Wisconsin trial to determine firearm dealers’ liability

Milton Beatovic and Adam Allan, former owners of Wisconsin-based gun dealership Badger Guns, were sued by police officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch after the officers were both shot by a criminal who, they claim, was allowed to enact a straw purchase at their store.

The shooter, Julius Barton, was too young to purchase his own firearm, so he brought a friend to the shop and, the injured officers say, blatantly had his friend buy the gun he wanted for him. The Badger Guns owners are accused of knowingly permitting illegal sales of weapons or being grossly negligent.

Julius Burton, who was 18 years old at the time, would later go on to use the gun his friend purchased for him to shoot both of the officers during an alleged robbery. The shootings left one officer with damage to his eye and frontal lobe and the other with serious injuries to the face.

The officers now contend that Burton was only able to buy a gun with the help of his 21-year-old acquaintance – an unfortunate situation that happened only because Badger Guns proprietors were not vigilant enough in verifying who would really take possession of the weapon.