Washington, D.C., October 18, 2018 - Today, Officer Kurt Stokinger and his wife, Janella, filed suit against the online gun sales website Armslist, Grant Headley, and Sarah Johnson in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Officer Stokinger was shot in January 2016 by Headley, a prohibited purchaser who had bought the gun from Johnson, a gun runner who was illegally selling guns purchased from Armslist.
The complaint alleges that Armslist, an online firearms marketplace that actively allows dangerous people to buy, sell, and obtain guns that they are otherwise legally prohibited from possessing, directly enabled a gun trafficking operation that allowed Headley and other criminals to obtain guns. Stokinger, a decorated nine-year veteran of the Boston Police Department, was shot in the leg with a handgun obtained through Armslist’s negligence, and only survived after his fellow officers were able to quickly provide medical care.
The suit asserts that “while other online gun companies have instituted safeguards to make it more likely that guns are sold legally and responsibly, Armslist has done the opposite. Intentionally entering into this risky environment, Armslist chose to establish an online firearms which facilitated sales to illegal purchasers and did not include reasonable safeguards to minimize the risks of illegal and dangerous conduct.” The full complaint can be found here.
Elizabeth N. Mulvey of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, in Boston, MA; John Kimball of Blank Rome LLP in New York, NY; and Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, DC are representing Kurt and Janella Stokinger, who filed the suit in the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Jonathan Lowy, Vice President of Litigation at the Brady Center and co-counsel for the plaintiffs, stated, “Officer Stokinger put his life on the line to protect the people of Boston, and he almost lost his life because someone who should never have had his hands on a gun was able to obtain one. We are bringing this lawsuit because some businesses put profits ahead of people, and repeatedly work to undercut our laws that prevent dangerous criminals from endangering our communities with guns. We’re proud to stand with Officer Stokinger to make sure that everyone involved in the gun business does their part to keep guns out of dangerous hands.” Lowy and the Brady Center were previously co-counsel for the City of Boston in litigation against the firearms industry.
John Kimball, a partner in Blank Rome LLP, stated, “Online gun sales which enable convicted criminals and others who may not legally possess guns are a major problem and this suit is aimed at addressing the grossly negligent actions which led to the serious injuries suffered by Officer Stokinger and which also have adversely impacted his wife.”
Elizabeth N. Mulvey, a partner at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, added, “I think many people will be stunned to learn how Armslist facilitates the flow of illegal guns into Massachusetts and elsewhere. We look forward to working with the Brady Center, Blank Rome, and Officer Stokinger on this important public safety issue.”
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is dedicated to reducing gun injuries and deaths in America by stemming all of the causes of gun violence. Through its legal work, the Brady Center represents victims of gun violence in litigation to reform dangerous and reckless gun industry practices that give criminals and dangerous individuals access to guns. Brady’s legal team has won rulings in courts across the country holding that gun companies can be held accountable for shootings that result from their negligence, including in the Supreme Courts of Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio, and lower courts in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Blank Rome is an Am Law 100 firm with 13 offices and more than 600 attorneys and principals who provide comprehensive legal and advocacy services to clients operating in the United States and around the world. Our professionals have built a reputation for their leading knowledge and experience across a spectrum of industries, and are recognized for their commitment to pro bono work in their communities. Since our inception in 1946, Blank Rome’s culture has been dedicated to providing top-level service to all of our clients, and has been rooted in the strength of our diversity and inclusion initiatives. For more information, please visit blankrome.com.
Crowe & Mulvey LLP represents injury victims throughout New England. For more information, see croweandmulvey.com.
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.