Parents of Aurora Shooting Victim Ordered to Pay Company That Supplied Killer's Bullets

bulletsI don't care where you stand on gun control laws, once you hear this story I feel anyone with a heart would put human rights ahead of gun rights. It's the case against Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was murdered in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shootings. Yes, I said case against. Lucky Gunner, the ammunition supplier who sold the bullets that killed their daughter, along with 11 others and wounded 70 more, are court ordered to receive $203,000 from the family.


The shooter, James Holmes, who suffered from mental illness, is in jail for life. He purchased the bullets from Lucky Gunner, an online company where you can purchase cheap ammo and get it delivered fast. No questions. No background checks. No valid ID needed even if you are purchasing a questionable arsenal.

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The Phillips family never wants another family to suffer as they have with the loss of their daughter to senseless violence -- violence that can be stopped. We are the only country faced with these mass shootings and mass deaths. We have to do something. Something has to change. And so the Phillipses wanted Lucky Gunner to make a change, to be part of the change in making our world safer, our kids safer, to save lives. They simply wanted Lucky Gunner and hopefully companies like them to look into their buyers before making a sale. They aren't selling plushies here -- these are bullets, and the arsenal purchased by Holmes wasn't to shoot deer. Holmes purchased 4,000 rounds in one transaction -- armor-piercing ammunition, high-velocity, designed by our military, designed for war. Aside from bullets, he purchased body armor and tear gas. We can't buy beer without ID. Our medicines are regulated by doctors and pharmacies, but ammunition can be purchased in bulk without any red flags. The family had a pro bono lawyer and they all hoped to work together to end gun violence. 

A store can get in a lot of trouble for selling alcohol to an 18-year-old who drives drunk and kills people, but an ammunition dealer can sell eye-raising ammo to anyone without checking anything.

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Lucky Gunner hired their own lawyer. There is something called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and also a Colorado immunity law. In other words, nothing could be done. Lucky Gunner was protected and the family was ordered to pay the fees acquired by the ammunition company that supplied the bullets that killed their daughter. The total is $203,000.

My heart hurts. Lucky Gunner doesn't even need the money -- they have said they will take all that money and donate it to gun rights groups like the NRA. It's as if they gave the family the middle finger. They should have said they would give the money to help those with mental illness.

This is insane. This is so completely insulting and insensitive of Lucky Gunner. Are we a nation just concerned with money and some personal "cause"? Are gun rights more important than HUMAN rights? Because those killed in that theater had a right to live and watch a movie without someone with a mental illness coming in and shooting them. The victims were massacred. And it keeps happening. Columbine. Newtown. Virginia Tech.

We have to take off our shoes at the airport because of terrorists. But we can't make a law to have companies monitor questionable ammunition sales? People don't need a valid ID to buy a one-hundred round magazine?!

It takes a village. We are still a village -- at least I hope so, I hope people still use their heart and mind. It takes a village for everything. Something needs to change. Lucky Gunner should have a heart and recognize that. They should lead the way and make changes so ammunition doesn't get in the wrong hands. Drop this. The family is working with pro bono lawyers to have this overturned. I stand with Lonnie and Sandy Phillips.


Image via Richard Elzey/Flickr

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