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Judge Denies Gun Dealer Motion to Dismiss Sutherland Springs Lawsuits

Washington, D.C., February 4, 2019 - Today, Judge Karen H. Pozza denied a motion by Academy Sports + Outdoors to dismiss lawsuits that allege Academy illegally equipped the Sutherland Springs mass shooter with the high capacity assault rifle used in that shooting. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the leading legal voice in the fight against gun violence for more than 30 years, joined the case as co-counsel for the Plaintiffs.

“Today’s ruling sends a clear message that illegal gun sales will not be tolerated,” said Jonathan Lowy, VP, Litigation for the Brady Center and co-counsel for the Plaintiffs. “This case is simple - Academy must follow the laws on the books, and cease illegal firearm sales that are prohibited by law and endanger the community. We look forward to the case now continuing on to discovery so we can proceed to trial.”

Academy had moved to dismiss the case on summary judgment, arguing that the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”) immunizes it from liability. At a three-hour hearing in San Antonio District Court on January 31, 2019, Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center, Jason Webster, and George Legrand argued on behalf of the victims that PLCAA does not protect Texas-based Academy for several reasons, including because Academy violated federal law by illegally selling the killer, a self-proclaimed Colorado resident, a high capacity AR-15 style semiautomatic assault rifle that was illegal in his home state.

Jonathan Lowy and Erin Davis of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence are co-counsel for the Plaintiffs, along with Texas attorneys Jason Webster and Heidi Vicknair of The Webster Law Firm; Frank Herrera Jr. and Jorge Herrera for the Herrera Law Firm; Kelly Kelly and Paul Anderson for Anderson & Associates Law Firm; George LeGrand and Stanley Bernstein of LeGrand & Bernstein; Thomas J. Henry, Marco Crawford and Dennis Bentley of The Law Offices of Thomas J. Henry; Rudy Gonzales, Robert Hilliard, Catherine Tobin, Marion Reilly and Bradford Klager for Hilliard Martinez Gonzales LLP; Justin Demerath for O’hanlon, Demerath & Castillo, PC.

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