Lawsuit in Missouri Against Academy Sports for Selling Ammunition

New Connecticut Bill would Add a 50% Tax to Ammunition
Lawsuit in Missouri against Academy Sports for Selling Ammunition

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- On 1 May, 2020, Attorney Craig Heidemann filed a lawsuit against Academy Sports, contending they contributed to the unlawful death of Aaron “Josh” Hampton, who was one of the roommates of Luis Perez. Perez is an illegal immigrant accused of murdering three people including Hampton, another “roommate” and a woman, Sabrina Starr.

Starr is said to have supplied Perez with the gun, while another woman, Nyadia Burden, is accused of purchasing the ammunition for Perez. From AP via kmbc.com:

The lawsuit alleges a worker at Academy Sports in Springfield should have realized the woman who bought the bullets, Nyadia Burden, intended to give them to Luiz Perez. The 24-year-old Perez couldn't buy ammunition because he was in the country illegally, had no driver's license and was facing felony charges, according to police. The lawsuit also names Burden.

Perez is facing the death penalty in the Oct. 31, 2018, deaths of his ex-roommates, 38-year-old Steven Marler and 23-year-old Aaron “Josh” Hampton, and the wounding of two others. Prosecutors allege he fatally shot Sabrina Starr, 21, the next day. She had provided him with the gun he used, police said.

Perez is reported as having been kicked out by the other roommates. Revenge may have been a motive.

Perez should have been deported in 2018 but was released by New Jersey's sanctuary city rules:

“Perez should have faced deportation proceedings after a previous arrest in Middlesex County, New Jersey, but he was released because the Immigration and Customs Enforcement request didn't meet the county's required criteria.”

It is reported there were multiple warrants for Perez arrest:

Greene County prosecutors said Perez had an arrest warrant from Middlesex County. NJ for third-degree terroristic threat.

Neudauer said Perez had previously been a recipient of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, or DACA, in 2012 and 2014. It's not clear whether he did not apply in 2016 or was no longer eligible.

 From ice.gov:

“Yet again, an ICE detainer was ignored and a dangerous criminal alien was released to the streets and is now charged with killing three people,” said ICE Acting Executive Associate Director Corey Price. “Had ICE’s detainer request in December 2017 been honored by Middlesex County Jail, Luis Rodrigo Perez would have been placed in deportation proceedings and likely sent home to his country – and three innocent people might be alive today. It is past time that localities realize the perils of dangerous sanctuary policies and resume their primary goal of protecting their residents.”

The shooting was reported as occurring on 31 October 2018.  From Judiciary.senate.gov:

In November 2018 Aaron Hampton was shot more than 25 times by a repeat offender,criminal illegal alien in Springfield, Missouri. ICE had a detainer on Luis Perez and had requested Middlesex County,New Jersey hold him for deportation proceedings following his arrests for felony crimes including assault, aggravated assault and child abuse. Had the ICE Detainer been honored, as every detainer should be, Aaron Hampton would be alive today.

Missouri state laws, as listed by the BATFE, do not require a store to check people to see if they may legally purchase ammunition.  It is likely unconstitutional to do so, as indicated by a recent ruling in the Ninth Circuit.

Perez was prohibited from legally purchasing ammunition because he is an illegal immigrant, and was facing felony charges.

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) prohibits people from suing ammunition sellers if the ammunition seller did not break laws while selling the ammunition. There are a couple of exceptions. This lawsuit appears to be using negligent entrustment. From fas.org:

Although the PLCAA defines “negligent entrustment” as “the supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others,”14 a plaintiff’s claim of negligent entrustment will be asserted under state law. For example, Washington state courts have held that a common-law tort claim of negligent entrustment can be brought against both retail firearms dealers and manufacturers.15

The heart of the lawsuit seems to be an assertion the store clerk should have been able to read the mind of Burden and Perez, and refused to sell to them.

A clerk who refused to sell to them might well be accused of racism, sexism, and discrimination, and be fired.  A male handing money to a woman to buy ammunition might simply be someone who does not speak English well, having an acquaintance help them.

It is clear the Missouri legislature took steps to protect arms and ammunition dealers. From Missouri Statutes:

2. No county, city, town, village, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state shall adopt any order, ordinance or regulation concerning in any way the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permit, registration, taxation other than sales and compensating use taxes or other controls on firearms, components, ammunition, and supplies except as provided in subsection 3 of this section.

Section 5 shows the legislature commands political subdivisions to refrain from filing lawsuits against arms and ammunition makers.

5. No county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision nor the state shall bring suit or have any right to recover against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public. This subsection shall apply to any suit pending as of October 12, 2003, as well as any suit which may be brought in the future. Provided, however, that nothing in this section shall restrict the rights of individual citizens to recover for injury or death caused by the negligent or defective design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition.

Academy Sports sells ammunition through the mail. It is perfectly legal. No I.D. is required.

The lawsuit hinges on whether a jury can be convinced a store clerk would have reasonably known that Perez was not legally allowed to purchase ammunition, because he picked out the ammunition in a store, and handed money and the ammunition to his woman companion to pay for it.


About Dean Weingarten: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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Rock
Rock
6 months ago

Academy hade ZERO knoweledge the ammo was going to anyone BUT her… PERIOD !
Being PSYCHIC is NOT one of the questions on the employment application for ANY job.

Red Falcon 1325
Red Falcon 1325
6 months ago

This BS should never see the light of day inside a court room.

BobD
BobD
6 months ago

I took Mind Reading 101 twice in school, flunked both times and had to drop it as it was wrecking my GPA. Maybe Academy Sports has the kinks worked out?

Pa John
Pa John
6 months ago

Any time an illegal immigrant commits a crime – especially where American citizens are seriously injured or killed – any and all resulting lawsuits need to be directed against the local governments and their “sanctuary” policies that made it possible for the offender(s) to be here illegally in the first place. Blaming inanimate objects and the people and businesses that sell inanimate objects, is simply a scam and a diversion. There is no such thing as “inanimate object violence”, and that needs to be continually hammered home until U.S. corporate media itself finally starts looking the fool for continuing to… Read more »

Bill
Bill
6 months ago

When a hardware store sells rat poison, it routinely assumes that the buyer is not going to put it in someone’s lemonade. This idea that dangerous things cannot be sold or owned in a country because someone might do evil with them, is ludicrous, and lawsuits based on this precept should never need to be heard. They will never get rid of all the rocks, the water, and the shoestrings so that people can’t kill other people.

GAMtns
GAMtns
6 months ago

The lawsuit should be directed against the governments who allow sanctuary cities and illegal aliens, especially with a criminal record to be in this country in the first place and to release them from prison. Typical politician game to blame an innocent store clerk. The first commandment in the Marxist rule book is to lie.

MICHAEL J
MICHAEL J
6 months ago

It appears that “sanctuary” cities, counties and New Jersey is blaming anyone but the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for creating this mess.

Get Out
Get Out
6 months ago

The attorneys for Academy Sports should have Craig Heidmann and his clients attempt to read the mind of the “Academy Sports worker” in court to prove their case that it can be done. After that fails, Academy Sports should counter sue for a XXX-large sum contending that the frivolous lawsuit damaged their image and impugned the worker as well.

BrainMatters
BrainMatters
6 months ago

Here is Craig Heidmann’s profile at the law firm he is a partner at. Seems like there is an obvious contradiction, but then, there is no such thing as an ethical honest lawyer, it is a relativistic occupation. “Craig is married to his wife of 20 years and has two girls ages 10 and 13. Craig’s is an avid firearms enthusiast and competitive shooter, holding a federal firearms license. He is also an Eagle Scout, licensed multi-engine private pilot, nationally recognized photographer and speaker, adjunct professor at Southwest Baptist University, member of the United States Polo Association, and certified advanced… Read more »

Finnky
Finnky
6 months ago
Reply to  BrainMatters

@Brain – Almost everything listed after “Eagle Scout” are expensive hobbies. He’s got to pay for his gold plated range membership (and ammo), and his polo club, horses, etc. Before taking up my rather infrequent shooting habit – SCUBA was by far my most expensive pastime, even though I was almost exclusively a local mud-puddle diver. I imagine this guy does at least one international dive trip a year, probably far more. Would not be surprised if he’s spent seven figures on these activities over the years. So he had to sell his soul to pay for his play-time activities.… Read more »

Ed
Ed
6 months ago

I don’t see why there wasn’t a summary judgement against the plaintiff. This case is a crock.

KDad
KDad
6 months ago

Any Judge worth his/her law degree should toss this case on day one of trial. If it’s allowed to proceed, the Judge is probably a DemocRAT, Obama or Clinton appointee. And yes, the attorney should be disbarred or at the very least, sanctioned.

Old Vet
Old Vet
6 months ago

Missouri Law seems cut and dried. This will go nowhere but the trash bin.

PAF145
PAF145
6 months ago

Seems like the attorney needs to be disbarred

JH1961
JH1961
6 months ago

It’s plainly obvious that THE STATE IS LIABLE, rather than Academy Sports.

Buckshot
Buckshot
6 months ago
Reply to  JH1961

The state of New Jersey

Ansel Hazen
Ansel Hazen
6 months ago
Reply to  JH1961

Came here to say that too.

nrringlee
nrringlee
6 months ago

File this in your “Progressive Ideological Failures” folder, sub folder “By Any Means Necessary.” The proximate cause of this string of crimes is not the selling of ammunition. It is sanctioning the continued presence of an illegal alien. Place the blame where it belongs. Sue the People’s Democratic Republic of Joisey.

JFCrosby
JFCrosby
6 months ago

Good ole New Jersey… their love for illegals allowed this murderer to roam free and to kill other people. Congrats to Governor Murphy and the other useless libs who allowed this to happen.

uncle dudley
uncle dudley
6 months ago

The first thing that should have happened was that the shooter should have been deported years ago and he wasn’t, second off the liberals in New Jersey who have the stupid sanctuary rules or laws for illegals in place need to be held responsible for not following their oath of office and sending this piece of garbage back to his native country. Lastly the ambulance chaser lawyer is looking at deep pockets for a settlement and a big payday for himself as most big business would rather settle than go to court because of the bad publicity. Springfield is full… Read more »

Boe
Boe
6 months ago

While I don’t agree with this lawsuit, the convenience store analogy got me thinking.

If a 16 yo handed money and a 12 pack of beer to a 50 yo in front of a convenient store clerk, should the clerk sell it? In my state this would be a crime against clerk, as well as the 50 yo.

If the 16 yo got drunk and then killed someone with a car, would the clerk/store ultimately be liable?

Just some food for thought.

nrringlee
nrringlee
6 months ago
Reply to  Boe

One must make a reasonable cause based case of preexisting knowledge of intent to violate a law. A 50 year old has the right to buy the beer under the law. Proving nefarious intent is a tough nut unless you are a mind reader. But then again, Progressives practice all forms of magical thinking so maybe they actually can read minds.

Vanns40
Vanns40
6 months ago
Reply to  Boe

You’re trying to draw a nexus between apples and oranges. In the case of the 16 year old and the 50 year old there is a “plain to see” straw man sale for the clerk to observe. The 16 year old is clearly prohibited and had the clerk observed THAT, he/she would have been legally bound, in every single State, to deny the sale. In the other case nothing is clear and the clerk had no reason or business inquiring of either party why they did what they did. In fact, to do so might have placed her in legal… Read more »

Tin Man
Tin Man
6 months ago
Reply to  Vanns40

Sound reasoning Vanns40

Tionico
Tionico
6 months ago
Reply to  Boe

HUGE difference… the 16 year old would be likely “cardable” on sight,and his purchase of the liquor is in clear violatioin of state laws. Should not be, but thats another matter. If the male selecting the ammunition had been 16 THAT shold have raised the question, as such a sale would be illegal on its face. But the male wasobviously an adult, thus legally able to purchase ammunitioinn. He COULD have been asked by his female companion to select the best ammunition for HER OWN weapon, thus making her the real end user. HOW could the chap at the store… Read more »

Finnky
Finnky
6 months ago
Reply to  Boe

@Boe – You are presupposing that the clerk can see outside the store and is not otherwise occupied so that they could be watching for such activities. In most such stores the clerk is fully occupied with other activities until the moment the 50 y.o. steps to the counter with twelve pack and cash. Are you claiming that the clerk can be successfully prosecuted for crime of which they had no knowledge and for which there is no evidence suggesting they should have been aware? If this is the case, please let us know which state is so far ahead… Read more »

Mac
Mac
6 months ago

Seems like NO ONE can know the intent of someone on anything without very strong evidence. I guess we will see.

Finnky
Finnky
6 months ago
Reply to  Mac

@Mac – Similar to several of the recent Virginia laws. Criminal liability for training someone with intent of furthering civil unrest or some such nonsense. Can you imagine prosecutors having to prove nefarious intent of someone while engaged in constitutionally protected activities? Short of an instructor actually providing instruction on how to utilize firearms in furtherance of rioting or to ambush police, it would be impossible to prove that that is the intent of the instruction. Even for those subjects, discussion of how crime is carried out is important in order to impart knowledge on how to counter said behaviors.… Read more »

Larry
Larry
6 months ago
Reply to  Mac

One thing is for sure, you cannot rationally operate a legal system that simultaneously forbids an authority from “profiling” someone and yet requires him to intuit the other person’s motives.

linkman
linkman
6 months ago

“It is past time that localities realize the perils of dangerous sanctuary policies and resume their primary goal of protecting their residents.”

It appears that the county is more concerned about harboring illegals than protecting their residents. This instance seems to have a similar background as the murder of Kate Steinle.

Ansel Hazen
Ansel Hazen
6 months ago
Reply to  linkman

The quote from ICE is obviously spot on. The problem is all these sanctuary localities don’t care about the crime committed, they seem to be hoping for just this kind of blowback against a firearms related business. They want use it to further the anti-gun agenda.

Tionico
Tionico
6 months ago
Reply to  linkman

Yup.. except there, the illegally present dirtbag “found” the handgun. It had been removed from a federal agent’s car not long before. Car apparently unlocked, bag apparently visible from outside. Parked in San Francisco, the Homeless/Illegal Foreign Invader Capitol of the USA. And the agent never got more than a slight handslap. I think if he had, I’d have heard about it. So had agent NOT been lazy/careles/stupid, the gun would not have magically “appeared”. Then, had San Francisco upheld Federal laws and turned dirtbag invader over to ICE, he’d not have “mgically” been present to hold the gun in… Read more »

Finnky
Finnky
6 months ago

Is a civil suit like this judged by a jury? If so, can jury award punitive damages to the defendant? Certainly seems fair to plaintiff should be punished more than just paying defendants legal fees. Would also reduce tendency of companies to just negotiate settlements instead of fighting when they’ve done no wrong. Plaintiffs often have no assets to claim, but presumably their lawyers do – and the lawyers are often the driving force behind these suits.

Buckshot
Buckshot
6 months ago
Reply to  Finnky

Tort reform of loser pays would stop a lot of this kind of nonsense

Tionico
Tionico
6 months ago
Reply to  Buckshot

include the persuing attorney with “loser” and you”re on the mark. These attorneys take such matters on the odds they will win some and lose others. IF they were on the hook for their target’s costs, then they have a clear negative outcome to consider. If its win lose or draw, they’ll think twice If its win or draw, the motivating factor has just taken a quantum leap downward.

Larry
Larry
6 months ago
Reply to  Buckshot

PLCAA either requires this or at least permits it. See the Lucky Gunner lawsuit.

Grigori
Grigori
6 months ago

If a convenience store sells gasoline to a drunk driver or a driver with a suspended license would they be sued if that driver caused a wreck and killed someone? This is no less ridiculous than the idea of suing the convenience store.

StreetSweeper
StreetSweeper
6 months ago

Why do lawyers wear neckties?
It keeps their foreskin down.

Darkman
Darkman
6 months ago

I never morn the loss of a lawyer. Be it by natural causes,accident or intentional act. There is no bigger scum on the planet. And that’s sayin something when you throw in politicians and judges.

RoyD
RoyD
6 months ago
Reply to  Darkman

Darkman: Well, considering that most of them are lawyers too, it just stands to reason.

Circle8
6 months ago

If any one needs proof that lawyers are low life this will prove it. Maybe he should sue the state of NJ. But that won’t fly either. This case should be dismissed with prejudice and the lawyer fined for filing a frivolous action. There are many points to a dismissal.

RoyD
RoyD
6 months ago

Would it surprise you to learn that Heidemann, “is an avid firearms enthusiast and competitive shooter, holding a federal firearms license.”

https://www.dhhlawfirm.com/meet-the-team/craig-r-heidemann/

Finnky
Finnky
6 months ago
Reply to  RoyD

– Sue his ass for filing frivolous suit. Withdraw both his man card and FFL with extreme prejudice. Then red flag him repeatedly. In other words, treat him with the respect he has earned – none.

SeenItAll
SeenItAll
6 months ago
Reply to  Finnky

As a requirement to become a lawyer, they should be neutered. Maybe then we could breed them out of existence.

Ansel Hazen
Ansel Hazen
6 months ago
Reply to  RoyD

Yes and then No. I suspect his face adorns the listing of “Unprincipled Lawyer”.

Don in 805
Don in 805
6 months ago

So… If they denied the sale would they be charged with RACISM!

Nice work sir!