Gun Store Owner Settles After Five Year Lawsuit by Gun Control Group

By Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- In the spring of 2017, a five year long lawsuit against a Florida gun shop owner was finally settled. It appears the shop owner was able to sell the shop and retire, while the anti-Second Amendment group ended up with a face saving statement.

 In 2012, a mentally ill man named Benjamin Bishop shot and killed his mother and her boyfriend in cold blood. He was forbidden from owning a gun or ammunition, but a friend, Matthew Schwab, purchased the gun for him at a local gun shop.

 

The Brady lawsuit alleged that Bishop attempted to buy a gun at the shop before his friend purchased the shotgun for him.

There does not appear to be any evidence that Bishop had been turned down for a background check at the store.

From tbo.com

Tanso vehemently denied Bishop ever tried to buy a gun in his store. He said there is no record his name was ever submitted for a background check from the store, and added that Bishop was 17 at the time and could not have been sold a firearm.

Bishop asked an 18-year-old neighbor to buy a gun and went with him to the store, the complaint states. The shop sold the neighbor a 12-gauge shotgun, the complaint states.

Tanso says Bishop’s friend lied on the government form, saying he was buying the gun for himself. Tanso said the teen said he wanted to use the gun at a shooting range, which Tanso said is typical for an 18-year-old. Tanso said Bishop was with his friend at the time of the purchase, but store employees had no reason to question him because they had never seen him before.

Lock N Load is a large gun store. It is quite likely that the store employee who sold the gun to Schwab had never seen Bishop before, even if he had previously been in the store.

Local papers treated the claim that Bishop had been turned down in the store as if it were fact: From tampabay.com:

A Lock N Load employee initially refused to sell to him after learning he had a criminal record, according to investigators. So Bishop came back with a friend, Oldsmar resident Matthew Schwab, who bought the gun for him.

From tbo.com:

Bishop couldn’t legally buy the gun because he had a criminal record and had even been turned away from Lock N Load when he attempted to buy one while on probation earlier that fall, according to the lawsuit. But in October, Bishop returned to Lock N Load with his neighbor, Matthew Schwab, 18, the lawsuit states. Schwab bought the shotgun with $279 in cash and then turned it over to Bishop, who told him he needed it to defend himself from gang members. Schwab never faced charges.

TBO.com states a clear error. They say that the firearm sold was a “sawed-off, 12 gauge shotgun”.

From TBO:

Bishop’s father, Joey Bishop, and his maternal grandmother, Jean Allen, are listed as plaintiffs on the Brady Center’s lawsuit, which says Tanso should be held liable for the mentally ill teen obtaining the sawed-off, 12-gauge shotgun used in the killings.

No other reporter, in numerous articles, ever alleged that the shotgun was “sawed-off”.

No federal charges were brought against the gun store owner. It seems unlikely that federal investigators would have let the store go unprosecuted in the Obama era, if there were any evidence to back up the claim in the lawsuit.  The alleged straw buyer was not prosecuted as part of his agreement to act as a state witness. The idea that a cooperative straw buyer would not implicate the store where he committed the crime, if there were any thing to implicate, seems absurd.

The Brady lawsuit against the gun store owner dragged on for five years. The settlement was reached after Donald Trump was elected president.  The terms of the settlement have not all been revealed. The store was sold to another owner, and will continue in business. No extra-statutory restrictions have been placed on the operation of the store.  The former store owner, Gerald Tanso, has agreed not to obtain another federal firearms license in the future.  In effect, he sold his business and retired at age 61.

The gun control group attorney has attempted to make the settlement into a victory. The attorney says that Tanso has agreed to make a public statement.

From tbo.com:

Tanso’s statement says, in part: “Our Second Amendment protects the rights of law abiding citizens and we must protect those rights. At the same time, we must exercise great caution and due diligence with great responsibility in preventing firearms from getting in the wrong hands of people who seek to harm us all. I support laws that protect our Second Amendment and the laws that protect our society from criminal elements who would abuse that right to the detriment of others. I encourage all gun dealers, including the new owner of my gun shop, to implement such measures.”

The full actual statement does not appear to have been made public at this time.

Large gun stores near urban areas have large numbers of guns that are eventually traced to criminal use. The reason is statistically clear. Large gun stores sell lots of guns. Urban centers have lots of crime. Criminals figure ways to get guns through theft or having friends or family purchase them illegally.

Most gun stores are small operations in rural areas. Simply by existing, urban area gun shops end up having the highest numbers of guns that are traced to crimes.

The anti-Second Amendment groups characterize these large gun shops near urban areas as “bad apple” gun stores, even though the stores keep scrupulous records and are extremely careful to follow the law.

My take on the recent events? The gun store owner had been worn down by five years of frivolous litigation. The Brady bunch knew they had a losing suit, especially after President Trump was elected and Jeff Sessions was the AG.  They could not expect moral support for their losing cause from the White House and the Attorney General.

Both sides settled with a face saving agreement. The Brady bunch gets a generic statement about preventing guns from getting to criminals. Gerald Tanso gets to sell his store and retire.

We will likely never know the exact terms of the settlement. It is common for such settlements to include a non-disclosure agreement. It will be interesting to see the precise wording of the statement from former gun store owner Gerald Tanso.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

 

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

21 Comments
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P.A.G.
P.A.G.
4 years ago

As an attorney, NRA Life Member, and 2nd Amendment supporter, stories like this make my blood boil. This lawsuit should never have been settled. Giving the “Brady Bunch” any victories is a shame.

Patrick Sperry
Patrick Sperry
4 years ago

All of the arguments about the straw purchaser aside. These things (The Lawsuit.) will never stop happening until people start seriously counter suing The Brady Bunch et al.

Bravas Nidi
Bravas Nidi
4 years ago

Another Victory for the anti-gunners… The criminal straw purchaser runs free to arm more criminals so they can harass the law abiding time and time again using the “need more laws” mantra. More laws that they refuse to enforce, unless it is twisted to use against the law abiding citizens, of course.

jeffrey melton
jeffrey melton
4 years ago

Following Federal law, the Attorney General should look into charging the then 18 year old friend for making a “straw purchase”. The pro gun gun community , of which I count myself, can then snatch victory from the jaws of perceived defeat.

freewill
freewill
4 years ago

we must bring back the gallows for those that would kill in cold blood,

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
4 years ago
Reply to  freewill

, can we wait a little while on that? There are a few things that I have not made up my mind on yet! Turning to seriousness, we in Texas don’t use hanging, but we execute on a regular basis. We have a nice civil society.

freewill
freewill
4 years ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

@wild bill..Conviction only with witnesses and no circumstantial evidence allowed

Richard Wise
Richard Wise
4 years ago
Reply to  freewill

*sigh*

You shouldn’t use words when you don’t know what they mean. Fingerprints at a crime scene is circumstantial evidence. So is DNA.

As for witnesses, memory is far from perfect.

freewill
freewill
4 years ago
Reply to  Richard Wise

the truth never changes, if memory doesnt last longer than a day then they wouldnt be witnesses, they take an oath on the stand..if finger prints and dna is circumstantial, then it shouldnt be used..

Larry Brickey
Larry Brickey
4 years ago
Reply to  freewill

Yes, start growing hemp again. Makes the best rope.

freewill
freewill
4 years ago
Reply to  Larry Brickey

it was called the hemp necktie

Richard Wise
Richard Wise
4 years ago
Reply to  Larry Brickey

Maybe we can swap weed for booze. How often do you hear about someone getting high and beating his wife?

George Minga
George Minga
4 years ago

Well Yay friggin’ whoopty too do!! The Brady Center is claiming a victory? Why? The only crime here is another liberal left leaning group finally wore down a man trying to pursue his version of happiness, life, and liberty until he just quit! . I don’t have the right to tell someone that they don’t have free speech, and the same goes for owning a gun. I won’t argue the validity of my argument to own or keep a gun. If you really believe you are safe where you live ask a law enforcement officer where you live if they… Read more »

Tionico
Tionico
4 years ago

whoever let the straw buying punk skate needs to face some enablement charges And the kid still needs prosecuted.

All the hype about background checks, and most times violation of the terms of those laws are ignored. UNTIL straw purchasers are prosecuted accorging to laws in place, more criminals will be able to get guns, as the saps who buy them to resell to the criminals face no consequences. They KNEW they will skate…. once they begin reliably laying out the five years in the pen, straw buying will end. Mostly.

JOSE GARCIA
JOSE GARCIA
4 years ago

Wishing to hear ABOUT gun control

DC
DC
4 years ago

I live walking distance from this store, so I chuckled when you wrote, “Lock N Load is a large gun store”. Its barely 400 sqft. of showroom. There is a larger room in the back for smithing though. Also, some of the terms of the settlement were that the Tanso could never work in the firearms business again, sales, repairs, nothing…which is an awful agreement, but the word around town was that he was looking to sell the business anyways. Which he did.

David Ballard
David Ballard
4 years ago
Reply to  DC

You are correct, and the Lady who owns it not is really nice and helpful. I stopped in there recently to inquire about moving my sites and using her FFL for shipment.

Nice place you should visit as it does not get enough traffic

Robert Maletta
Robert Maletta
4 years ago

And this antigun group the far liberal left is all about diversity and fairness what can l say this is what this country has become and exactly why and how Trump was elected maybe things like this will stop but it’s not going to happen over night but l think we may finally be heading in the right direction maybe it’s time for someone to file a big lawsuit against this antigun group for violating people’s rights we need to stick together they do

TheHolyCrow
TheHolyCrow
4 years ago
Reply to  Robert Maletta

They don’t need a lawsuit. What they need is to be charged with TREASON ! Their agenda is to get us disarmed so that we are sitting ducks for the KALERGI PLAN ! This is no joke, look what they did to a disarmed Europe !!!!!! The USA is next on their list, and according to NUMBERS USA, they are succeeding with their plan. Google 1) “The Kalergi Plan”, 2)” Mrs. Specter From Sweden”, 3)”Numbers USA”, 4)”The Muslim Invasion of Europe”, and connect the friggin dots. And do some in depth research on who is here already, and how many… Read more »

James Andrews
James Andrews
4 years ago
Reply to  Robert Maletta

Good post; it’s time to sue the anti-gun groups!

Gregory S. Armand
Gregory S. Armand
4 years ago
Reply to  James Andrews

Yes! James Andrews is correct. As are most of these comments. These anti-gun groups throw money at BS cases to wear the owners down and then trumpet a victory; it is absolute BS. The seller did nothing wrong – the straw buyer lied on the government form!