There's a sad-sack story being circulated by gun-control advocates about Lonnie and Sandy Phillips. In essence, the claim is that they're being bankrupted by an evil gun retailer who knowingly armed the Aurora movie theater shooter.
The truth is something altogether different.
The lawsuit itself [pdf] was an attempt to hold online dealers culpable because they sold ammunition without a background check. There is no law in Colorado, or on the federal level, mandating such a practice.
Notice the "should have known" clauses:
Defendants in this case knew, should have known, or knew that it was substantially certain, that in his state of mental instability Holmes would present a danger to society if he were allowed to possess dangerous materiel. Nonetheless, Defendants negligently supplied and entrusted him with the materiel he used to launch his assault.
As an experienced ammunition seller, The Sportsman’s Guide should have known or knew that it was substantially certain that ammunition should not be supplied to persons who may pose a foreseeable risk of harm, including persons with dangerous mental illnesses such as Holmes.
By their logic, nobody should sell anything online, because it might be used to hurt somebody. They should also have magic telepathic powers to know the intentions of buyers.
When they needed the publicity, the Brady Center claimed to be the actual plaintiffs. If you'll check the top of the complaint, that is a lie. Lonnie and Sandy Phillips were the plaintiffs.
Why is this important? Because they lost. Senior District Judge Richard Matsch threw the case out since it violated the PLCAA. Considering the lawsuit frivolous, he ordered that the plaintiffs pay the defendant's legal fees. The Brady Center doesn't want to be on the hook for that, so they're dumping it in the Phillips' lap.
That should be the real story.
But there's more. The plaintiffs aren't just concerned citizens recruited at random. Lonnie Phillips is the Operations Manager for the Brady Campaign, and Sandy Phillips is their Campaign Manager. If the Phillips are going to hold anyone responsible for their legal bills, it should be their employer, who railroaded them into this irresponsible lawsuit.
I've asked this question of gun-control advocates before: if your cause is just, and if you claim the support of the majority of the American people, why do you have to lie in order to further your agenda?
I have yet to receive a cogent answer.