Brady Suit Leads to Reform of Sales Practices Regarding Black Powder Guns
Washington, DC, May 22, 2021 – The family of Bryan Galliher, a 21-year-old Orrville, Ohio man murdered in 2016, has settled a lawsuit against outdoor retailer Cabela’s and its parent company, Bass Pro Group LLC, for selling the gun used to kill him. Brady Legal and Columbus-based law firm Cooper Elliott had filed the negligence and wrongful death lawsuit in August 2018 in the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Bryan’s estate.
The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the retailer violated Ohio law by selling a black powder gun – a replica of an antique Army .44 caliber revolver – to an Orrville man prohibited from possessing firearms due to a felony conviction of violence. Often referred to as muzzleloaders, black powder guns use modern materials and historical firearm technology, which includes handloading the black powder and the ammunition into the muzzle of the weapon. Although black powder guns are loaded differently, once loaded they fire just like any modern firearm. As seen in the death of Bryan Galliher, while the technology is archaic, its impact is still lethal.
Brady Legal Chief Counsel Jonathan Lowy explains:
“Bryan Galliher would be alive today if Cabela’s had followed Ohio law to keep black powder guns out of the hands of prohibited purchasers. Bryan’s killer had prior charges for aggravated assault, menacing by stalking, and felonious assault in Ohio. Ohio law, which closes a federal loophole, prohibited him from possessing all firearms including a lethal black powder gun. Even after Bryan’s killer told Cabela’s he was convicted of felony offenses of violence, but they sold him the gun he used to kill Bryan Galliher, anyway.
Cabela’s chose to sell black powder firearms nationwide in its catalogs and by telephone orders, even when those sales were prohibited by state law. Even when Cabela’s was told Bryan’s killer was convicted of felony offenses of violence and living in Ohio, which prohibited him from black powder guns, Cabela’s sold and shipped the gun - in violation of state law. The only restrictions that Cabela’s trained its employees to comply with when selling a black powder gun to an Ohio customer were to stop a sale if the customer had a bad credit card and to ensure it used the correct shipping method.
Fortunately, this lawsuit has led Cabela’s to change its ways and to institute reforms to how it sells these lethal guns. Cabela’s has instituted sweeping reforms to its marketing and sales practices to keep black powder guns out of the hands of individuals with a violent history and others prohibited by law from possessing a gun.”
Co-counsel Erin Davis of Brady Legal stated:
“Gun dealers have a duty to know and abide by the laws in the states in which they operate. Cabela’s and its employees knew or should have known gun laws in Ohio, where it was doing business, including the state law that prohibited the sale of a black powder gun to a man with a felony conviction of violence.
Bryan’s killer testified that even after he disclosed that he was convicted of felony offenses, Cabela’s didn’t ask him anything other than shipping and payment information. He also testified that if Cabela’s had told him the sale was illegal and refused to sell him the gun, he would not have sought one elsewhere, because he ‘wouldn’t buy something [he] can’t have.’
We hope Bryan’s family finds solace in the fact that the lawsuit arising from his murder, which settled for a significant seven-figure sum, will help save lives of other people. We anticipate that the changes Cabela’s has made to its policies, procedures, and sales practices will help keep black powder guns out of dangerous hands.”
Sean Alto of Cooper Elliott adds:
“From the very first meeting with Gerri Galliher, it was clear she had two goals: She wanted answers about what happened to her son, and she wanted to do everything she could to prevent something like this from happening again. Through our partnership with the Brady Center, we were able to accomplish both goals.
Our investigation uncovered the fact that Cabela’s knew Bryan’s killer was a convicted felon before selling him a black powder revolver. Bryan’s killer disclosed that information directly to the Cabela’s rep over the telephone. But Cabela’s went ahead with the sale anyway, and shipped the gun to an apartment in Ohio.
Not only were we able to obtain a seven-figure settlement but—even more importantly—we affected sweeping reforms in the way Cabela’s does business across the country. Cabela’s no longer permits the sale of black powder guns over the telephone or over the internet. Today, if someone wants to purchase a black powder gun from Cabela’s, he or she must go into the store. Families across the country are safer today because of Gerri’s willingness to stand up to the gun industry.”
About Brady Legal:
Brady 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 has 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.
About Cooper Elliott:
Since 1995, civil litigation firm Cooper Elliott has been helping individuals, families, and business owners find answers to and recover from life’s most tragic events. Cooper Elliott has built a reputation for trying large, important, and complex cases, and the firm has helped its clients across the U.S. obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in jury verdicts and settlements, including some of the largest jury verdicts in Ohio.
Representing individuals and families, the firm’s practice areas include medical malpractice, wrongful death, serious injuries, civil rights violations, wrongful convictions, employment discrimination, products liability, and class actions. Representing businesses, the firm’s practice areas include contingency-fee-based breach of contract, fraud, and complex commercial litigation and arbitration.
Learn more about Cooper & Elliott at www.cooperelliott.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.