The family of a young man shot dead in 2016 is suing outdoor retailer Cabela's for selling the murder weapon to a man who was prohibited from owning a gun.
The family of Bryan Galliher, who was just 21 when he was shot and killed by his neighbor Paul Claren, now 69, is suing Cabela's and its parent company, Bass Pro Group, LLC, for selling Claren an antique "black powder" revolver as well as a black powder loading kit.
Claren, Galliher's family contends, was prohibited by the law from purchasing a gun due to his lengthy criminal record. In the complaint, the Columbus Dispatch reports, the family's attorneys argue that Claren purchased an 1858 Army .44 caliber revolver from Cabela's over the phone in December 2014. The attorneys say the company then sold him a black powder loading kit in July 2016. The Dispatch reports:
Galliher’s family, namely his mother Gerri and sister Alissa, are seeking “damages and other proper relief resulting from Cabela’s and/or Bass Pro Group’s illegal, negligent, and reckless sale of a firearm to Paul Claren,” according to the complaint. The lawsuit does not specify how much money the plaintiffs are seeking, but the compensatory damages requested will exceed $25,000, according to the complaint. The family is also seeking punitive damages against Claren and the companies.
Claren's criminal record is quite lengthy, including an incident in which he shot out the windows of the homes of a psychiatric hospital's CEO and prosecuting attorney after the hospital fired him for allegedly strangling a patient. During the trial, he threatened to kill the judge. Claren was convicted in 2001 of felonious assault.
Due to his criminal record, Claren was forbidden from purchasing or possessing a firearm, which the Galliher family maintains should have prevented Cabela's from selling Claren the weapon, if the company had performed a proper background check.
The company's failure to require a background check appears to stem from a conflict between Ohio state law and federal law regarding the sale of "antique firearms." Federal law does not require a background check for purchasing an antique or replica antique gun, while Ohio state law requires a background check.
As Bearing Arms' Micah Rate points out, federal law states that because weapons that meet the definition of "antique firearms" are not subject to the Gun Control Act, licensees "need not conduct a background check when transferring an antique firearm." Ohio state law, however, states that all antique firearms, including replicas, "are treated like modern arms for possession, carrying and purchase purposes." In other words, if Cabela's failed to perform a proper background check, it appears to have violated state law.
H/T Bearing Arms