran Thomas Wortham IV have settled their lawsuit relating to the gun used to kill him. The settlement resolves a lawsuit brought by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project on behalf of Officer Wortham’s parents, retired Chicago police officer Thomas Wortham III and Carolyn Wortham of Chicago, IL, against a pawn shop in Mississippi. The parties agreed that:
“This litigation has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. All parties to this litigation are pleased to announce that the agreed settlement will insure that policies at the Archer family business will exceed those currently dictated by state and federal laws regarding handgun sales. All parties agree that reasonable provisions to prevent illegal attempts to purchase firearms should be in place wherever guns are sold. The agreed policies will include the video recording of all handgun sales; three year storage of the video recordings of all handgun sales; and immediate notification to the local and federal authorities of any multiple handgun purchases that occur within any thirty day period.”
Jonathan Lowy, Director of the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project, who represented the Worthams, commented: “It is far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to obtain guns in America. To reduce the flow of guns to the criminal market, the gun industry needs to be a part of the solution, and stop being a large part of the problem. We have shown the gun industry how gun dealers can and should go beyond the bare minimum in an effort to keep the public safe, and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and straw purchasers.”
Carolyn Wortham, Officer Wortham’s mother, stated: “Our son survived the battlefields of Iraq, but could not survive the streets of his hometown, and nothing can undo that tragic fact. I know that Tommy would have wanted me to fight so that other families would be spared the tragedy ours has suffered.”
Thomas Wortham III, Officer Wortham’s father, said: “Tommy was a good guy with a gun, with military and police experience that most people don’t have, but that couldn’t save him from an armed criminal. If we’re going to make it harder for bad guys to get guns, gun dealers need to do their part, and go the extra mile.”
“We are pleased that we were able to help the Wortham family while also helping to better enforce the current laws concerning firearms sales to criminals,” said Richard Barrett, attorney for the family.
The Brady Center filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the Worthams on April 23, 2013. A group of gang members shot and killed Officer Wortham as they tried to steal his motorcycle outside his parents’ home on May 19, 2010. Officer Wortham’s funeral services were attended by thousands of supporters, including then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Governor Pat Quinn.
For 25 years, the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project has been the only law group in the country representing victims of gun violence in high-impact lawsuits to reform gun industry practices that contribute to gun violence. The Brady Center has won landmark precedents holding irresponsible gun companies accountable in courts across the country, including in Alaska, California, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Brady has brought lawsuits on behalf of numerous law enforcement officers who were injured or killed in the line of duty, including officers shot in California, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Mississippi attorneys Richard Barrett and Don Barrett of the Barrett Law Group, P.A., were counsel for the Worthams with the Brady Center’s Jonathan Lowy.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.